Finding Fabulous for Less!

By on July 7, 2011

By Karen Olsen –

My name is Karen…and I’m a thrift-aholic!!!

I am one of those people who is not afraid to stop my car on the side of the road to pick up other peoples cast-offs. It’s adventuresome, and best of all it doesn’t cost a thing. I love to transform an ugly duckling into a swan. When you breathe new life into it, everything is a potential design element. Upcycling is on the up…it’s a very green thing. A beautiful home and a beautiful Earth.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Many people hear the word “recycling” and think of tacky. However, there are many quality pieces that anyone would proudly display in their homes. Most items are fun, whimsical, and certainly one-of-a-king and will satisfy even the most sophisticated tastes.

Here are some tips and ideas:

1. Shop Second Hand
Garage sales, thrift stores, consignment stores and flea markets are full of beautiful items, usually sold at very reasonable prices. Don’t judge a book by its cover (or a cabinet by its color). Vintage vanity dress mirror vintage dressersupcycled into wall shelf and mirror.







2. Re-Purpose
Look for unexpected possibilities. Here we have created a head board out of pre-loved books.

3. Refurbish
Give old worn furniture new life instead of throwing it out. These items are bursting with untapped potential. Paint, replace old knobs, this bed canopy was made from shabby old windows. Garden arbor was made from shabby old doors.

4. Bargain Shop
Spend your weekends scouring garage sales or flea markets. Visit the Goodwill. Thrift stores are also a great source to unexpected treasures. Learn to look beyond the surface; most items will need cleaning, resurfacing or painting. Below bathroom shelf made from old chair. Throw pillow sewn from suit coats. Old clock transformed with vintage neck ties.

bathroom chair used for towel rackrack refurbished as bed canopy
5. Buy Upcycled and Recycled Goods
Look for artist that create from recycled materials. Check out websites like Etsy, West Elm, EBay. One of my favorite upcyclers is designer Zoe Murphy who transforms retro furniture with seaside themes,  Visit

Lu Lu’s Lamps (Etsy) fun, funky and functional lamps and lamp shades. Created from recycled jewelry and accessories.

feather lampEco never looked so good. Get started today buy some second hand gems and get some cheap thrills. Upcycled home décor will make you smile and have your guest talking at you next soiree!lamp made from sweater

From the Decorating Diva…From Drab to Fab…In a Day! Karen Olsen-Bend, Oregon

About Karen Olsen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Finding Fabulous for Less!