Thursday, April 2, 2009

121 Dollarwise Decorating & Organizing Tips

My newest e-book!
121 Dollarwise Decorating & Organizing Tips
to Make Your House a Home

Dear Blog Friends,

Indeed spring has sprung and my hubby Steve and I have been working on our home spring spruce-ups! How about YOU? If you're "hankering for a home pick-me-up" but don't want to break your bank, I'm sharing my own home's "dollarwise decorating" spring spruce-ups below so I hope you'll join me for the tour. And if you still want more ideas when I'm done, check out my newest e-book above filled with 121 tips for every room in your house. In the spirit of dollarwise decorating, it's only $10. 

Okay then, please join me for my own home's Spring Spruce-Up Home Tour in sunny San Diego, CA.

Let's walk down the cobblestone path...

And down the hallway...

and up to my front door, where my only three "rules" for decorating are:

1. Beauty is in the (uncluttered) details.
2. Anything I buy I want to cost little but look expensive.
3. Both my hubby and I must both enjoy something in order for it to merit space in our home, but it's okay if one of us doesn't like something quite as much as the other. We compromise but since we are both basically incurable old-fashioned romantics, we pretty much always agree.

I love my tiny kitchen because it reminds me of a "cockpit" in an airplane, where everything is right at arm's reach. I keep everything I need in there to make simple and fresh meals for me and my hubby and guests, and I have nothing in there I don't want! Everything is useful, and/or I find it beautiful.

I'm having an artist friend paint two paintings for above my sink, but until then, I hung a new plate the size of a charger plate up there for color and ambiance. $3.99 from Marshall's so I bought four of them to use as charger plates when I entertain guests for dinner. (Next week!)

I LOVE my new bamboo cutting board and I placed it right near the stove for easy chopping. I also LOVE my new silver urn which I found for $65 at a new "secondhand rose" store in La Jolla called Etceteras (on Girard Avenue). Great store with lots of Old World looking stuff! I keep colorful utensils in my urn because if I'm gonna cook, I want to be inspired by color!

It's the little things that can spruce a place up! Here I purchased a new soap pump dispenser ($10 at Marshall's) and I found this crock at a little boutique on clearance for $10 and it works great for holding my dish wand and brush, keeping everything tidy and clean.

A closeup of the plate I mentioned. Great art for $3.99 from Marshall's.

TULIPS always say "spring" to me and I indulge in them!

As I already mentioned, sometimes sprucing up is in the little things. In my hubby's bathroom I added two new holders for his Q-tips and cotton balls--glasses from Marshall's for $3.99 each.

I decided I wanted to add more "portable architectural elements" to enhance our place so hubby Steve installed this "faux" ceiling medallion for me. I LOVE it! Mission accomplished as it looks expensive and wait 'til you hear the price....

$39.99 from Home Depot! No one would ever guess!

My handyman hubby Steve was a real prince here when he hung this piece of Old World iron I found at Etceteras in La Jolla. (He doesn't love the piece quite as much as me but he humored me!) I've had my eye on it for a very long time and finally I caved! Using my designer discount, it was only $85 and I just LOVE it as it fit the bill for more portable architectural elements at a low cost. (Okay, so I realize some people might describe it as a hunk of old junk but to me, it's a thing of Old World beauty!) I cleaned it up a bit by holding it under the shower and wah lah!

Isn't it cool?! And it went with my new "Old World" chair that we found last year at Armstrong Garden Centers. The owner was thrilled when we took the piece off his hands for a few bucks as it was a stray.

I thought it made a nice little "vignette corner" along with the table from Ross.

Next up is my living room where we did quite a few inexpensive spruce-ups...

I'll tell you about the wreath on the screen in a minute...

I put a new colorful throw on the sofa (Marshall's for $19.99) and added some new pillows that look very expensive but weren't. The florals are silk embroidered and are super nice from Marshall's--two for $24.99. And the solids are the same silk fabric in a more geometric design and were only two for $14.99, also from Marshall's.

I added a nosegay of bright flowers to two second hand urns I found for $12 each.

And two boxes from Marshall's now hide the remote controls and my hubby's TV headset from view when not in use. They were only $14.99 and $19.99 and are two different sizes.

Two new silk embroidered pillows from Ross were added to my antique settee for $5.99 each. No kidding! They look awesome in person!

Hubby Steve and I also made a Wal-Mart run and I found this (faux silk) pillow. (In layman's terms, "faux silk" is also known as good ol' polyester!) The pattern reminded me of lattice and since I'm into the garden motif in my home, I thought it was perfect. It's not as great as the silk ones, but it's still pretty nice.

This was a bit of a spring splurge for me but I was so enamored by these little white twig "lit flowers" that I went ahead as I thought they were unique and would be a company conversation piece. I bought them on a rainy day from Gaia Day Spa in La Jolla and they made me happy! They have many shapes and sizes. Hubby Steve liked the "faux leopard" vase from Marshall's over another I found so we went with his choice. I think it adds a little "sass" to my more "foo foo floral" taste. I'll admit the flowers were $65 which is a bit over my price range for something like this but you know how it sometimes goes when you have a weak moment!

I like the flowers even when they aren't lit up too because they are just very unique.

A wreath always says welcome and this one from Wal-Mart for $19.99 looks great in person--as good as the $85 ones I've seen and it has very earthy looking nicely textured real twigs in it. I like mixing textures.

I hung a string of little white lights from Christmas behind the screen on some nails (Well okay, hubby did it!) for some nighttime "mood lighting." I love white twinkle lights and candles when I have friends for dinner as they add a touch of romantic "fancy restaurant" ambiance.

