Any interior decorator will tell you that the most appealing homes have an eclectic style. The furniture, accessories, textiles, and other décor come from different periods and styles. While nothing quite matches, it all comes together for a cohesive look in the end. Lucky for homeowners, that means that you don’t have to go to an expensive home décor or furniture store to decorate your home. And in fact, it may be better not to.
One Connecticut homeowner named Charlotte Smith recently purchased a historic home that needed a lot of updating and she decorated entirely with thrift shop finds. Here are a few tips that she says will allow you to decorate your home without spending much money.
Dress the part
When going to thrift shops or flea markets, you want to leave the designer handbag at home. That doesn’t mean you have to look shabby. Just don’t wear your finest and fanciest clothing. You’re much more likely to get shop owners or vendors to come down on prices if you don’t look like someone with lots of money.
Think outside the box
The things you come across at thrift stores can often be repurposed. Charlotte was purchased a woven basket and fashioned it into a light fixture. She used the insides of an old piano to create artwork which now hangs in her home. As you look at items and you come across something that looks cool, don’t worry so much about their intended purpose of the item but think about what it can become. The good thing about purchasing décor items through thrift shops is that if you end up not liking how it looks in your home, you haven’t wasted much money so feel free to be creative and take risks.
Perhaps you’re on the hunt for items of a particular color that will go perfect in a certain room in your home. Don’t let the wrong color stop you from making a purchase. In fact, train yourself to ignore color completely when shopping at flea markets and thrift stores. Spray paint is cheap and you can make any item the color you need it to be.
Know the difference between easy fixes and expensive projects
Some of the things you come across will be broken, scratched, or faded but otherwise perfect for your home. If you’re trying to save money then don’t waste your time with anything that you can’t fix yourself. If the upholstery is torn but you know how to reupholster, buy it and fix it. If the leg wobbles and needs the work of a professional carpenter to make it functional, don’t buy it.
What about things you can’t find at a second-hand store?
Of course, there may be a few things you won’t want to purchase second-hand such as a mattress or sofa. Likewise, an older home may need upgrades that you can’t buy in a shop. You can still save money by waiting for sales and being patient until you find the right deal. One last consideration when decorating an older home, don’t spend a fortune trying to bring the home entirely into the 21st century. Some of the older aspects of a home are what give it its charm. Instead of replacing a baseboard heater system with a more modern central heating and air system, for instance, you can purchase baseboard heater covers to update the look while saving a lot of money.
Measure the height from the floor to the top of the metal wall plate.
Follow our guide for baseboard heater cover measurement:
Any baseboard larger than 7 3/8" (188 mm) will be compatible with our standard cover.
Any measurement greater than 9 3/8" (238 mm) will fit our tall cover.
Measure from the bottom of the finned tube heating element to the top of the metal wall plate,
A measurement of 5 1/2" to 6 3/4" (140 mm – 172 mm) will fit our standard cover.
A measurement of 7 1/2" to 8 3/4" (191 mm – 222 mm) will fit our tall cover.
Measure the distance from the wall or the metal wall plate attached to the wall, to the outside of the finned tube heating element.
Any measurement of less than 3 1/8" (76 mm) inches from the wall will fit our
Any measurement of less than 3 1/8" (76 mm) inches from the wall will fit our tall cover.
EZ Snap™ Wall Widgets are used when your old or existing wall back plate has been removed or if you have to hang your new cover 1 inch or higher to bring them up to a height that will fit our installation guidelines. Just measure your overall desired height, subtract 1", drill a hole, preferably in a stud and attach it to the wall with the included screw.
EZ Snap™ Floor Fidgets easily raise your new covers ¾ inch to compensate for any ¾ inch floor (wood, tile, or other) that has been installed any time since your baseboard heater was originally installed. May be used for any reason when the overall height has been shortened and the total height is less than 7-½ inches for standard height or 9-½ inches for the TALL height EZ Snap™ BaseBoard Covers. Just use the self-tapping screws to secure them to the top of your existing wallplate.
EZ Snap™ Wall Contraptions are used when your wall back plate has been completely removed. EZ Snap™ Wall Contraptions receives your EZ Snap™ BaseBoard Cover and keeps your aluminum fin tube from sagging. These completely replace your wall back plate. To install, slide up from the bottom and make sure the top is at your desired height. Screw to the wall, then bend the front finger up to hold the fin tube in place.
Measure from wall to wall and subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 2 flush to wall end caps.
Measure the overall length of the existing unit with ends attached then subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 2 Closed or Open-end caps.
Measure from the corner to the end of the unit with ends attached then subtract ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) The endcaps can be pulled or slid ½ inch outward on either end to fit your existing length requirements. Choose 1 Closed or Open-end & 1 flush to wall end cap.
Measure the left side from corner A to corner B (see diagram). Then subtract 3 inches for the 90 degree inside corner, then subtract another ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) Repeat for the right side if also wall to wall. You need to subtract a total of 3½ inches from each side that is wall to wall. Choose your end caps.
Measure the left side from the corner of the wall to the end of the unit with ends caps. Then subtract 3 inches for the 90 degree inside corner, then subtract another ½ inch (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.) Repeat for the right side. You need to subtract a total of 3½ inches from both left and right sides. Choose your end caps.
L-Shaped outside radiators ending in the middle of the wall:
Measure from outside corner of the wall A to the end of the radiator unit with end caps attached B, then subtract ½" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Measure from outside corner of the wall to the corner of the wall, then subtract 1/2" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Left leg - measure from the corner out to the end of the radiator subtract 3" for the corner and ½ (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.)
Center leg - measure from corner to corner and subtract 3" for each corner a total of 6"
Right leg - measure from the corner out to the end of the radiator subtract 3" for the corner and ½" (to allow for wiggle room when installing your new covers.).
We recommend that you order covers a little longer than normal and cut them on site, as there are many opportunities for mistakes in measuring and installation. By cutting on site you can fit and cut to fit. The covers can be cut with a good quality jigsaw and a fine metal cutting blade.
Now that you’ve learned how to measure baseboard heaters,
you’re ready to order.