Five best ways to decorate on a budget

Are you looking for ways to achieve a unique style in your home without spending a fortune? Five best ways to decorate on a Budget . #budgetdecorating #decorateonabudget #budgetdecor #secondhand #thriftstoreadvice #shopyourhouse

Are you looking for ways to achieve a unique style in your home without spending a fortune? Over the years my love of home decorating and my personal cottage style have both evolved, but my desire to decorate on a budget has not.

Okay I’ll just say it – I’m cheap! A tightwad! A miser! Everything I’ve done to enhance my home has always been done with very limited funds, and as a result I’ve become more patient in my shopping,  and more creative in my repurposing.

Here are the best ways I’ve learned to decorate on a budget, whether buying secondhand or (occasionally) brand new.

Shop your house. Is it possible you already have something that will work for the space you’re decorating? Walk through not just your rooms, but your attic, basement and garage too. Maybe-just-maybe there is something you already own that you’ve forgotten about!

Shop secondhand. Thrift stores, garage sales, and other secondhand venues are all great places to find great furniture and other décor items.

Repurpose. Look at an item you do have (or are considering buying) and determine if it can be repurposed or upcycled to solve a new problem. Can you turn that low-slung wooden coffee table into something for the kids’ playroom? Turn a pretty flat sheet into café curtains for the kitchen? Make a hall tree out of a vintage door?

Make your own. In an online décor group recently, someone asked for help in locating a sign for her kitchen that read, “Pantry.” She told the group she had already looked at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, and couldn’t find one. My thought was, why not just make one? A hand-made sign would be simple to do, and have a lot more character and personality than something mass-produced.

Shop sales, coupons, and deals when buying new. Speaking of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, they have had some really cute décor in recent years! And they both have pretty amazing coupons such as 40 percent off a regularly priced item. Even a store that doesn’t coupon is likely to eventually put items on sale, so pay attention to the circulars and online ads.

Here are the best ways I’ve learned to decorate my home on a budget! Click To Tweet

There are so many ways to decorate on a budget… honestly, my style is all about timeworn, well-loved, vintage items with character and history, and that means I would very rarely buy something brand new. It also means that I almost always pay less-than-new prices.

What are your favorite ways to decorate on a budget?



Here’s a Pin-able image for this post!

Pin 5 Best Ways to Decorate on a Budget | Vintage Floral Cottage

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Creating Vintage Floral Cottage Style

Vintage Floral Cottage Style defined | Vintage Floral Cottage

If someone were to ask me about my decorating style, where others might say theirs was Traditional, or Boho, or even Eclectic, I would say mine is cottage style. Or, more specifically, I would define mine as “vintage floral cottage.” That’s because those three little words seem to apply to nearly every decorative or even functional object that I bring into my home. And of course, that’s completely on purpose!

Whether it is  a mixing bowl, or a new-to-me piece of furniture, it is going to evoke  the comfortable,  time-worn  characteristics I have come to love and seek for my cottage style surroundings.

Vintage Floral Cottage Style defined | Vintage Floral Cottage

When I started this blog, I knew that if I was going to talk about my decorating style I would have to actually define it. Eventually, I arrived at the phrase “vintage floral cottage.” I thought that it not only perfectly described my style, but was also a great name for the blog itself! Here’s what it means to me:

Vintage – means used, from a time gone by, perfectly imperfect, showing its age and signs of previous use. Objects that are timeworn are right at home in cottage style rooms. Being able to appreciate a vintage item’s imperfections, and the history that it has, is very meaningful to me. I think this comes from having been given some beautiful hand-me-down pieces for my home, as well as being a long-time genealogist. I seem to seek that connection to the past.

When I look around my home, I don’t see many things – furniture or accessories – that were purchased brand new. I simply don’t buy things that have a contemporary look… I go for chunky-legged tables, over-stuffed comfy pieces in floral fabrics, rose-covered china with pretty gold rims, and rustic, re-purposed items such as sawhorses and barn doors.

