Decor Dilemmas and Fortuitous Finds

I’ve really been getting into all the decor and crafty blogs lately, ever since I found out that Brian did get me a  birthday present after all: a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens (he totally forgot about it!). While I’m impatiently waiting for it to arrive, I’ve been soaking up ideas from the blog world. I have found some great stuff! I love My Domestic Bliss, because she finds the most amazing stuff on Craig’s list, at garage sales, and in the trash! (Stay tuned for my Craig’s list find) She shares everything from recipes to . Another favorite of mine is My Desert Cottage, A. because she lives in Arizona too, and B. because she has fabulous shabby chic style and ingenious creations, including tutorials!
This is decor dilemma #1: my fireplace. Now, the corner shelves aren’t the issue, nor is the metal butterfly, is the lack of anything interesting below that point. 
So, I added my fortuitous find from Anthropologie that I mentioned buying earlier. This is how it looked for a few days. 
While it looks better, maybe, than it did before, it’s just not enough to balance all the stuff on the shelves and the butterfly. So I added a hat box that I got as a wedding gift, and a few books, and got this:  
The big picture looks like this: 
I’m much happier with it this way. Maybe sometime I can get a hat box that matches better too. What do you think of this arrangement? Any suggestions? I love getting help.  
Ok, design dilemma #2. This lamp is sitting on the sofa table in our dining room. 
Confession: I really don’t like this lamp. At all. It’s HUGE, and heavy, and really old. But, it belonged to Brian’s great-grandmother, so he says it’s not going anywhere. So I’d like to know, what would you do to make it look better? Any pictures or links you’d like to share for ideas? I’m open to any suggestions! 
Now it’s story time! So I decided I wanted to get a coffee table and a couch with my birthday money. Where can you find a coffee table or a couch for $75? Craig’s list! It’s the BEST. I have never been on it before, but after reading through Domestic Bliss’s tips, I had to check it out, and Ooh la la! I’m in love. I searched through pages of listings for coffee tables under $50, and get this: they weren’t all crappy college apartment tables! The moving sales were the best, but sometimes people were just getting new furniture and didn’t have room. I found tons of potential coffee tables, and created a Word document with the pictures and emailed it to Brian. He wasn’t as thrilled as I was with the $10 ones or the really unique ones, and he didn’t seem to share my love of shabby chic/French country style. It took us awhile, but we finally decided on a $30 old English style table. Gorgeous red-gold color, fancy carvings, and…two glass panels. I don’t like glass panels, because they’re a pain to clean, not to mention a safety hazard for our future children. But I compromised because of the price and it was pretty. 
In the description, it mentioned a “small chip” in the glass. It wasn’t no small chip; there was a chunk of glass missing! There was no setting something on top to hide it; it would have to be replaced. I calculated it mentally: 18″x18, thick, 1″ beveled edge, lightly tinted, and scalloped corners = expensive. We said no thanks and drove away, but the owner called us a few minutes later, offering to give it to us for $10. Brian told me he guessed the price of glass was $150, so I said no, but thanks again. The owner said she had no idea glass cost that much, but if we priced it out and found out it was less, we could still have it for $10. I called a glass company the next day, and the quote? $185, not including tax. So I went back to the computer and started over. But, it was good practice in saying no! I think I needed that. 
I finally narrowed it down to my top 6, and got an ok from Brian to call on the first one. I left a message and sent an email, and went to call the second one. It was gone! The beautiful black rustic French cottage table was sold. So I called my third choice, a white table with a shelf and two drawers. She was busy at the moment, so we set up a time for an hour later. Right after I got off the phone, my first choice called back. I was almost too excited to sit down and eat supper, but we ate fast and were out the door. The pictures didn’t do it justice! Actually, there were two pieces, the coffee table and a matching end table, with a pull out compartment and cup-holders. I called the white table lady back and canceled, and we took these home. 
Guess how much? Asking price: $50. Paid price: $40. I can’t believe he took $10 less. I actually offered that by accident, because I’d read the posting wrong online and thought it said they were $30, and so when Brian offered him $50 I interjected with $40. And we got them! Aren’t they perfect
Have you shopped on Craig’s list before? What’s the best thing you’ve found? If you decided to start today, there’s a few cedar chests out there that I’ve got my name on! Not officially, but I’ll be really disappointed if you buy them all up before I get one! 
  • Hey! For beneath the fireplace, I would maybe suggest a bigger size plant. (Just not a dinky one that you can barely see) I think it'd look really nice in one of the corners- off to the side. It would add some color and lively-ness. 🙂 If you're not a big plant person, then it wouldn't work so well. 😉

  • oooh decorating. I love decorating, especially decorating other people's homes. lol.

