MR CAMERON SAID this morning on BBC breakfast that it will be a “difficult year” and “we inherited a big problem so we have to deal with it”. Easily said, not so easily done. It seems all these cuts made by the government are firing from the left, right and centre and shaving our savings down. We’re told to “SPEND MORE” to help us get out of the deficit, but I personally will be ignoring that advice and looking after each penny. I’m not alone either, many of us interior design lovers are mending, restoring and re-vamping our homes without spending a fortune.
Make-do and mend like we used to0
The throw-away culture of the past decade is grinding to a holt as the reality of the cut backs has already hit many households and we revert back to the make-do and mend days of our grandparents. Ebay and auction houses are the perfect places to find authentic bargains in great condition which rival the furniture in many high street stores. This way of house shopping has become more popular as we tighten our purse strings, but also in keeping with the increasing like for heritage and country design. Click here to look at this beautiful restored French armoire, painted in Farrow & Ball grey and starting at £75!
Pop into your local
My local auction house in Nottingham has a magnificent antique section filled with delights from the last century, ready to be given some tlc and supports the point I’m trying to make! Chic designer Cath Kidston filled her York store with battered and rugged wardrobes, cabinets and tables which simply had a lick of paint and her signature rose pattern slapped on the front. But were selling for hundreds of pounds! It’s crazy if you think you have to fork out nearly a thousand pounds for a wardrobe which you could easily find in your local auction house. Realistically, this is probably where the interior designers for Cath Kidston found they’re stuff.
I’m not the first to prefer a second-hand dresser over a shiny new one, it’s the thrill of bidding and winning that excites many. These days it’s hard to find good quality solid furniture without paying through the nose, so the auction house or computer screen is the perfect opportunity. I’m an avid fan of waste-not-want-not and like many others I love the thrill of a bargain, I bought my chic folding table and chairs from Ebay for £50 and narrowly missed out on a solid oak studded armoire which went for £50.99! I was gutted to say the least.
Do your research beforehand
Mind you, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and then find you have a 6ft by 4ft 1920’s wardrobe sat in your garage with no clue how turn it into a masterpiece. Well, there are some vital steps you must take before jumping on the auction bandwagon.
1. Firstly, think about means of transport, are you lucky enough to have a van and four strong sons to do the lifting? or will you need to hire a courier? This refers to Ebay especially as many sellers make it clear that they will not ship and you must collect the item, it’s worth weighing up which method is cheaper to meet your needs. I find it very frustrating living on my own and having to arrange a courier to do the delivering and lifting, although sometimes it works out cheaper than hiring a van.
2. Do you know what you’ve just bought? Have a look at the item closely to check for possible damage, wood worm, defects, broken hinges ect. What you may think is a bargain could become a costly purchase.
3. Do you actually know what you’re doing? I refer to interior design blogs, magazines like Homes & Antiques, my friends in the industry, books and YouTube tutorials of how to restore furniture. Not everybody knows the steps to a fantastic looking side cabinet with silver trimmings and a french patterned interior.
Do your research first to find out the best way of restoring a particular piece of furniture and the most cost-effective way of doing it. I find a lot of auctions on Ebay tend to restored in the home and sold for a profit, so if you discover a hidden talent you can always make a little return.
The bottom line is difficulties are made to be overcome, so don’t let the negativity of the press and cut backs dampen your creative spirits. Look at the useful links page for websites and magazine to help you.