Buying inexpensive antiques

Antiques for Frugal Home Decorators

by Kathy Wilson

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When most people think of buying antiques to decorate their homes, they feel it is out of their financial reach. However, there are several ways you can utilize antique shops to add charm and history to your home, without spending a fortune. Here are some of my favorite "frugal" antique buys:

  • Antique postcards sell at antique shops for $1 or less and are a great source of nostalgia. You can use them to decoupage onto a tabletop or display them grouped in frames for more impact.
  • Antique keys are interesting and organic, and they are easy to hang as a collection in almost any room. Sometimes, you can buy a large ring of them for less than $20. You can place them in picture frames backed by a contrasting fabric and then group them together for an amazing wall grouping. Try painting all the frames matching black to add a sense of sophistication.
  • Teacups and saucers can be relatively inexpensive. I started a collection some time ago, and hang plates on the wall and teacups on shelving. You can find them from $5 and up at antique shops, and eBay is a great source of such items.
  • Old tools and wooden crates can be found for less than $20, and add immediate distinction to your nostalgic rooms. Place them in focal areas of the room to add importance, and they become as essential to the décor as the furniture. Also consider using these on porches or covered decks to make your outdoor rooms charming and creative.
  • Finally, keep your eye out for linens you can pick up for a song, especially if part of the piece is damaged. You can cut away the damaged area and remake an old quilt, bedspread or tablecloth into a wonderful throw pillow, slipcover, or lap blanket, preserving the history and uniqueness for future generations.

We bring antiques into our home to reconnect and speak of our past, and there is no reason that should cost us a fortune. So this weekend, check out a few of your local antique shops for treasures within your budget, and give your rooms something to talk about.

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of several popular home and garden websites. For hundreds of free do it yourself home and garden ideas, please visit her websites now at, and

Take the Next Step

  • Go to your local antiques store and see what you can find at a reasonable price.
  • Get creative! How can you use the pieces that you found in a decorative way?

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