Okay, moving on to our master bathroom. Hubby Steve rehung some of my favorite artwork. Manfred Kuhnert's paintings of seaside CA beach scenes are just yummy and he's one of my favorite artists because I love his style and use of color. I was fortunate to stop by his studio one day years ago when he was there and he talked my ear off; he's a national treasure.

The antique rose ceiling tin is painted by my sweet client and artist friend, Ruth Welter of The shower curtain is a king-sized sheet because it fits perfectly floor to ceiling. From Home Goods or TJ Maxx as I recall since I've had it a long time.

I made a little corner vignette when I found this old crock with antique looking roses on it for $3.99 at Marshall's. It hides my cell phone and cord (I hate cords and yes, I admit that's a little persnickety!), yet I can still hear my cell phone ring when I'm writing from my bed. Next to it, which you can't see very well, are three very gorgeous gold leafed candle holders I got for 50 percent off after Christmas at Von's. And last but not least is a new silver mercury glass goblet from Marshall's for $19.99 to lend a little "glamour look." I pulled a string of pearls from my jewelry box to add an elegant touch. I love the "yin and yang" contrast of the old heavy crock and the more delicate mercury glass and gold leaf candle holders.

I found the "Spa at Home" book at Tuesday Morning, which is one of my favorite discount diva decorating stores and I love "rooting around" in there on a rainy day. (Good thing it doesn't rain much in San Diego!) And the "Spa Living" book is used from Amazon, another good way to buy discounted books to add a "library" feeling to your home. (There's an awesome book called Decorating With Books that I love!)

I'm a gal who thinks bubble baths cure 99 percent of the world's ills, (or as my friend Mary would say, CALGON!!), so I LOVE my garden soaking tub. I purchased three new pump dispensers from Marshall's for $9.99 each and put my shampoo, conditioner, and bath oil in them for a little pretty ambiance when I soak...and lean up against my raspberry colored bath pillow. That's how I wash the stressful cares of super tight writing deadlines away! I love my writing work, but it can get intense at times.

An antique silver food tray works great in the bathroom. I use mine for corraling my "get ready in the morning" essentials. I rearranged things on it as part of my spring home spruce-up campaign.

Beauty at home is in the details, so when hubby Steve and I recently toured Roger's Gardens, I bought this little glass tray as it had a travel motif on it that I liked and I found it very romantic looking. I place my day's jewelry on it when I go to bed at night.

My clock in my bedroom quit so this was a very fun find for only $12.99 at Ross! It looks very Old World and I love it as it goes with my cottage/antique theme.

I bought a mercury glass vase at Marshall's for $19.99. (Can you tell I like Marshalls??!!) and added some colorful springtime hydrangeas that were 50 percent off at Michael's to it and then I added a bright pink striped bow to the foot of the vase. Lovely for color, don't you think?

A picnic basket hides my computer cords when I'm not using my computer and is in keeping with my cottagey-garden style. The "old" table in the corner hubby Steve bought me for Christmas and I love it as it's new but is scratched up to look Old World. Go figure, right?!

These rush twig baskets are from Marshall's. (There's that word again!) This one holds my scrapbooking folders.

And this one holds small books. These were $19.99 each from, where else? Marshall's! (Obviously I'm one of their goodwill ambassadors!)

When I move things around I like to create little vignettes. I put my slipper shoes in this basket of books for a pop of color. Baskets are one of the best organizing and decorating tools around! This one is trimmed with a nice metal ivy motif.

We needed new lamps for beside our bed as the shades were torn inside during our last move. Hubby Steve and I found these lamps at Wal-Mart and they not only look Old World/antique to me, but they are actually a very nice quality and were only $19.99 each. Yay!

Decorating is in the details, as I mentioned earlier, so when I found these sweet (and very heavy) metal embellished initial paperweights at Marshall's for only $5.99 each I nabbed them. One for my side of the bed and one for hubby Steve's... we don't have to worry about getting up on the wrong side of the bed! :)

And last but not least, some new pillows for our "Bed & Breakfast Inn" look for our bed. They were all 50 percent off on clearance at...where else? Marshalls! And with that...I'm off to take a nap!

Hope you enjoyed my Spring Home Spruce-Up Tour of my own home! Using my dollarwise decorating tips, you can get started on your own home today!

Happy spring spruce-up!


Ruth Welter said...

Kathryn, I enjoyed the tour of your house and all that you've looks great. My favorite is your livingroom, I love the lights behind the screen as well.

Looking forward to seeing the painting Erin creates for you.


The Painted Garden said...

Hi Kathryn,
Oh! Your new Spring decorating is lovely - so fresh and pretty. Love your repurposed garden style. The Wall Mart wreath is wonderful - guess what - I also bought the same wreath and was blown away at the $19.95 price. I am now looking at more things at Wall Mart - also - try K-Mart if you have one as Martha Stewart has a line of home decor items there.

Guess I better get going and finish your paintings. I have a good idea about your new colors.


A Romantic Porch said...

Kathryn, Your home is so beautiful, cheery and peaceful all at the same time. Thank you for sharing. xo rachel

Kathryn Bechen said...

Thank you to all of you who left comments or e-mailed about my spring home spruce-ups. So glad you enjoyed! :) Kathryn

loan modification said...

hello there! i love browsing your blog! great designs!

Janae said...

Thanks for giving nice tips of home d├ęcor!! I love faux ceiling medallion and would like to pick at home depot