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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cheap Chic for Your Home: Burlap and Indian Print Spreads

Aside from de-cluttering, which is free, are there any home decor items that are truly frugal? I've been giving this some thought and there don't seem to be many candidates.

Years ago, in a small town in Michigan, the town librarian bragged about her chair that cost a quarter. Further questioning uncovered the fact that she spent $250.00 on fabric and labor for reupholstery. This was in 1986.

A few years ago, one of the rich ladies in my town insisted that her couch only cost $250.00 to reupholster. After a bit, I figured out that this was exclusive of fabric.

In other words, I remain skeptical. Often, what you save in money, you spend in time, which is why antique dealers often have so much neat stuff: they spend all their time shopping.

So here are my candidates.

1. Burlap: This costs only a few dollars a yard. i first saw burlap curtains at a fancy shop in my town. It is still going strong and looks amazingly like linen (to me).

2. Indian print Bedspreads. These are still handblocked. Strangely, the French provencal fabric we all swoon over was originally made as a cheaper copy of the pricy Indian imports. Of course, this was over 100 years ago.

Two questions: can you think of anything else that would qualify?

And also: where can you buy Indian print spreads nowadays? They used to be available on every street corner, but no more.


Duchesse said...

Indian bedspreads:

The true bargains are things picked up from the trash, but they often need some tlc like a new lamp socket or re-stuffing.

Shelley said...

Maybe you could go for Chinese print instead? Chinoiserie might come back... Just a thought.

Shelley said...

Maybe you could go for Chinese print instead? Chinoiserie might come back... Just a thought.

Shelley said... said I didn't do the word verification right, but printed my comment anyhow...

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Thanks...still wish I could see in person, since colors are so iffy on screens. But I may have to take my chances.

@Shelley--Love Chinoiserie--actually, I love almost everything--but fabrics are expensive. Indian bedspreads are cheeeeeep.

Anonymous said...

I have occasionally seen some on clearance at the campus bookstore for something on the order of $10 (maybe $5, maybe $20), which makes me think the two obvious places are 1) student districts and 2) ethnic districts/ grocery stores. But since these are obvious to me, you have probably looked there.

I also have one that I think my sister got on sale for a similar price, so it might be worth checking clearance prices at home-goods type places even when regularly things like that are often overpriced (World Market, BB&B, Crate & Barrel, Ross). Another thought is if you occasionally find interesting printed sheets or shower curtains you could use them in similar manner.

Duchesse said...

6e33 (if I may call him or her that) is right; I saw some gorgeous block print quilted bedspreads on sale at Winners (our BB&B) for $25. But that's a rare score.

Also try eBay, there are numerous vendors selling Indian drygoods.

Anonymous said...

Yes, call me 6e33, Duchesse, or call me MSH if for some crazy reason you remember to. AOL just hates me and I can't get it to stop doing the 6e33 thing. (8

It just occurred to me that sometimes there is interesting fabric in the weird overstock ends in the "back" at JoAnn's. A lot of crap back there but sometimes some gems too, even better if you catch sale/coupon. Just nowhere totally reliable to find stuff like that. A matter of keeping your eyes open. I have not found thrift/second-hand shops to be reliable for yard goods or sheets, tablecloths, etc.: most people wear that stuff out, unlike anything you might expect students to pitch at the end of the year.

sallymandy said...

I think you put your finger on the truly frugal decorating secret when you identified textiles.

Sort of in the same vein as burlap, I've dyed a lot of muslin over the years for curtains. "Curtains" to me means a looong piece of dyed muslin draped artfully along the top of a curtain rod. More window treatment than curtain, really.

I've also used painters' dropcloths this way.

Fabric dye would have to be one of my favorite cheap chic ingredients.

I love the blog "Thrifty Decor Chick" for ideas like these.