Thrift stores have been a godsend, and I've haunted every single one in the local area, to the point that I recognize the workers and they recognize me. I am not even embarrassed about this.
One thing that's really helped me as I've shopped in these stores is my ability to envision improvements. So when I see something on the shelf at Goodwill, it might be really ugly, or broken, or old-fashioned, but I try to figure out how to make it into something I can use and display in my home.
Case in point:
I bought this old lamp for $5.99 after only one look at it. It was super-ugly, and it was caked in dust, and it had an old-timey plug on it, the kind that doesn't have one metal thingy that's bigger than the other (try not to be intimidated by my technical language).
So I brought it home and looked at it for a while and tried to figure out what, exactly, I was going to do with it. Well, the first thing I did with it was take it all apart, because that is my MO, even if sometimes it ends with me having to take my car to a mechanic so he can put the inside of the driver's side door back on. Hypothetically speaking.
Moving on. I took the lamp apart and took all the pieces outside, where I spray-painted the metal parts and the glass part
and the patio. I used Oil-rubbed Bronze on the metal and Blue Ocean Breeze on the glass. Then I thought, "Lemme see if I like how it looks if I sand a little of the blue off, so it looks all shabby and whatnot." It turns out that I don't like that look at all. AT. ALL. So I had to sand the glass part and remove all the paint, and then repaint it. Way to go, genius.
I bought a lamp kit at Home Depot and
actually read the directions wired the whole lamp without electrocuting myself--though I did wear rubber-soled shoes, just to be safe. It totally works, AND I am still alive to boot! Miracles!
The shade came from another lamp that I bought at a different thrift store. It was pretty yellowed with age, though, so I had to rehab it. And by "rehab it," I definitely mean "bleach the daylights out of it." That shade sat in my bathtub for a week, and the tub itself ran yellow with years of accumulated yuck. The trim around the bottom was originally gold; now it's silver. I don't play when I bleach stuff.
My success with this lamp has turned me into a spray-painting fool! I spray-paint everything. EVERYTHING!! In fact, some weekend I'm not going to have anything to spray-paint, and my neighbors are going to think I've died; that's how much I do it.
Little by little, I'm putting things in order. Thrift shop finds are all OVER this house, and I plan to post more of my DIY home improvements eventually.
When the spray-paint dries.