Crafting on the Cheap
Once you've got your major pieces where you want them, it's time to accent. You can revitalize -- or even completely reinvent -- second-hand purchases with a few simple tools and supplies. Not every accent or piece of furniture needs to be a full-on art project, so if you're worried about scale or supply cost, start small.
Once you have a piece out for a while -- a recovered cushion, perhaps, or a new lampshade -- and haven't had any visitors jump down your throat about your homemaking skills, your ambition and confidence will grow.
Fabric is your friend. For accent pieces like those mentioned above, you're looking at scraps and remnants -- a single cushion-cover could set you back less than $5 and change the whole vibe of a room -- and work that entails nothing more exhausting than a needle and thread or hot-glue gun. The internet is full of crafty blogs that can provide tips and inspiration.
For more advanced projects, remember that everything's new to somebody. By refurbishing and repurposing second-hand or thrifty purchases, you can create one-of-a-kind objects that everyone will love. The "shabby chic" trend was a long time ago, but some of us still think that's the only option: It's not. Don't underestimate the power of your own ingenuity.