I have a super-human sixth sense…

…the ability to sniff out a fabulously thrifty furniture find with great DIY potential!

I attribute my thrifty ways to my incredible parents who taught me that living luxe has nothing to do with how much money you have, but rather how creative you can be with your budget.

I remember spending many weekends as a child being dragged around to flea markets, garage sales and the “curbside boutique”… well before upcycling and shopping in the second-hand economy was cool.  They always had an eye for stylish pieces and an imaginative way of reinventing and repurposing them.  Their home tactfully struck a unique high/low balance, and ultimately, every piece told a story… even if that story was how they only paid five bucks for it!

My style and design philosophy has definitely been influenced by their stealthy luxe-for-less approach.

I LOVE the art of the find, and nothing makes me giddier than scooping up a fab vintage or pre-loved bargain that’s oozing with makeover potential!   So, as I’ve been working on my #breakevenchallenge space, my frugalista spidey senses have been extra tingly!

For those who aren’t up to speed on my challenge, check out my last post to see how I earned $1,270.00 in one month to put towards a room re-design by selling the contents of my “stuff room” on Kijiji.  That amount is just above the annual Canadian national earnings average of $1,037 made by those selling gently-used items in the second hand-economy.

So with cash in hand, it was time to start shopping for items to complete my space!

I’ve spent the past few weeks pursing the pages of Kijiji in search of amazingly unique items that will fit my budget and design plan, and my approach is much more time efficient and fruitful than the bargain hunting days of my parents!  Gone are the days of waking up at the crack-of-crazy to strap on a fanny pack and schlep to a local garage sale.  NOW, I shop for all of my DIY gems online anytime (and often in my pajamas) using the Kijiji app .  Let’s just say that when I showed the app to my Mom… well… Mind. Blown.

The app has made it quick and easy to connect with sellers, and I’ve met some amazing people in the process!  I purchased a set of vintage drawer pulls from a woman who is a leading product designer, I scored artwork from a former gallery curator, and I even inquired about buying a few items from someone who ended up being another Cityline design expert!  It truly is a stylishly small world!

Here are my tips to help you unearth your perfect #KijijiFind

Get Inspired

Before I began my online shopping expedition, I created a room layout and inspiration board to help me determine the overall look of the space.  It gave me a visual shopping list to start my online search and helped me to look for items based on their shape and size rather than their colour and finish… because those can easily be changed with a little DIY muscle!  I knew that I wanted to include a tallboy dresser in my #breakevenchallenge room for extra storage of guest linens and office supplies, and fell head over heels for this inspiration image of a sleek smokey teal beauty.

Green dresser

When I found this unique piece on Kijiji…


…it definitely didn’t look like the inspo image, but it was full of character and I knew that a fresh coat of paint and new hardware, I could make it look like a million bucks.  Especially for the frugal $30 price tag… say what?!?! A total savings of over $300 if bought new.

If you read my Instagram post last week about my great colour debate, you know that I was second guessing my original plan to paint it a sophisticated teal green and instead flirted with the idea of coating it in coral… and here’s a sneak peek of my final choice… Tidal Pond for the WIN!


Set your location perimeter

Whether you want to shop your neighbourhood or turn your treasure hunt into a day trip, I love that you can refine your online Kijiji search to be as narrow or broad as you want.  I have literally found some of the most amazing finds within walking distance of my house, and in the instance of this chair…

chair before

…my family and I were up for an end of summer road trip adventure which is why I decided to go beyond our ‘community borders’ to look for a great #KijijiFind.  I spotted this gorgeous gal for sale about an hour from our home in Niagara Falls, and aside from the pretty shape, it was the $30 price tag that caught my eye!  To buy something this full of character brand new would likely cost several hundred dollars, so not only did I snag a great deal, but my family and I had a great day of sightseeing to boot!

Refine your search

Since there is an endless sea of pre-loved goodies for sale online, it helps to narrow down the options by using keywords.  As with the chair above, just searching “chair” returned a ton of results, but when I started to focus my search with specific words (ie. “Unique Vintage Wood Armchair”) I was able to target options that were exactly what I was looking for.  On the flip side, I have an affection for all things brass, so a generic search of “Brass” garnered some unbelievably awesome items that I never knew I needed, but had to have!

View other items from the same seller

I discovered this little trick while recently searching for a lamp… I found a brass lamp (obvi) that I loved, but it was pictured in a stunning living room surrounded by other gorgeousness, so I viewed the other items that the seller had available for sale and some of those other items were posted too!  I’ve found that if you like the style of one item, chances are the seller has more items in that same style for sale.  Plus, if you’re meeting to pick-up one item, why not walk away with an armful of eye candy!


That dresser…

I can’t keep this transformation under wraps any longer!

What do you think…???


I decided to go with my gut and I’m so glad I did!

Here’s the total cost breakdown of this DIY makeover…

Dresser: $30

Prep and paint materials: $55

Vintage 1950’s hardware (also found on Kijiji 😉 ): $30

Total Cost: $115

Now, THAT is a fabulously thrifty #KijijiFind transformation…and a HUGE cost savings of several hundred dollars in lieu of buying new!  Cha-ching!

I’ll be sharing more sneak peeks of my DIY makeovers next week AND the countdown to the room reveal is on, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, what’s been your all-time fave frugal furniture find?  Share your pics on Instagram and Twitter, and include #KijijiFind and #breakevenchallenge so I can take a peek!



Disclosure: This blog post is in partnership with Kijiji Canada. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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One Response to #breakevenchallenge: luxe for less

  1. Jeannie says:

    Love the colour and the hardwear!
    I’m so Ruth you when you get satisfaction in finding a piece for a great price and transforming it to a beautiful masterpiece!

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