Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Op Shop Chic

The old pine cabinet was painted white and cushions were found cheaply on Ebay.

You can fill your home with lovely good quality furniture and accessories, even on a small budget. I'm not talking about flat packed furniture either, unless that is what you love! Unfortunately, styles come and go and I have succumbed to the luring cheap prices of stores like Ikea and Kmart for furniture in the past, but most items just don't stand up to the test of time. Nope. I'm talking about buying second hand.

Hubby and I have always bought second hand. Our first bed was from a second hand store, our first couch was given to us by friends of my Nan's. I used to wish we could afford new furniture, and as time went on we did. To my surprise, the items we did by new didn't last long. A new fridge and washing machine were both unfix able within 3 years time. Which was crazy to me! Our previous second hand appliances had lasted almost 10 years! With the exception of the recent freezer that broke. That was when I realised, just like we have been told "They don't make things like they used to." Now I try to buy second hand where possible.

Microwave found for $20 at the tip shop.

Op shop chic is how I describe my home. It is filled with second hand furniture which we have collected over the years on verge pickups, in op shops, on Gumtree and have gratefully accepted  some from friends. I love the eclectic style of my home it and it is so exciting to find a great piece of furniture and image how it would look transformed with a coat of paint.

Another bedside table found kerbside. The top had a scorch mark, so I painted it white. 

 I have seen many gorgeous items of painted furniture in little boutique furniture stores. Most of the prices for shabby chic style furniture is just colossal, considering how easy it is to achieve at home!

I love using paint, it is a great frugal way to transform almost anything. We had an old pine TV cabinet with cupboards underneath. You can see in the first photo. It looked very outdated, but still very sturdy and in good condition. Rather than get rid of it, I decided to paint it with a coat of white gloss paint. I also bought a couple of cheap bookshelves from Ikea which sit perfectly either side of it. Unfortunately the backing on the shelves is just made of cardboard, but I can take them off when they wear out.

I did the same thing with a pine cabinet a friends mum gave us 18 years ago. It had narrow shelves, with doors. I took the doors off and painted the whole thing white and when it was dry scuffed up some of the edges for a shabby chic look. Then we had an instant dining room dresser.  This has now become shelving for Mr 10's home ed bookwork.

You can even buy cabinet knobs very cheaply on ebay. I love the look of  these crystal look ones
sometimes hardware or specialty stores stock them as well, but they are much cheaper to buy online. A painted cabinet would look amazing with new handles.

Dresser with the doors removed and painted.

We once bought a cheap flat packed desk for $30 from a hardware store that was closing down. This lasted for about a year, until we needed to move it when we had the new carpet put in and it promptly fell apart. I managed to salvage a part of it and this is now a cupboard in Miss 17's bedroom. Which was good for her, but left us without a computer desk. I went looking in our garage and came across a lovely bedside table with a pressed tin insert that we found kerbside. For some reason I have found many bedside tables on verge pick ups! I asked hubby if he could use it as a base for a desk.
About $15 in materials and a few days later, he and Mr 10 had built a wonderfully sturdy desk, to last us many years. Of course I painted it white. Excuse the mess in the before photo, this was when I was in the midst of de cluttering! 

Computer desk made from a bedside table, pallet wood for the supports and 2 lengths of pine for the top.

The finished desk with a coat of paint.

Of course there are many other wonderful things you can buy second hand for your home, most of the time for a fraction of the cost. Vintage linen, curtains, sheets, quilt sets, pictures and trinkets.  I once found beautifully soft pillows for $1 each.

Our bedroom setting was bought very cheaply from a friend who was upgrading. The lamps are vintage, given to me by my Nan. The shades were very worn, so I painted the bases silver and bought new shades. The purple wall hanging was a table runner that I stapled on to a verge pickup canvas.

Our bedroom furniture.

Vintage lamps.

Miss 17's bargain bed.

Of course my latest second hand bargain was miss 17's $30 bed, which included the base, mattress, foam and wool underlays, sheet set, and quilt set. We will never find another bargain that good, I think!
Is your house furnished with op shop treasures?


  1. We scored a solid wooden desk and attached shelves. The unit was originally white with pink wallpaper backing and little crystal drawer knobs. My son and I painted it up together and it was such a great project to share. He chose the colours he liked and new drawer knobs from Bunnings. It's now in his room, he's put all his "treasures" on the shelves and is really pleased with is efforts:)

    1. Dear Meg,
      Your son's desk sounds wonderful!I bet he loves it! x

  2. Your purple wallhanging is BRILLIANT! I will definitely borrow that idea.

    1. Hi Chipmunk,
      I'm so glad you liked the idea! I have also done it with a printed linen tea towel. xx

  3. I bought an old tapestry covered single lounge chair with footstool. Super comfy and super ugly. The wooden arms and legs were in good condition. I made fitted patchwork covers. Everyone who visits comments on the chair and wants to take it home. This is just one of my many op shop finds.
    Like you I love the eclectic look of my home. My decorating style is 'rainbow' so everything works with everything else regardless of colour or style.
    I love your purple wall hanging idea. I have been looking for a print to go on a blank wall in our bedroom. I have a beautiful batik piece of fabric that would work. Just need to find an old canvas print to staple it to.

    1. Dear Jane,
      We used to have an old lounge suite like that, with the wooden arms and legs. It was given to us by friends of my Nan's when we moved into our first house. I used to cover it with throw rugs lol. Your patchwork covers sound amazing! Rainbow is a great style, like you said, anything can match! Years ago we had a holiday down south and stayed in a rented straw bale house. It was the most amazing place! It was full of mismatched furniture-very random and was painted bright colours. I just fell in love with the place! I'm glad you like my canvas idea! the table runner was from the markets and not cheap, but didn't fit on my new dressing table and I didn't want to get rid of it! I was going to stitch the top to make an opening and buy some dowel to hang it on, but then remembered I had 2 rectangle canvases in the garage which I found on verge pick up. The material only just fit enough for me to staple the top and bottom to the canvas, so I didn't bother with the sides. I then bought some black ribbon wide enough to go all the way around the edges and hot glued this in place. xx

  4. Dear Mel, I love your dressers! And I love painting furniture! Your home is lovely by the way! Love it all, from Annabel.xxx

    1. Dear Annabel,
      Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. Your house is like my dream home! It's taken a while to get my home the way I like it, it's still a work in progress. xx

  5. Mel, the photo of your pine cabinet and lounge in the top photo looks like something out of Vogue Living.
    I know what you mean about modern furniture not lasting the distance - my aunts solid timber everyday use dining table we were given when we first married is still going strong, while the brand spanking, seldom used, new table and chairs we'd finally saved for only lasted a few years.
    Have a great weekend

    1. Dear Janine,
      Vogue Living? Well thank you so much, that's a huge compliment! Whitewashing the walls and new flooring also made such a difference. I am always on the lookout for solid furniture now. I had a quick look through the new Ikea catalogue and was quite shocked at the prices considering the furniture is made from particle board! Not something that will last long enough to be handed down! xx

  6. I love finding good solid pieces of furniture at yard sales, auctions,curbside, thrift stores or that family have blessed us with. My husband is a former carpenter and is able to transform pieces into something new. He amazes me!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      How wonderful your husband is a carpenter. What a great skill to have! xx