Decorating with amateur art and second-hand finds

I have goals for my home. I want it to be cozy and cheerful for my family, and amiable and restful for guests. I love color, art, and uncluttered design. The challenge is that I do not have money to spend on decor or energy for DIY projects.

Here’s what I do have: a continuous stream of children’s art, ample hand-me-down furniture, lots of photos, and many second-hand stores nearby. These supplies have proven more than sufficient.IMG_3527

This is an old window frame Rick found by the side of the road. I asked my kids to write or draw something that evoked Easter and Spring to them. I particularly love that my daughter wrote Restoration. The photos are ones I snapped last Spring on my point-and-shoot camera.

I try to change my photos and my kids’ art pieces when the season changes. Usually, I stick to blues and reds in my decor, but this Spring I felt like using pinks and oranges, too.



The only thing in this photo that was bought new is the globe. The china cabinet was my great-grandparents’. I found the fake flowers at our local Salvation Army, as well as the red vase. A friend brought Rick the beer growler from a local brewery–underneath the image of the earth, it says Think globally, drink locally. Another friend gave me the cherry wine. The books are part of our family collection, and I borrowed the little piggy bank from my daughter.

My husband has a very low tolerance for fake flowers, fake fruit, and throw pillows. I have to tread carefully with them. So, exerting admirable self-control, I buy only the prettiest fake flowers from my Salvation Army. How do you think I did with the ones above?


I believe that our home should reflect who we are. Right now, we are playful, colorful, quirky, and creative. Hence the cute little pig in the photo above and the Lego decor in this one. I bought both the star-shaped candle holder and the black frame at Salvation Army. I change the Lego colors with the seasons. To inaugurate Spring, I added the pink ones, and framed this photo I took of our crab apple tree.

IMG_3558This was my centerpiece for Easter lunch. The flowers are from Trader Joe’s; my friend, Melodie arranged them. The boot vase was gold when I found it at a consignment shop. I simply spray painted it white, and voila! Spray painting is the extent of my DIY ambitions.


This is a vignette I assembled for Easter. (That’s what decorators call them.) The crystal vase was a wedding gift; the roses came from Trader Joe’s. I found the old-fashioned bicycle second hand. My seven year old made the sun drawing in art class. A good matte and a simple frame is all you need to make kid’s art look great.  I would rather go to the dentist than go to Pinterest, so I just fiddle with things until I like how it looks.

I like our home to express and celebrate who we are. I want it to say to those who step inside, Come on in. Take a load off. Second hand treasures, bright flowers, and my kids’ art help it do this. I add a wink here with a cute pig and a wink there with decorative Legos.

The Nester says It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I would add that it doesn’t have to be professional to be beautiful.

©Laura Goetsch and Thinking about Such Things, 2016


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