Don’t worry too much if a piece is in disrepair
If I see something that is free or cheap but in need of some attention, I take it anyway – most pieces can be given a new lease of life with paint or new upholstery. If something is really beyond repair, put it in the garden and think up a new creative use. An old oil can, for example, can make a great planter.
Look out for unusual old trimmings
These days it’s harder to find good supplies in charity shops, as people are getting wise to using vintage pieces. Keep your eyes open when travelling abroad – I find Germany is a great hunting ground.
Don’t try too hard to find things, just keep your eyes open
Haunt car boot sales, and look around when you’re driving or walking along the road. I’ve found some of my most treasured pieces when they have been sitting on the pavement, including a bookshelf with “Take Me” written on it!
Old curtains are fantastic bargains...
... either for drapes or to cut up and use for new cushion or seat covers. I like to use vintage textiles and trimmings to create hand-made gifts for my friends.
Create a collection
If you gradually accumulate unusual finds – from lace doilies to antique hooks – it’s up to you to make your treasures into a decorative collection. It could be a grouping of similarly coloured objects – green vases, knick knacks, tiles and a postcard for example – or things that have a similar subject matter – a picture of a butterfly, butterfly hairclips, butterfly lights. Learn to frame. Arranging multiple objects in a second-hand frame is a great way to draw a collection together.
Cut down an old jumper to make cushions, or repaint basic pieces to create new furniture. My television stand, for example, is an old shipping crate.