Floral – I think that flowers and floral motifs are one of the cornerstones of cottage style, which is a direct extension of the fact that real cottages were and are often surrounded by abundant gardens.

While I don’t have an extensive garden (I do have a sweet little flower bed!), I do bring flowers indoors prolifically! I use silk and real flowers, old-fashioned floral patterns, and floral motifs on objects ranging from dinnerware to bedding. Of course, roses are a sentimental favorite flower, but so are peonies, lilacs, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, and even just pretty leaves.

Cottage – True cottages to me have a lot of architectural character: stone walls, fireplaces, porches, exposed beams and the like. They are simple, hard-working structures that squeeze a full and happy life into very small spaces, using handed-down furnishings and a minimum of fuss.

I believe that any smaller home – even if lacking specific architectural elements – can be made to feel like a cottage with small cozy spaces, furniture that gets painted or re-upholstered instead of replaced, over-stuffed chairs, and the like. I don’t feel the need for a large home. I like feeling cozy, comfortable, and contained in my 650 square feet.

How can you apply this information to your own home, even if cottage (or “vintage floral cottage”) is not your decor style? It’s actually quite simple: identify those specific elements which, for you, make you feel comfortable… and then purposely choose that style when furnishing your home instead of always just going for what is least expensive. By doing this, over time you will achieve a cohesive look in the style you love. You’ll look around one day just like I did and say, “hey look at that – a home that reflects my style!”

Rachel Ashwell has dubbed her style “Shabby Chic,” and of course Joanna Gaines is the queen of “modern farmhouse.” I don’t have the books, products, and empires that these wonderful, inspirational women have (and have earned!), but I do – at last – have my Vintage Floral Cottage!

Vintage Floral Cottage Style defined | Vintage Floral Cottage


Here’s a pin-able image for this post!

Pin It! Creating VFC Style | Vintage Floral Cottage



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Garden Junk Yard Sale was a huge success!

I must confess, I love to host a yard or garage sale! I love sorting through what I’m going to offer, putting little bits of masking tape with the price on each item, setting it all up in the yard, meeting people as they come to shop, making deals, making money, and at the end, putting the leftovers out and posting them “free on curb” on CraigsList. The entire process for some reason is very satisfying to me!

This year, I decided to tie my garage sale into my Facebook “junk group,” The Rusty Robin. This is a group where I sell items locally simply by posting them in the group or on the overall Facebook Marketplace for my area. I had amassed a fair amount of what I call “garden junk,” so I advertised the sale as The Rusty Robin Garden Junk Yard Sale. It was a blast!

With help from my friend Greg, on Day One we set a few items in the driveway but most of it was in the back yard. I absolutely loved this because my backyard looked like the best flea market ever!

Garden Junk Garage Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Garden Junk Garage Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Garden Junk Garage Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Garden Junk Garage Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

We had a decent day of sales, but we noticed that people who were “drive-by scouting” were not always stopping to shop. We decided perhaps that was because they couldn’t see well into the back yard. So for Day Two we moved it all into the driveway and front yard. This didn’t have quite the “flea market” look, but it definitely looked like a more exciting yard sale for the drive-bys. We did about twice the sales from the day before.

Garden Junk Yard Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Garden Junk Yard Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Garden Junk Yard Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

At the end I pulled a few unsold pieces back into my garage for future projects, and put the rest on the curb. This is what we listed as “free on curb” on Craigslist, minus the wicker rocker, which I dragged back to my own “pile” behind the garage. (I’m always astounded at how much gets picked from the curb by others before it goes onto the garbage truck.)

Garden Junk Yard Sale | Vintage Floral Cottage

Looking forward to the next sale!

PS – Guess what?! I’ve actually written an e-book about hosting a yard or garage sale! It’s called “How to Have An Epic Yard Sale” and it’s just $2.99 in PDF or Amazon Kindle format! Click here to take a look! 




