Author Topic: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating  (Read 1332 times)

Treb3

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Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« on: December 28, 2018, 11:55:34 PM »
Hi, I'm buying a house! I close next month, got a great deal on it, and am very excited!

I have traveled a lot for work over the years (I'm stationary now!) and picked up different stuff. I put a lot of money down on the house but am still borrowing 87,500. I want to pay that off as fast as possible so I don't want to spend much on outfitting / redecorating. I have enough mismatched furniture that I don't really need anything, but I do want to beautify everything and help it go together. I've been using Google a lot! Any ideas on good resources I can check out? I don't mind doing minor rehabs like paint etc. but am not handy with tools. Thank you!
*I know the pay off v. not debate, just want to focus on no debt + pretty house!

MrSal

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 12:56:46 AM »
Craigslist and Facebook market... Amazing the prices you get from people trying to get rid of stuff...

former player

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 03:36:10 AM »
Apartment Therapy shows makeovers of rooms and furniture.  I've found Pinterest to be a bit too much of a rabbit hole.

@pbkmaine is the forum guru on making things look good on a budget.

crispy

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 08:32:56 AM »
I am not the best decorator, but my house looks nice and was definitely done on a budget with items found at thrift stores, antique shops, etc.

I think the biggest thing is decluttering and keeping things clean. Clutter makes any room look dumpy even if it is full of expensive stuff.

Figure out your style. Find the items that make your heart sing and don't worry about what's trendy. Go to stores and see what items you are drawn to or look at rooms online and see what you like. I laugh because my favorite aesthetic has always been clean, uncluttered but rustic which is pretty trendy right now.  I kind of hate it because it it makes the things I like more expensive. Darn you Joanna Gaines! Also, look at the style of house you bought. Many newer homes tend to be style neutral, but some types of homes really call out for a certain design style like Craftsmen cottages or mid-century modern homes. You were probably drawn to your house for a reason.

Go neutral on furniture and use paint and accessories for color (unless your style is colorful furniture!). I like to change color schemes every few years, and paint, pillows, and accessories are cheap compared to new furniture.

Buy secondhand. Our couch was $135 at Goodwill (was brand new and still being sold at a local furniture store for $1300). Our TV stand is a solid wood dresser that we bought at Goodwill for $15 and painted. Our coffee table is a chest we bought at an antique shop (think it was $80). Our entry has an antique dresser and mirror that I bought at Goodwill for $20...it was originally from the Sears catalog from the 1880s. All of these items are lovely, fit me aesthetic, and were cheap! I didn't find everything overnight, but it has been a job to collect these items.

Repurpose what you can. The paint on the top of my kitchen table was a mess (especially after my youngest daughter spilled finger nail polish remover on it!). We stripped the top, stained it, and sealed it. Now it has that trendy farmhouse look and no longer looks like junk. I spray paint things like frames or accessories all the time of I want to change colors or refresh a look.

Make your rooms balanced. A lot of times people hang pictures too high, buy items that are too big of too small for the space, or load heavy or tall pieces to one side of a room. This can make a room seem really off kilter. This probably doesn't bother most people, but it really drives me crazy and makes a home see unfinished.

Hope these ideas help. Basically it isn't about what you have, but now you use it!

AMandM

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 11:23:25 AM »
crispy's advice is spot on, especially this:
I think the biggest thing is decluttering and keeping things clean. Clutter makes any room look dumpy even if it is full of expensive stuff.

Too much stuff, no matter how good it is individually, will make a room unpeaceful, especially if it's uncoordinated.

The other key to making an attractive whole out of a somewhat random collection of items is to find a way to give them some visual unity. 

One classic approach is the "inspiration piece." If there's one thing in your room that you really like--a picture, the curtains, the fabric on one chair--then make other items in the room relate to that one. E..g. find other pieces that use the same wood, use paint or a cheap slipcover for the sofa in a color taken from the item, put toss pillows on the sofa made of the same fabric.

Or take several disparate things and give them a unifying treatment:  different pictures hung together in matching frames, assorted bookcases painted the same color.

The first principle, though, is definitely the hardest part for me, because most of our stuff has been acquired somewhat randomly over the years. Almost every object has some sentimental value. It's really hard for me not to include everything!

4alpacas

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 11:28:41 AM »
@pbkmaine is the forum guru on making things look good on a budget.
Agreed! She has a fantastic eye, and her journal is a bunch of people offering design advice. 

Noodle

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 01:20:35 PM »
One of my favorite subjects! Many years ago, a friend who had come to dinner for the first time walked in and said, "Your apartment looks so comfortable." Best compliment I've ever gotten on my place...

I don't do a lot of second-hand furniture although I wish I could...in a small condo, I don't have space to do rehabs, and I am not in a position to drag stuff up a looooong flight of stairs. My stuff is a combo of IKEA, Target, and online discounters like Overstock.com. What I have done is to buy everything in a similar shade of "wood" grain so it goes together visually.

Echo the suggestion that clutter avoidance is the number-one way to make your place look nice. Other things I have done are to replace light-switch plates and cabinet knobs with nicer versions.

Some books I have liked that don't push expensive or complicated renovations include the books by the authors of the old "Young House Love" blog, the original Apartment Therapy book (before the website turned into a showcase for complicated design projects), and an old book called "Use What You Have Decorating." The looks in the book are very dated now, but I found it to be really helpful about how to arrange furniture, hang art, etc. I'm sure the advice was nothing original, but I found it to be in a very useful format.

