True Story:
A friend once off-loaded the world’s ugliest (octagonal!! particle-board!!) end table on me, when he fled the trailer park of his bachelor days. So I painted it pink with a marble-look faux finish (truly, easier to do than you might think) and decoupaged the top with calendar cut-outs of the most outrageous fat-cheeked Victorian cupids. It was supposed to be temporary but… ten years on, it’s still here, though now moved out to the more casual screened porch.

Unless you luck into the world’s amazing entry-level job right out of school, or you were born into money, setting up a first home in style can be pricey. Home decor with élan doesn’t need to break the bank account, however.

Devant le miroirThe key to pulling off the recycled look is bold imagination. Think artist’s studio on the Left Bank. Think Victorian bordello. Think funky, crazy, one-of-a-kind Eccentric Style… and go for it!

Save your money for a really good mattress and box spring, and some high-quality cookware. All the other home furnishings can be gathered up here and there, given a temporary home, and replaced piece by piece as you find the perfect item.

Yard sales and thrift stores are the natural source of Eccentric Style. But never mind hoping for elegant antiques, or even promising collectibles — the serious-cash collectors will swoop in at dawn and scoop them up ahead of you.

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Instead, seek out the blatantly Retro, or solid-and-plain furniture that is just old enough to be discarded by a more affluent household but still has plenty of life in it yet.

Trim your mother’s old lampshade with sequins. Hide a hideous red plaid couch under a woven Indian bedspread in rich subtle colours — and swoop a second bedspread or huge silk scarf across a Venetian blinds for a luxurious window treatment with personality. Be fearless!

When you go for Eccentric Style, the only limits are your own amazing imagination — and the courage to express it.

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