Decorating on the Cheap

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Why pay full price, when you can find something comparable – or even better – for less? If you are willing to repurpose or reuse something pre-owned, you can find amazing deals. I have saved myself from spending thousands of dollars, and saved items from taking up space in landfills. How do I do it? From one Oak Parker to another, here is the scoop on saving money on home décor.

CraigsList, MomMail, and garage/yard/estate sales are all ways to shop local and simultaneously help your neighbors. Oak Parkers just like you are happy to purge their homes, passing on everything from candlesticks to coffee tables. Sometimes you can even find fantastic stuff for free! Lucky for you, I work most Saturdays, so I cannot monopolize the garage and yard sale scenes.

Be sure to stop by Divine Consign on Oak Park Avenue. It is a great way to buy upscale designer furniture that is too pretty to pass up and also guilt-free. While you are in SouthTown, take a walk over to the Animal Care League’s 2nd Chance Shop (808 Harrison). It is no “flea market,” but there are some good décor finds there every time I pop in for a visit.

Show off your penny-pinching prowess at the Economy Shop on South Boulevard on select Thursdays and Saturdays. Do not be surprised if the place is jam-packed with your neighbors – this awesome source for bargains is no secret to Oak Parkers. Then tromp over to the Brown Elephant in the Arts District to scoop up a vintage trunk, a quirky frame, or colorful vase. Or, save some money at Oak Park’s own Salvation Army on Roosevelt Road. Though it is a national chain, the bargains are local. It is a great place to find your next sofa, table, or bookshelf.

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If you are willing to venture outside of the OP, there are a few nearby places that I dig.

1)      I have long adored the Forest Park Emporium. It is mostly antiques and vintage items, for the shopper who craves unique.

2)      New to You Resale in Broadview has a huge selection of décor items. I just saw an incredible vintage marble top umbrella stand there and it took all my willpower not to buy it. You are welcome, future umbrella stand owner.

3)      Support another local business at Twice Again Resale in Maywood. It is a small enterprise, but well worth the trip. I eyeballed the coolest retro bar there. It would be perfect for a mid-century modern apartment in Oak Park!

4)      There is a Goodwill store just down the road on Harlem Avenue in North Riverside. While it is a bit small compared to other thrift stores, I have had great success there. I found my bathroom shelving, fancy dishes, and curtains at that location!

One can always consider some dumpster diving, but I would not recommend it if I were you. I have migrated most of my currency-free searches to FreeCycle.org. Listings online are less impacted by weather and more likely to be in good enough condition to bring into my Oak Park home.

Whether it is clicking a Groupon deal or perusing the local thrifting options, I have become a professional bargain hunter. I may not be qualified for “Extreme Couponing”, but I never settle for paying full price, and neither should you! With a little shopping and a bit of patience, your home can look high class without the high cost.

By Meridian Herman Lupu