Rosy

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 01:54:44 PM »
You did a good job with your space when people walk in and say: "This is "so you":) and you know in your heart that this is true.

Paint is cheap and color transforms any space but do give it some thought before you swing the paint brush.
Cohesion and a hint of style:
If you are saddled with a bunch of less than wonderful pieces but cannot replace them right now - then, by all means, paint them all in shades of ivory for an airy look - choose shades of Caribbean blues if you live in Florida and love color or glossy black/espresso for a more dramatic look.

Flea market chic is easy enough to pull off, you might even go for a distressed grey possibly with milky white or black streaks in a minimalist modern space.

However, if like you mentioned, you have lovely pieces that you collected during your travels I wouldn't recommend cohesion through paint. 
If they are unique pieces, let one or two pieces "hold court" and plan your decor/style/color scheme around them.
If they are strong and large enough to dominate the room - let one or two of them shine and you have your "inspiration".

Think about painting one wall a different color for drama or because your most prized possession would look awesome against a backdrop of Chinese red, black or ocean blue. 

If you have several small objects that play well together - display them on their own special table or buffet unless they are fragile and need protection, like a glass cabinet with interior lighting. If it really is special to you, treat it as such and display it to the best advantage.
But don't automatically just line them all up - elevate some, be creative - could you work them into your bookshelf, give them LED lights or a spot light...

I have a carved wooden Buddha which looks important on its own pedestal shelf. If I lived by myself I'd opt for a low, round table or a tall console table and surround my Buddha with incense burners, green plants and candles. Not really an option in a very small house with cats who like to investigate and a Mr. R. who prefers function and comfort:)
Sometimes we need to compromise to suit the reality of our circumstances:)

A lot depends on whether you have a mish-mash of flea market finds or true antiques or modern art of some sort. Maybe you have a few fine Asian furniture pieces or a pretty collection of crystal or a chunk of cypress wood made into a cool table or six paintings from a street artist in Paris.
I find my tastes and preferences do change over time, so I either let go or put pieces away for a while to either be rediscovered and cheered over or gladly let go.

Eclectic isn't as easy to pull off successfully as it sounds - if well done it is beautiful and you feel like a traveler on a discovery tour as you walk through the house. If it is poorly done, it destroys the beauty and the special appeal of your most prized pieces.
Space appropriately, pair with a classic or contemporary or oriental rug, the right wall color, lighting that is not just functional, but works with your decor or adds to the vibe or flair you are going for.

Do consider the style of your home and compliment your own lifestyle. We all know what we like and need as far as function, comfort and style.
Forget those 24 hour or weekend warrior make-overs - live with what you have for two to three months, see what no longer works in this new house and what you really wished you had now.
Then slowly develop a plan - decorating magazines online or at the library are a good source of inspiration when you are ready for action.

Spend your money on a good mattress, a good sofa and a dining set that is perfect for your space - don't skimp on that, but if you must, spend your time hunting down the right pieces wherever you can - estate sales in affluent neighborhoods are not a bad place to start or install everyone of the facebook and private sale apps for your area.

Do think about how "you" use your space - do you spend hours on a full computer set up - do you need a decent chair and nice speakers? Do you need four chairs or six chairs for your dining table or are you happy to hang out at the kitchen counter Soda Shop style?
I happen to like good size dining chairs that can support some of our heavier visitors:) and at the same time are comfortable enough to sit, dine and talk or play or craft for say three to four hours.

Do you need a table to spread out your stuff on occasion, to sort or work on a project...? or do you already have an extra room for that purpose - now that you have such a room - how is it actually working for you? Is it convenient, does it tend to collect crap...?

I prefer plenty of good lighting for tasks, but for less than ten bucks you can buy a dimmer switch to save energy, be romantic or use it as a nightlight for overnight guests to keep them safe.

Anyone can have a beautiful, functional and comfortable space on a dime if they take the time and care enough to live in a space that suits them.
Think about what you can't live without, follow that list and you will have the perfect home for you:)

My can't live without list:
Books, Oriental Rug, Art, Plants, Color and a smattering of fine linen, china and crystal plus good lighting in the kitchen and daylight light bulbs in my reading lamp next to my favorite reading chair, a recliner.
No matter where I've lived and we moved about 24 times overall - those were the things I wanted in my home.

Your preferences may vary, but you will note - style actually has little to do with it. Style is simply something we create or are naturally drawn to.
Invest in the things you care about or as a mustachian, find a way to acquire them as cheap as possible - but - never settle, you'll regret it:)

How you live determines how you decorate and whatever your priorities are is where you spend your money. I can live without a dishwasher, but I can't live without a bookcase or rather several:) I'm thinking of using the dishwasher space for a dedicated wine refrigerator instead.
Have fun!:)

OtherJen

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2018, 02:13:28 PM »
Our main living room decorations are inexpensively framed (i.e., read: Meijer sale frames) 8x11 prints of photos that we took mostly during camping trips, a dwarf lime tree in a pot, and a bookshelf. It's a small room so to make it feel a bit larger, we painted the walls in a light blue-gray color and used an inexpensive area rug in front of the sofa and light-colored curtains. It's calm and serene and we're very happy with how it turned out.

MayDay

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2018, 07:17:34 PM »
What is your style? Has it changed over time? I know mine has- I used to love dark, traditional furniture, and now I hate it! So I'm not willing to spend much :)

I think figuring out your style is the first step. I like the website Houzz for figuring out what looks good and getting inspiration.

Treb3

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Re: Beautiful but Mustachian Home Decorating
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2019, 09:58:21 PM »
Some great ideas! Thank you!