I took a look around our daughter’s bedroom the other day after I hung this painting over her bed and set up her lamp, and realized that most it is now decorated with family heirlooms and thrift store finds. It’s funny how people usually can’t wait to upgrade their rooms with new furniture and decorative accessories and we have gone the opposite direction over the past eight years with our daughter’s bedroom.
The only pieces in this picture that are new are the drawer pulls on the chifferobe and the lampshade. The quilt set was purchased new too, but my mom bought it for her years ago for her birthday, so that doesn’t really count for our expenses…thanks Grandma! I’ve been collecting all these pieces over time and some I’ve had around here for a very long time. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I love including family heirlooms in my decor. I have to give credit to my daughter for the most recent additions, which include the painting and the lamp…that has been hidden away for over twenty years.
You may remember my chifferbobe makeover project here on the blog? That was a great find and between purchasing the cabinet and the materials I needed to complete the makeover, I have about $100 in the entire piece. Not bad considering the cost of new furniture.
Here’s what it looked like before. I snapped this picture at the used furniture shop just before loading it up in my van. Looks completely different doesn’t it? Although I’ve received more negative feedback about this furniture piece (since I painted over the wood) we are still very happy with it and I have no ‘ragrets’ about painting it…not even a single letter. Couldn’t resist the movie quip there.
In that same furniture shop, about a year later, I came across the lovely painting that hangs above her bed. I visit this shop quite often and passed this painting during two separate visits, just ‘thinking about it’. The third time I went and saw it again and grabbed it up right away. I can’t believe I almost let this one go. They sold it to me for $5 and once I got home I saw on the backing that it was framed right here in town. Turns out, it was my friend’s uncle who used to have his own framing business out of his home. Since it was framed locally, it made me wonder if the artist was local. This painting has become a mystery because the artist’s last name is the same as my maiden name…so my aunt and I have been on a hunt, trying to find information on the artist, Nettie Baker. The painting is dated 1977 and although we still haven’t found any information, we hope something will turn up. It would be neat to find out if we are related to the artist somehow.
Our daughter loved this painting and wanted to see what it would look like in her room. It goes perfectly with the lavender paint color on her walls and looks like it was made for her room…
Her bed was another inexpensive find. I came across this metal bed about five years ago on Craigslist for $75. That was for the headboard, footboard, and frame…not the mattress. There are many things I will buy used, a mattress would not be one of them (that was a BigLots deal). This bed was not very old when I bought it from the previous owner. The man said that he had bought it for his daughter but they had found matching beds for both of his daughters, so they didn’t want this anymore. It’s amazing what you can find on Craigslist and one piece of advice I give people who ask how I find all these deals, is to be patient! I don’t just easily find all these deals. I usually have an idea of what I want for each space and then I search for it, sometimes waiting a while. This bed took a while for me to find but I started looking for a metal or iron bed while my daughter was still cozy in her toddler bed. So, if you can decide ahead of time what kinds of things you are looking for, search all your options (thrift stores, Craigslist, etc.), and take your time waiting for the right piece to come along, it might happen. That’s right…MIGHT happen. That’s the thing with used furniture, it’s hit and miss but I prefer it to buying new furniture, which can be pretty expensive. I will add that sometimes you find something better than you expected and I really lucked out finding this bed. You never know!
Speaking of new furniture, the wicker furniture was purchased new…when I was a kid. My mother bought me this bedroom furniture when I was younger and it was still my bedroom furniture when I bought my first house when I was twenty-one years old. I didn’t have the money for bedroom furniture, or any other new furniture for that matter. These wicker pieces stayed in my bedroom until my husband and I got married and we found the bedroom set we have now. The wicker pieces were stored away in the other room until we had our daughter five years later. She had a plain white crib and the wicker furniture matched it perfectly. I soon found out what good quality the wicker dresser and nightstand were when we bought a new wicker chest of drawers online years ago. I was so happy that I found a chest of drawers for only $135, then I learned you get what you pay for. It was not solid and sturdy like the ones that belonged to me. It was a complete piece of rickety junk and the drawers were hard to open and close. That is why we don’t have it anymore, and have a nice solid chifferobe in it’s place now.