    For the fireplace: I think some color and texture would be really nice behind the butterfly. Since apartments don't allow for paint I would suggest buying a super cheap (i.e. dollar general or walmart) thin curtain rod and then either hang curtains fabric from the rod. I would place the rod at the very top of the wall above the fireplace and then make sure the fabric reached the top of the tile that goes around the fireplace. You can find cheap fabric at Joanna's fabric in the clearance or with their 40% off coupons, at hobby lobby, and a really cheap source of fabric is to look for old sheets or curtains as salvation army/goodwill.

    For the lamp: Is Brian opposed to getting a new lamp shade? A new shate would update the lamp alot. The base really is very classic looking. The shade is what is making it more dated. If Brian was willing the lamp would be beautiful with the base painted a matte white 🙂 But a new shade alone would make a big difference and wouldn't damage the lamp.

    Craigs lsit can be addictive. I try to limit my time on there to when I actually need something. lol I don't want my house to become filled with "good deals" lol I have to be careful about that 😀

  • Yes…well…I know nothing about decorating. I think the hatbox was cute. And I loved the coffee table/end table. 😀 The rest…well, you're better off without my opinion! 😀

  • The tables look great! Who knew you were a haggler, lol? I need to get to work on there and find a bed (minus the mattress because that would be gross) for our second bedroom.

  • I think that if you found a more modern shade for that lamp it would work wonders. My grandparents had lamps like that and they got white pleated shades which made them quite a bit more attractive.

    BTW – thanks for placing my button in your sidebar! Cool beans!

    xo Erin

  • Hm, I like the plant idea. I love plants, even though I tend to kill them. Not on purpose; they just don't last very long for me.

    I talked to Brian about the lampshade, and he's not opposed to a new one! But, they're expensive for such a big lamp! Any ideas for making a lampshade?

    I would paint it white, but I don't know if you can paint metal…

    I'm an accidental haggler, lol 🙂

    Hey, you're welcome Erin! Sorry that the background thingy shows through.

    There's a good will really close by! I will probably have more decorating stories after I visit it!

  • Hi!

    I agree, a new lampshade — maybe something dramatic and black with a gold interior, soft watt lightbulb…?

    Hope all is well — your blog is looking great and I've gone on to check the links you posted!

  • A plant for the fire place and a new lamp shade are perfect solutions. You can also spray paint the actual lamp… go into Home Depot and they will tell you what kind of paint works best with the lamp.

  • Ok, here's attempt 2 at posting on your blog…I wrote a really long post and apparently i didn't have an account to post comments or something, so it erased it all. 🙁 arg.
    sooooo! Lampshade: painting the base white is a good idea. Even if you just painted the bottom ring of the base, before it gets all curvy, maybe. I can't tell what color the rest of the base is, so idk how that would look. I'd say you should recover the lampshade instead of buy one, probably. They can be kinda expensive. So look at lampshades, and get ideas from ones you like…I don't know what the picture next to it looks like, but maybe a black and white lampshade would look good? I see you have black furniture. You could get some black and white toile or striped fabric and black bead trim and put it on yourself. The trim on mom's lampshades are just hot glued point in paying big bucks for already-hot glued-on-trim lampshades 😛
    For the fireplace: Color behind the butterfly would be nice. It would make it look less empty up there. 🙂 Also, do you have more black and white pictures you could put on the other side of mantel shelves? it would make it look much more organized and unified. How about a hearth rug for the fireplace? Plants are a good idea, fake ones if you don't think you can keep real ones alive. I'd probably say something exotic or modern. an example of modern: and exotic: . I bet you could find a modern looking planter on craig's list, and you could find cheaper plants to put in it at hobby lobby or somewhere.
    You could put your teal vase on your awesome new black coffee table! With an arrangement of other things…
    Ok, i think that's everything i had in my first post 😛 hope the ideas help 🙂 have fun decorating!

  • Have you thought of elephant grass for by the fireplace? You could get a huge vase and put some really tall fronds in it (they keep for a very long time once dried). That would give you a different texture and give some height. Maybe a red vase for a pop of color?

  • I really think I will go ask at Home Depot. I wonder if I could paint it silver?

    Evi, this is why I wanted you to comment. You have lots of good ideas :)You should go into design.

    I'm thinking black, or red, will be good for the lampshade. Adding bead trim is a good idea.

    I'll have to see what they have for plants at Hobby Lobby. The elephant grass is simple and elegant. A red vase would match nicely with my red dining room chairs too.

    Wait 'til you see what I found at Goodwill yesterday 🙂