Pretty Things Tuesday: On Wednesday
May 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
(Better late than never!)
Hello! How are you today? We’re doing pretty well, despite fighting off another sore throat. Honestly, I kind of can’t wait for preschool to be over in a month. The germs produced and shared by those 14 adorable kids in that little classroom nearly incapacitated me this year. Clearly, I need to build up my immune system. But who cares about that.
A new made-in-America Ethan Allen coffee table! Can you believe it’s the first time I’ve used Craigslist?!? I’m so 2003!
As much as I love pretty things and home decor, I rarely (ok, never) buy large items for my home. Before I married, I was a vagabond, moving from apartment to apartment every few years and making do with whatever beat up hand-me-down furniture I could get my hands on from friends and family. Sure, I purchased pillows and other decorations to make the place of the moment look cute and homey, but I never bit the bullet and invested in good furniture.
In those days, I thought of money in terms of how many bottles of wine or how many trips it could buy. $1500 for a new couch? That could buy 100 bottles of wine or round trip tickets to visit my best friends in Vegas and Seattle! I also figured: why spend money on stuff that may not fit in my next apartment? For years my mattress was on a futon frame. It didn’t bother me–I liked, and still do like, the platform bed look! (Although, we have moved on up to a real bed frame, minus a headboard. It’s on the list of things to get.)
I was hesitant to invest time or money in decorating the house we’re in now because we thought we’d move from here to our “forever home” in 4 or 5 years. Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it appears that we’re on a 10 year plan here. With that reality staring me in the face, I decided that now is the time to put on my big girl panties and make this house a permanent home. The days of rolling stone youth, flowing wine, and frivolous trips are over, so there should be money in the budget for real furniture.
I’m not in a huge rush to buy things. The coffee table was first on the list because our old coffee table was just disgusting. It had a rattan top that had become encrusted with old food and play-doh. Since we do all of our entertaining in our living room, I was at the point where I was embarrassed to serve appetizers on it!
Anyway, I plan on buying as many items as possible (console table, end table, dining room furniture, etc.) from second-hand sources like Craigslist, antique stores, and yard/estate sales for 3 reasons:
1. Financial benefit- Second-hand items are less expensive than new items. I bought the coffee table for less than half of the retail price. There are a few small scratches and marks on it, but nothing really noticeable. I negotiated a little bit and got $20 knocked off the asking price. Honestly, the asking price was totally reasonable, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to haggle a little bit. (And I can use that 20 bucks to buy a bottle of wine! Just kidding.)
2. Environmental benefit - Why buy new things (most likely manufactured in a foreign country using questionable materials) that will just end up in a landfill someday, when there are plenty of previously loved, quality things in good condition? Save trees and create less pollution by buying second-hand.
3. Uniqueness benefit – I’m going for a beachy-cottagey look here and luckily that style lends itself well to second-hand shopping. I love Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware as much as the next person, and I’m sure I’ll buy some things from a name brand at some point, but I don’t want my house to look like a catalog picture. I’m excited to go on the hunt for unique, great quality items that I truly love.
I’m indebted to The Nesting Place newsletter for inspiring me to go on the second-hand special hunt!
Have a good night!