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In praise of silk flowers

I know you might scoff at silk flowers, and have possibly even been a scoffer ever since you first noticed the fake, thick-plastic blooms your grandmother used to display on top of her console television in the 1970’s. I get it – you’d rather have REAL flowers, because real flowers look beautiful and smell heavenly.

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

But here’s the thing: unless you have an endless supply of real flowers at your disposal (like a cutting garden or high-yielding flower bed), real flowers can also be kind of expensive. It’s not long before they have to be discarded and money spent all over again to replace them. I’m not saying they’re not worth it – of course they are! (Here is my secret source for real flowers that are NOT expensive, by the way!)

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

It’s just that fake flowers – specifically, silk flowers – maintain their beauty for a one-time investment. They can bring a long-lasting pop of color to a space for as long as you want them to. They’re a perfectly  acceptable alternative when the flower budget is shot. In fact, they’re an acceptable alternative without even being an alternative! I daresay that my “vintage floral cottage” wouldn’t be Vintage Floral Cottage – it wouldn’t be floral – were it not for silk flowers!

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

Real vs Silk Flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

They are also wonderful for crafting, where they can be used in wreaths, baskets, or anything needing garden-variety embellishments. And, they can do this even if they don’t really look real. I was so fortunate to find a large bunch of silk peonies in dusty-pink/faded hues. Not realistic, but they suit my décor perfectly and I’ve used them in vases and projects for years!

Repurposed Radio | Vintage Floral Cottage


Silk Flower Arrangement | Vintage Floral Cottage

If it helps you to overcome your fake flower phobia (phake phlower phobia? Fake flower fobia?), think of it this way: If you wanted a large chunk of rusty, authentic farmhouse windmill hanging on that large blank wall in your entry/kitchen/family room, but you didn’t want to pay the outrageous asking price of a junk dealer who’s onto the whole “rusty farmhouse goodness” thing happening these days…

Half a Windmill | Vintage Floral Cottage

That’s $403.76 for half a windmill, y’all!

…or you didn’t want to shimmy up an actual windmill and try to detach the spinny part yourself (with permission, of course)… well, you might find yourself at Hobby Lobby eye-balling the metal objects made to look like windmill blades!

And what you’d have is an object, manufactured to look like an actual object… but not the actual object. Sound familiar?

Spring silk flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

Silk lilacs | Vintage Floral Cottage

Not sure I should admit this, but last year I even put silk flowers out in the planters on my front porch. Yep, outdoors. Where real flowers grow. In my defense, I had filled the planters with Fall pumpkins, but they needed a little oomph. A little something more. A certain je ne sais quoi. It actually looked kinda pretty. Mind you, these were Dollar Tree silk flowers… yep, one dollar for a stem with five blooms per stem.

Outdoor Planters | Vintage Floral Cottage

I’m sure my master-gardener neighbor was peeking out her curtains like Gladys Kravitz, wondering if I had lost my mind and crossing my name off the invite list for the upcoming block party. But that’s okay, I see she’s got a bottle tree made from re-bar instead of an actual tree, so… I think we understand each other.

I’d love to get your take on using silk flowers… indoors or out… what are your thoughts?

Here’s an image to Pin this post!

Is it okay to use silk flowers in decorating? Of course! I love to decorate with silk flowers. Learn why in this blog post from Vintage Floral Cottage. #silkflowers #silkflowerdecor #silkvsfresh #freshflowers #realflowers #decoratewithsilkflowers






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A celebration of pretty tables

Of course, I’m sharing this post for the 500th Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch! Congratulations, Susan, and thank you for all the inspiration these past 10 years!

If you have enjoyed any of the tablescapes I’ve shared on my blog, you know that I usually link them to the tablescaping blog link party at Between Naps on the Porch. I think I first discovered Susan’s blog in about 2010, and she had already been hosting the weekly link-up for at least a couple years. This week marks the 500th Tablescape Thursday! Can you imagine… Susan has been setting beautiful tables, and giving others a place to link up their own beautiful tables, creating so much beautiful inspiration – for 500 weeks. That’s almost 10 years!

