Living Room Decor on a Budget

Okay, I don't know if it's the fact that he's married to me... or something in the Arizona air, but I am featuring yet another decor piece created by Jose. Yes!

Also, I want to give you some tips on finding some unique furniture pieces on none other than: Craigslist!

During our 'decor' shopping the first few weeks in Arizona, I mentioned to Jose that we needed to find a lamp shade for the light fixture in the dining room area. The standard one in our condo looked like this:

Ugly, right? I mean, it looked uglier when it was hanging down from the ceiling (which Jose ended up hitting his head on about 5 times).

Unfortunately, I never realized a freakin' light fixture could be so expensive! While I'd love to create an accent piece, I'm not willing to spend over $50 on a light fixture in the dining room. Maybe the living room. Well, while we were at World Market, we found these cute bamboo parasols for...
ten bucks!

(from World Market website)

This is where the Arizona air hits Jose and he says "what if we used THIS for our light fixture?" And, you know, after that fruit basket idea, I was actually considering his suggestions now. While I had my hesitations, I LOVED the thought of the parasol hanging upside down to serve as a light fixture. How would this work?! You know... ten bucks... it's worth the try!

First, Jose took off the ugly fixture, which left a metal pole hanging down with exposed bulbs. Jose chopped all but 4 inches of the wooden handle on the parasol. He then took a left over metal bracket from our IKEA furniture and used it to connect the parasol to the metal pole. Like this:

And this was the result!

Don't mind the missing chair from our dining room table -- I currently don't have an office chair, so I'm stealing one of those in the mean time :)

SO, how can you find some cool accent pieces if you're decorating? Well, it's all about the WORDS you use when you search. This goes for Craigslist, Ebay, Etsy, or any other place you look online. Let me show you.

I'm a huge fan of vintage furniture, with that kind of chic look (though currently I'm leaning more on the modern look). Let's take this inspirational photo from

UGH, I love this so much. So feminine... if I was living by myself I'd be all over this! Anyway, some of you are familiar with Craigslist "furniture searches" (or Etsy even!) know that if you simply search "vintage" you come up with SOOO many things. You really have to sit there and filter through hundreds of finds. "Vintage" is so vaguely used that you end up with old, garage sale items that people classify as "vintage."

The word that instantly came to mind with this furniture for me was: French.

Guess what items I found on Craigslist when I searched ONLY "French" under furniture? THESE beauties!

Accent chair -- hello! $150

Bedside table $60

Dresser $250

Desk $295

Bookshelf $120 (Imagine painting it a solid red?)

And last.... Okay, some of you may think I'm crazy and just can't understand my vision. That's okay. For those of you who get it, I'll let you come over and sit on this beauty:

Aaaah!! Okay, we haven't "bought" this... yet. But I'm in love!! To me it's the perfect accent chair for our living room. It's a reasonable price (well, the one in my HEAD that I have to convince the seller is reasonable... ;) and it looks comfy!! Jose said it has to pass the "comfort" test in person. Lord, I hope this chair is super comfortable.

Anyway, while these prices were between $50-$200 -- they are absolutely reasonable in comparison to furniture store prices. My advice is to pick an inspirational photo (like the one I posted), and draw ideas from that. I'm no interior design expert, but there are people online who are that I can get visions from. After you have your "vision" search words like: french, feminine, ruffle, shabby, chic, modern, etc. You will find uglies, but that's because people are just trying to sell stuff.

Last, remember you can PAINT!! Pay attention to the -design- of the piece -- it's curves and accents. If you find a coffee table with a really unique shape, or beautifully carved legs, but it's a tacky wood color -- paint it! This is where consignment stores can be your best friend.
Warning: be picky! It's easy to fill your place with junk. Ask yourself if it's a piece people will notice AND does it match the style of your furniture. Be in love with it :)

Happy Friday!

p.s. I'm trying out bigger font because I started noticing how small my default "normal" font is... See? Don't I look small?