midcentury modern on a budget: part one

So, if you're new here, my husband Collin and myself moved to Nashville at the beginning of September and are finishing up our second month in our new home. We definitely had a bit of a hard time finding a place initially, and we spent about a month renting from my sister-in-law Stacy King, until we finally found our perfect match.

When I say perfect, I kinda mean potentially perfect. The house was pretty run-down; there were scratches all over the floors and walls, cracks, dents, mold, plumbing issues, electrical issues, and basically everything was on the verge of falling apart.

I've hinted on Instagram that I've been scouting for the best steals for everyone's fav midcentury modern style furniture and accessories, and I'm only so many months in, but I would love to share what I've learned so far. (Also, please bear with me--these are all iPhone photos, I'm currently waiting on a lens for a new camera we're getting!)

As soon as we possibly could, we began working little by little on the house. It's two story, four bedroom, two bathroom, which makes for, um.

Too many damn rooms to paint.

I definitely cried several times during this initial transition. The house was all this terrible greige (gray/beige) color, and I spent every free moment desperately Pinning anything and everything that could be an inexpensive and effect way to improve our space. 

I was very impatient. Impatience brought disappointment and disappointment brought tears. And I was basically a basket-case until I came home one day to see my entire lower story painted W H I T E !!

Let's just say, my husband was through with my unintentionally doubt and negativity about our house. I eventually decided to do one project at a time and accept our realistic finances with our decorating goals. 



Firstly, we have absolutely been inspired by Bri Emery's post on DesignLoveFest of fool-proof fall colors. It definitely helped to have something to reference whenever I thought I "loved" something, yet thought it would look silly in my home.



t e x t u r e 

silks, faux fur, reflective surfaces, etc.

Our bedroom: Sooo, bedrooms are weird. They can be absolutely breath-taking, or sloppy and super private. I definitely have neglected really thinking about our bedroom in the past, and so far, we haven't made a ton of progress. Collin doesn't think it needs to ever be a priority, yet I'm dying to find accessories, furniture, anything! We currently don't have a dresser/chest of drawers, and that's been....annoying to say the least. 

This side-by-side is actually a few weeks old. It hasn't progressed much since then, but we're obviously still in the stages of unpacking! I don't have many tips for this room so far, but I can think of one...

  • When thrifting/antiquing: always go find the hanging blanket section. I've found some amazing vintage rag rugs and throws just stashed away with the bath-curtains. In my experience, things in linen sections typically never run for more than $10, which only leaves it up to you to find a non-slip pad to go underneath and boom!

Our living room: Sooooo. This room we definitely have had the most fun with. We've moved it around so many times, and it's currently not arranged the way it is in this photo (right), but it's still a MAJOR improvement from where we started. Honestly, as you can see, we moved into this house with nothing. Those pillows and blankets on the left are from our bedroom. The night we moved in, I drove to Target and bought two floor lamps for $11 a piece, eventually deciding to spray paint them gold.

Though technically a doormat and not a rug, this baby was $4 at a thrift store, hanging up with the bathmats. Do your digging, people!

Though technically a doormat and not a rug, this baby was $4 at a thrift store, hanging up with the bathmats. Do your digging, people!

  • When lacking overhead light: floor-lamps are the bomb, don't get me wrong, but adjusting to a room without overhead lighting can be really tricky. Unfortunately, we only have two windows in the from of our home, and we don't get a ton of natural light, which has been really annoying. However, as mentioned above, Target offers really inexpensive floor-lamps in their Room Essentials line for college students on a budget, and they make for amazing canvases for spray paint projects. Don't be afraid to look for the potential in pieces!
  • Don't be afraid of faux plants! This was definitely something I initially struggled with. Eventually, I realized that it's hella easier to find a giant fake cactus for $5 than to go purchase a real one for $100. They brighten your room still, and add color to photos. For air quality, however, def invest in some low-maintenance house plants--- you can find them at Lowe's or Home Depot for < $20.
  • RUGS RUGS RUGS! I was just chatting with my sis about rugs and the happiness they bring. It's hard to convince yourself you absolutely need a rug. In all honesty, you don't. You probably need toilet paper and paper towels a hundred times over before you need a rug. However, the depth of texture and pizzazz a simple pattern on the floor can bring a room is insane. Definitely consider purchasing a few rugs. I've mainly been given (I'm so grateful!) many rugs, and I've also had the good fortune of finding some secondhand. I've also bought semi-expensive rag-rugs from trendy stores and have been sooo unhappy. If you have pets, rag-rugs are pretty impractical and they will travel across an entire room if you're not careful!
  • Accessories and knick-knacks: This is, oddly, a big one for me. When I left Tyler, I literally donated and gave away all of my "stuff" before we moved; you know, the crap I'd randomly collected from family members and garage sales throughout the years. I vowed to never have anymore "stuff" and to just buy all new, fancy, pretty things for my future home. Once I moved into this place, I realized that some things were missing. Surprisingly, I found myself needing "stuff" and being bummed I gave so much of it away. The lesson is, don't be afraid to buy some $0.99 knick knacks here and there, just stick with your color pallet/metal scheme (mine was brass and copper), and you should be fine. If you can think in terms of textures, shiny or colorful knick-knacks can give your space a very well-rounded feeling.


F U N  F A C T

I joined two Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade groups and bought two rattan papasan chairs! Sooo dorky, but I found one for $9 without the cushion and another for $25. I'm planning on adorning the cushion-less one with this faux cowhide one from World Market. Fusion, people!

That also brings me to this small tip:

  • Rattan everything. Literally. You can paint it, you can hang it, you can eat on it, you can sit on it, you name it. Also? YOU CAN FIND IT ANYWHERE. It's literally the cheapest secondhand thing I've ever been able to find (placemats for $0.29 at thrift store). 
Also, bathrooms don't have to be perfect. Just paint them white and leave them alone.

Also, bathrooms don't have to be perfect. Just paint them white and leave them alone.

^Baskets kind of fall into the rattan category and they are SOOOOO key. I buy baskets almost every time I go into a thrift store/secondhand store because they are inexpensive, adorable accessories! These were actually originally from West Elm and I scored them for $3 a piece. 

More and more and more rattan, please.

  • Put [some] stuff on your walls. I've definitely gone a little too crazy with hanging stuff in the past, and you need to accept that though you may want it, not every wall should be a gallery wall. If you do that, you'll literally feel like WTF THIS ROOM IS ABSOLUTE CHAOS! Instead, pick one wall and find big pieces that you LOVE and the accent pieces don't have to be show-stoppers. It's easy to fill in gaps with little second-hand prints, vintage greeting cards, postcards, or even little record covers. Get creative! 

Honestly, I feel as though I could go on forever. My giant fake cactus and I wish you a

happy friday!