Susan doesn’t normally set a theme for the week’s link-ups, but for Week 500 she suggested that bloggers share a few pictures from some of their own favorite tables. I thought I would do just that, but I’ve only been “setting pretty tables” with any regularity for about a year. So because I’ve got a limited number of tables from which to choose favorites, I’m also going to include in this post the most recent table that I set this past weekend.

First though, here are five tables I’ve set that I really love!


Cinco de Mayo table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Cinco de Mayo table featuring “Serape” by Certified International. This was the first table I set using my new handmade harvest table top. These dishes are so different from anything else I collect but I thought they were really cool – and so easy to pull colors from on the rest of the table!


Late Summer Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Late Summer Table featuring “Florence” by the Pope Gosser Company. I wasn’t quite ready for fall when I set this table, so I proclaimed a fifth season called Faded Summer. I just love all the colors and textures in this one!


Woodland Christmas Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Woodland-themed Christmas table featuring “Christmas Ribbon” by World Bazaar. At the time I set this table, I was debating whether to keep or sell these pretty dishes. I had them listed online the day I was setting the table, and they sold the next day.


Currier & Ives | Vintage Floral Cottage

Blue and White Currier & Ives – the set of dishes given to me by my grandmother, which set me on a path to collecting vintage dinnerware. Blue and white always seems to be a theme in January, with the fresh start of a new year.



Golden Shimmer | Vintage Floral Cottage

My favorite of all my tables so far has been this one, set for Christmas in shimmery gold-shouldered plates with handpainted glassware. This table is a favorite because it was a vision in my head that became a beautiful reality. I couldn’t believe how shimmery all that gold was.


Now for a brand new table… if you follow me on Instagram you might know that I have spent the last ten-or-so weeks with a broken ankle, so I haven’t been able to get around too well lately. This past Saturday though, I was two days away from getting my final clearance to start walking and driving again, so I decided it was probably safe to putter around the house and haul out some dishes.

My inspiration for the table was this little centerpiece that I had styled for my sawhorse coffee table in the living room. I had been looking at it all week (and loving it!) and decided to move it onto the dining table.

Centerpiece box | Vintage Floral Cottage

It occurred to me as soon as I got started that this piece would be perfect if set with my new Pier 1 “Spring Birds” plates – a set of four, each with a different bird scene. I just love each and every little birdie.

Bird table overview | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pier 1 bird plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pier 1 bird plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pier 1 bird plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pier 1 bird plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

Blue and yellow napkins are also Pier 1 – always purchased on clearance!

Place setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

Our place setting starts with those sweet birds. You can barely see the second layer because it’s so close in size to the bird plates. But these are Fireking in the faintest ice blue.

Place Setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

Place Setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

Next are some basic white dinner plates with just a touch of texture around the rim – it looks like stitching, doesn’t it? These are from Home Goods.

Place Setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

I love seeing all the edges together –

Place Setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

Our flatware is Chandelier by Oneida – my everyday set.  The glassware is Whitehall by Indiana Glass.

Place Setting | Vintage Floral Cottage

Glassware | Vintage Floral Cottage

Glassware | Vintage Floral Cottage

And, of course the centerpiece that inspired the table – pretty silk florals are mostly napkin rings, and the wooden trough is hand-made.

Centerpiece | Vintage Floral Cottage

Centerpiece | Vintage Floral Cottage
A few more views around the table –

Bird table overview | Vintage Floral Cottage

Bird table overview | Vintage Floral Cottage


Bird table overview | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here’s an actual overhead shot –

Bird table overview | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here, everything is gathered up and ready to go back into the cupboards.

Put Away Shot | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here is an image suitable for Pinning if you have Pinterest boards devoted to tablescapes!

Bird Table Pin Image | Vintage Floral Cottage






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