Thrifty Decorating Process

Our living room has suffered an identity crisis for a very, very, long time. It’s gone through many attempted makeovers. The kind of makeovers where you have guests coming for dinner on Friday, and it’s Thursday night so you decide to scour your basement for picture frames that you can quickly nail to the wall. Then you head out to the store 30 minutes before it closes to buy a new lamp, some throw pillows, maybe a new kitchen towel, and of course some more picture frames because the ones from your basement were kinda blah.

That’s how our living room got decorated for the last ten years! On the fly, with absolutely no plan.

Our living room is the hub of our home – so I should probably like how it looks. I finally put some time into creating a plan for the room, and shopped accordingly.

Here’s how it looks today!


group 1


And here’s my thrifty process:



I pinned my little heart out on Pinterest to gather inspiration and determine what style of room I wanted to create. I pinned many living room photos, but I also pinned specific colors, textures, and furniture. Here’s a look at some of my inspiration:


 Top: Nesting Place // unknown // Plateful of Love

Middle: GardenLife //Bluetique // unknown

Bottom: unknown // Velvet & Linen // Ciburbanity


The common theme is neutral colors like gray, white, black and copper, with pops of pink or turquoise. Also lots of textures from natural wood, lace, baskets, and live greenery.



Given my love of thrifting, I always have a collection of housewares stored in the basement. I’ll first pull items from there before buying something new. Like this three tiered table! This was one of the first pieces of secondhand furniture I ever repainted. It’s been used in our kitchen, hallway and now in the living room.




To give this bare wall a little life, I used fabric bunting that I had made for my flea market booth. The bunting was made using a thrifted table cloth, pillowcase, and sheets!


group 2



If I don’t have a list when I shop at the thrift store I either 1)get overwhelmed and give up, or 2) buy things I don’t need that don’t match my vision.

The corner of the room between the two windows originally just had a lamp, but I wanted to add some interest back there so I added to my list: shelving unit for corner. It took a few different visits to the thrift store, but I finally found this one at Goodwill Waterloo for $8! It was originally a brown faux wood laminate that now looks totally different with a coat of white paint.




Also on my list were copper accents, woven baskets and pink books – all of which I easily found at Goodwill.


group 3



Our living room is small and I wanted to make sure there was open space for my 3 boys to do their favorite things — hulk smash each other, jump off the couch into a swimming pool made from every single couch cushion and pillow, and of course breakdancing. That said, I kept furniture to a minimum so they have a big, open space to practice their Austin Moon dance moves.

To avoid having extra furniture, like a toy box, I used a secondhand vintage dresser that could double as toy storage.


group 4


I also saved room by taking advantage of the empty space below the coffee table. This thrifted wire basket stores our blankets and fits perfectly in the space.


group 5


Instead of filling this open area with unnecessary furniture that would take up space, I added a large mirror to the wall, and included a $5 re-painted kids chair from Goodwill that the kids can easily move around for extra seating and/or a diving board.





On the large wall above our couch we originally had 3 picture frames hung horizontally in a row. I was pretty bored with it, so I searched my Pinterest boards for inspiration and loved how people were using large, unique statement pieces above their couches. I saw maps, old windows, huge mirrors, and oversized artwork. When I stumbled upon this huge, vintage chalkboard at Goodwill Streetsboro, I knew I had found my statement piece!



So to recap:

1 – Gather inspiration and create a vision

2 – Shop your house

3 – Create a list

4 – Think about function

5 – Make a statement


Happy Thrifting,


Instagram: SomethingToBeFound
Facebook: Something to be Found 
Pinterest: Katie28
Twitter: somethingtobfnd


Note: To learn more about Katie’s thrift shopping tips, attend the next Thrift Night Out on Aug. 21.

Event Details:
Bring your friends and join us for a Thrift Night Out at Goodwill on Friday, Aug. 21. Enjoy a light dinner as well as thrift shopping basics class with local bloggers and thrifting experts, Katie Plato (, &  Dina Younis ( Then we will head out to the store to put your new skills to the test.

During the evening, Katie and Dina will share their best thrifty tips and tricks for creating a stylish home and wardrobe. You’ll learn how to be prepared before you get to the thrift store, how to spot good pieces in a huge rack of clothes, and how to decorate your home with common thrift store items.


  • 6:00 p.m. Dinner/Class
  • 7:15 p.m. Shopping in Store with Katie and Dina
  • Register to Attend