This mother’s designer background certainly came in handy for their 11-room house, but hardly anything in it was purchased new. Instead, she had a knack for finding bargains at tag sales (i.e., garage, yard and estate sales), turning these into stunning and very useful household items.
Old Door, New Cabinet
One bargain that you might find at an estate sale are old windows and doors. The homeowner may have replaced the original windows and doors with energy-efficient ones, leaving the old ones in the garage, shed or attic.
With an estate sale, the heirs may be glad if you simply took these off of their hands, knowing that few people would want them for their current homes. Even if a cost were involved, you probably could get each piece for a few dollars.
An old window makes the perfect front for an antique looking cabinet. Keep the panes and build a cabinet around it. Include display shelves for showcasing photos, books and miscellaneous items and have these occupying the top half of the cabinet, leaving the bottom half to store games and such. Frost the bottom glass panes if you wish to obscure what is inside.
Doll Bed, Pet Bed
Your cat or small dog would love to have a place to sleep. You also would love to keep your pet off of your furniture to occupy his own little slice of heaven.
The next time you come across a doll bed, grab it. Especially if it is sturdy and made from wood. Cover the plush little mattresses with your favorite fabric design and soon your pet will take up residence where you want him to stay.
Baskets, Baskets Everywhere
You like baskets, but you can’t see yourself paying $75 for a wired new one at the import store. Well, most any oversized bowl, bucket, crate or even a mailbox can be turned into a basket.
The easier ones to repurpose are those containers that are open at the top and have firm sides. A wire basket can be turned into a planter by lining it with Supamoss liner and filled with dirt. The liner allows drainage while retaining moisture, to provide an ideal environment for growing plants.
An old mailbox can be cleaned off, painted and brought inside. Place it in a strategic area of the home and use it to hold postal mail, documents and notes that people in your house should see. When a new note is placed inside, raise the red flag to get everyone’s attention.
If you come across Easter baskets at a tag sale, you can line these and fill them with plants. Strategically place these in the garden, nestling them here and there for visual interest.
Just Cover This
Visit any estate sale and you may find a beautiful selection of dining room table coverings. These days few people use dining rooms, but table clothes can be repurposed.
Find a pattern that catches your eye and use it to recover pillows, cover an ottoman or use as a slip cover in the family room. You can even add on lined border and sew or clip to curtain rings. Your guests will marvel at the expensive pattern covering the window.
Trash to Treasure
Other trash to treasure ideas include taking old cheese graters and turning those into lamps. Take an old truck’s tailgate and use it as a bed’s headboard. And window shutters can be turned into a magazine rack by removing every other slat, painted, and hung from a wall.
Clearly, the tag sale possibilities are boundless — and you don’t have to be a home designer to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.