Incorporating Freebies

When my husband and I got married we had both lived on our own for a few years so had accumulated a bunch of furniture and miscellaneous “stuff”. Most of is was either bedroom  furniture which is usually the only  thing you need to furnish when renting a room, or it was a hodge podge of random kitchen things passed on and collected from various sources.


When we got married and moved into our house we had a bed, a dresser, a table, and a desk. We weren’t quite sure how we were going to furnish a house but we soon found out that one of the biggest perks of being a newly wed is people love to give you free stuff! and its usually way better than the free stuff you had as a student!

Somehow we have furnished a full house having bought only our couch which was a Kijiji score. We love it. It’s super comfy and seats a lot of people.

It is awesome when people give you free stuff but sometimes it isn’t necessarily something you would have picked out for yourself. How do  you incorporate it?

I find that freebies (and thrift finds for that matter) fall into three categories:

A) its hideous or bad quality and you have no use for it.

At this point let the person who gave it to you know that you really appreciate their generosity but you really have no space for the gem they have bestowed on you. Be polite, be respectful and make sure you really convey your heartfelt gratitude at their thoughtfulness.

B) its really great quality and it is something you really need and it will fit right in.

Score! incorporate it, use it, love it, pass on your gratitude.

C) its really great quality, maybe an antique but its kind of old looking and doesn’t really fit your style.

I tend to latch onto these latter pieces even if I am not totally sure that I love them or even if I don’t really know how I am going to incorporate it. Often these are the pieces that end up pulling your home together and giving it unique character – especially when you are just starting out.

You have a few things working for you at this point, “vintage” is very “in” right now, setting and styling is everything, and a coat of paint can change anything.

This is a piece that we inherited that at first I wasn’t sure how it was going to fit into the overall style we were going for.

It is a solid and well crafted piece of furniture with many unique details that seemed a little dated at first, but when we moved it into the room with our other more contemporary accents and then styled it with a contemporary aesthetic it began to feel right at home.

We love that it is a unique piece and something that has history and reminds us of someone we love all while providing us a solid place to store our china!

I think the primary rule of thumb for incorporating a piece of furniture or decor that is from another era or style, especially if it is not one you are trying to achieve overall, is to make sure you use an element of the style you are going for, along with the piece that does not “fit.” By keeping your primary style elements consistent throughout your space you will create a cohesive environment. For instance if you are going for mid century modern but you have a Victorian chair you love style the table beside it with a funky glass lamp or vase or throw a cowhide or sheepskin pillow onto the chair.

One of the most dramatic ways to breath new life into an older piece is to paint it! there are so many neat examples I want to share BUT that is a topic for a new post.

What pieces have you inherited that you were able to incorporate into your home? I would love to hear about them and maybe even feature a few!



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