Flip #2

Staging On a Budget

When you’re flipping a house, the majority (or all) of the budget goes to the actual renovation; however, staging a house is essential to help a house sell quickly. My rule-of-thumb when staging is to use what I have on hand first, and, if I have to buy something, it must be thrifted and extraordinarily cheap. As I have started staging Bachelorette Pad #2, I have stumbled on a few great thrifty items and reinvented some items I currently have. For example, I knew I wanted to accent with some cool furniture pieces in the master bedroom. In particular, I wanted to find some cool end tables. Luckily, I found two unique ones that were in AWFUL condition through Craig’s List and another online yard sale site.

ImageTable #1 was an ugly black table that had some great, modern lines. Also, there had been some significant water damage to the top of the table. None of that scared me because it’s amazing what a coat or two of paint can do to something…especially since the table was only $5. I began by heavily sanding the table. I sanded it two or three times and then filled in the damage with wood puddy. Image

Instead of using my Graco paint sprayer, I ended up painting this entire thing by hand…and I hate painting by hand. It took three coats and four coats on the top. I had some leftover white paint that I used, so my total out-of-pocket expense was $5.


It took several months before I found just-the-right piece for the other side of the bed. I like the charming quality of mismatched furniture. I knew I wanted the other end table to be the same color and similar in height, but I wasn’t concerned if it was identical. Luckily, I stumbled on the most awesome mid-century end table for $10.


Sadly, this awesome piece had been badly mistreated. There were several Disney stickers on the drawers. The drawers weren’t even in the right spot. There were also some random stains (wax?), but it was all solid wood. So I loved it. Again, I used the same leftover paint from the other end table. So the total out-of-pocket expense was $10.


After sanding (and skipping the priming because I was lazy), I painted three or four coats. Luckily, I used my paint sprayer, so I was a lot happier during the makeover process. I love the clean lines, especially how they mimic the clean lines in the other end table.


So for a total of $15, I scored two awesome end tables for the master bedroom. I always keep leftover paint in my garage, so I avoid the extra expense of paint. The bedroom wasn’t the only room needing a cool piece of furniture for staging though. In the entryway, I wanted to find a sofa table, buffet, or something similar. Even though I had the cabinet built-ins added, I wanted to add something to make the space feel welcoming instead of the big blank wall between the two closets. Again, I got lucky and found a $30 sofa table that was dated and in rough shape.


Again, I had leftover enamel paint and leftover primer. I painted a quick coat of primer, and then I used my sprayer to paint three coats. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and started raining mid-third coat, so I actually had to sand and apply a fourth coat. Even with the headache, it turned out great.


When staging, most professionals will tell you to avoid incorporating personal items. Well, I say screw that. I decided to turn this little table into a travel trinkets display. I have lots of cool momentos from my travels, and I wanted to display those in a unique way. I already had a large frame ($2 from a thrift shop), and I created a way to display some of my postcards in that frame. Using thumb tacks and some old twine, I added four lines across the frame. I then used some old clothespins to display my postcards. I plan to use this to display Christmas cards during the holidays. In my $5 apothecary jars (another thrift store), I added Colombian coffee beans (from Walmart, so not the real deal) and clam shells I collected during my trip to Sanibel Island.


The large basket was a $1 at a thrift store, and I’ve had it for quite awhile. Even though it’s technically not a travel trinket, I think it looks foreign. I also collected several of my books about the world and travel. I LOVE to used books in staging. Even the candle in the hurricane jar is from a travel to Little Rock. My college roommate’s mother-in-law works for an adult development center, and they create candles and sell them. It smells amazing.


But my FAVORITE item on the travel trinket table is the binoculars. I love thrifted items with a cool story. My parents’ neighbor is moving from her home after 20 years. Prior to that, she was born and lived in England. As part of her move, she was throwing away a lot of stuff. I saw her walking these binoculars (in their original case) out to the trash, and I couldn’t intervene fast enough. She said I could have them for free. Well, I did some research when I got home, and these binoculars have a cool history. They are Vietnam era, and they are in mint condition…aaaaand they are listed on eBay for $200. I was just a little giddy about this thrifty find.

My kitchen has a built-in desk which I love. Unfortunately, I didn’t even remotely have a chair that I could paint or use in that space. I had been looking at Target, thrift stores, yard sales, or wherever for just-the-right chair. It took several months, but I finally found the most perfect piece. I purchased it from a guy that lives in the historic district of one of the big cities around here.


The chair is an antique Murphy chair. It was distressed from years of wear, but it’s in excellent shape. It also matches the stain of the cabinets quite well. It also sells on eBay for $200. I paid $15.

Staging should highlight a house’s feature (definitely not distract), but I think it should still reflect your style (just a toned-down version!). I don’t think, though, that you have to hire a professional stager or spend hundreds/thousands of dollars on furniture or decor. If you must purchase something, try to find something thrifted and “ugly.” Look for the potential…especially if you are only buying it for staging and have no plans to keep it. Thrifted makeovers are my favorite anyway!


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