Honestly, the wicker is now showing it’s age and could use a fresh coat of spray paint. Hopefully that will be another project of mine in the near future, but you can easily see all the wear and tear on the surface…
Now, let’s talk about this lamp and the guilt I’ve had hidden away with it for over twenty years now.
This lamp belonged to my Great Grandfather who was the golf pro at Ingleside Resort in Staunton, Virginia for many years. He loved Ingleside and anyone who played golf there knew him well. This lamp was one of the things he had from Ingleside and if I remember correctly, this lamp was salvaged from the fire they had there in the hotel many years ago.
Fast forward to Christmas of 1991, when I was just eleven years old and several years after my Great Grandfather had retired, I watched him as he opened up this newly painted lamp for Christmas. My great Aunt was an artist and had painted this lamp, that was once orange, a pretty blue color and had painted the flowers with nice detail. He loved it so much he even had tears in his eyes.
Just a few months before he passed away (in 1993) he proudly gave me this lamp and it was special to me because I knew how much he loved it and he was giving it to me….but truthfully, I never really liked it. I had no idea what I would do with this lamp. It went with nothing that I had and I thought it was so dated. I never thought much more about it as I was growing up but when I had my first place I thought about it again. Still, nothing. I didn’t have the right spot for it and I still really wasn’t loving it…although it was starting to grow on me, a little. It’s just kind of followed along with me, tucked away in storage in my house all these years until now. Turns out, my daughter loves it…LOVES it. She thought it would go great in her room and would be the perfect replacement for the little purple butterfly lamp she had since we set up her nursery.
I brought the lamp to my Dad (who’s an electrician) and he got it all fixed up for her. The only thing that was missing was a shade. The original shade had broken many years ago and after a long search for the right shade, we found this one at Lowes. It was the perfect fit and now my daughter has a ‘grown-up’ lamp in her bedroom.
Another piece of furniture in her room was a freebie…a roadside desk giveaway in the neighborhood we picked up on a rainy day. My daughter and I gave it a whole new look and it was such a fun project we got to do together! She is always at the desk, drawing on the chalkboard top, reading, or doing some kind of craft. I though it would make a good spot for her to do her homework but she still does that at the kitchen table. I guess doing homework at this desk just takes the fun right out of it.
Filling the blank wall space above the desk was another easy and inexpensive project. This old plastic frame belonged to my Grandmother and I just spray painted it with a nice turquoise color and taped her artwork on the wall inside the frame. So easy! This project was inspired by a similar one I saw in HGTV magazine.
It isn’t only the furniture pieces that have a story, it’s quite a few of the decorative accessories as well. The doll on her dresser belonged to her Grammy and the tiny blue suitcase on top of her chifferobe was found at her Great Granny and Grandaddy’s old farm house this summer. I think it’s fun to include those pieces in with the decor and having reminders of our Grandparents in our kid’s bedrooms is especially a wonderful feeling! I think it gives them a certain amount of appreciation for family hand-me-down’s and they get to learn a little about the family member they once belonged to…especially the ones they never knew.
Now, to further encourage you to decorate with used/vintage and family pieces, I am going to give you a cost breakdown of those pieces/projects:
Bed: $75 Craigslist find
Chifferobe: $50 for Chifferobe, $50 in materials for makeover
Desk: FREE roadside find, about $20 in materials for makeover
Painting: $5 thrift store find
Lamp: FREE family hand-me down, Shade $20 (from Lowes)
Painted Plastic Frame: Free (family piece), about $4 for spray paint
I hope this will encourage you to wait patiently for that inexpensive furniture piece you are looking for AND to dig out those old family pieces and find a place for them. Our daughter loves how her room looks now and has enjoyed the family pieces as well as taking part in the projects along with her Mom.