All posts by Pretty Broke Blogger

Interior design, home decor, and pretty things for your house: I find them cheap. Make it pretty, even if you're broke!

A Stained Glass Dish

Every Friday here at Pretty Broke will be ‘Unique Piece Friday,’ wherein I talk about a unique piece of decor in my apartment. At least, unique to me. Really, just something I want to show off especially.

I decided to start with one of my favorite pieces, which graces the foyer of my apartment. It’s a much-talked about piece, and I display it proudly, because I love it. A huge, gorgeous, red stained glass dish.

And guess what? I BOUGHT IT FOR A WHOLE EIGHT DOLLARS AT GOODWILL!

The stand came free with it, too.

As far as the other items in the picture, that’s a Google Home mini on the table. I got it free with my Spotify subscription. The pink lamp was left behind by the former renters and my property manager (knowing I love pink) bequeathed it to me. The candleholders on the left, I’ll talk about in a later post. The table I had to put together and it’s woefully wobbly. You wouldn’t want to eat off it so I just use it for displaying things. It think it was around $30 from Amazon. I’ve had it for a long time.

The most expensive thing in this picture is actually the light bulb in the lamp. It’s a Philips Hue bulb. I can speak to it (actually to my Echo) to turn it on and off, as well as change the color.

If I only paid eight dollars for the dish, I guess I deserve to splurge a little on the light bulb!

Pretty Your Outdoor Space For Less–When It Comes To the Outside, Don’t Go Outside Your Budget!

Do you have an outdoor space? A patio, deck, balcony, terrace, porch, veranda, yard, garden, a little patch of dirt, or just any kind of outer space you can call your own (maybe it’s even in outer space)? Since it’s summertime (at least in the northern hemisphere) let’s talk about how to make it nice on the cheap.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a yard or garden, and I haven’t in many years, so I can’t help much in that area. There are some great gardening and yard blogs out there though. They’re much more knowledgeable!

And trust me, you don’t want me telling you how to take care of plants. Most of the plants that have met me have returned to the earth quickly.

Sprucing up your outdoor space is just as important as decorating your indoor space. It’s the first impression your visitors get and clues them in immediately to your tastes and personality. And realistically, it’s also your only personal space that most people will ever see. Why not show off a little?

Gazing into my crystal ball tells me…I will buy more decor in the future! Special tip: secure items with clear weather stripping. The ball never budges in wind or a storm, as I have the ball weather stripped to the base and the base weather stripped to the chair. Easy to remove later on, too!

Strangers passing by will probably never see the inside of your home. That’s no reason to let them just walk on by without getting a little taste of your style. Personally, when I’m out walking I love to see people’s outside decor. I find it charming and even inspirational. Humans like to see pretty stuff!

I live in an apartment complex, and every apartment has a balcony (apart from the below-ground units). My balcony is one of the bigger ones since I live in a two bedroom apartment. The balcony itself is cozy, but big enough to allow for a little couch and my signature need to clutter every space I inhabit with STUFF. It faces a busy, noisy street and elevated train tracks, which I’m sure is not everyone’s ideal living situation, but for me I love it because I crave the bustle of city living and people watching. And boy, are there people to watch. It’s high enough up to maintain my privacy and still peer down on everyone like a nosy gargoyle.

A little birdie told me…that you got that fake ivy for cheap! Special tip: secure items to railings with color camouflaged zip ties. All items attached to my railings are done so with black zip ties.

My neighbors and passers-by routinely tell me how nice my balcony looks. Which is, of course, an ego stroke, but like a child with no filter on my mouth, instead of replying “yes, thank you, I bought this designer patio couch for a million dollars!” I spout self-deprecating stuff like “ha, joke’s on you, most of these plants are fake!” or, “Fool, I got this for two dollars at a yard sale!” I really need to learn to put on airs.

I won’t pay a bunch of money to show off, though. I don’t think anyone should have to, and you can still have a nice, comforting space that reflects your personality. All it takes is a keen sense of your own style and keeping an eye out for bargains when you shop!

It’s a bit funny that on my side of the building, there seems to be a silent competition amongst my neighbors to see who can create the most dramatic balcony. This tells me I’m in good company, but also if we keep adding lights to one-up each other, there will be a tragic accident when the planes on the approach path to the airport over our building get confused and think we’re a runway. Or, we’ll end up with a 737 parked in our lot and we’ll be fighting over which one of us actually signaled them in.

Just big enough for me and the cat. The cushion covers, of course, are waterproof and can be removed and washed.

The most expensive thing on my balcony is an outdoor couch I bought from Amazon. It’s surprisingly comfortable and regrettably teal–not because I dislike teal, but because I wish it had been available in pink. I had to assemble it myself, which was definitely not a good time. However, I’m pleased it hasn’t entirely collapsed into pieces while sitting on it and put me on the floor…yet. I’ll collect my engineering degree next week, thank you.

I also have a festive rainbow umbrella, which is a holdover from when I lived on a different side of the building and got a lot of sun. The sun on this side isn’t direct, but I still enjoy using it for the aesthetic. I can pretend I’m on the beach! You know, a beach with a major street and trains running through it.

Decorative items don’t have to be practical or even useful in order for you to enjoy them. Sometimes pretty things serve only one purpose: to make you happy when you see them. Form and function are important, but just having something around for the sake of seeing it is okay, too!

Fake plants, fake light, real weathering!

The rest of my decor is fake plants (and a few real ones thrown in because I’m trying, I really am), metal garden stakes, a few cute outdoor items, and a lantern that I’ve ‘weathered’ myself simply by leaving it outside and never bringing it in (which is what weathering actually is, right? Funny how fake ‘weathering’ is more the norm). And of course lights. Lots of lights.

Despite my surroundings, my decor has made my balcony surprisingly insular and private. I enjoy spending time on it, and I’m trying to spend as much time as I can, since summer only lasts about 15 seconds here and then it’s freezing rain again. You have to act fast or you won’t even see the sun. It’s a fun game we play every year (it’s not fun)!

Here is a breakdown of the items in the pictures–check out the gallery below for even more! As always, if you see something I didn’t list and want to know more about it, just ask.

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

The night is bright, thanks to AA batteries.

BALCONY GALLERY

Home Decor On a Budget? It’s More Likely Than You Think!

Color is my favorite decoration.

Hello and welcome to my brand spankin’ new blog, where I’ll be talking about two of my favorite things: decorating my home and not spending money.

My name is Tanya, and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. You can learn more about me, my tastes, and my cat here (she wants you to know has her own Instagram, as she’s vain like most cats). My apartment is small but mighty, and I try to keep it looking cute. I rent, so I can’t make permanent changes. However, neither am I a renovator. You don’t really want me knocking out walls–even intentionally. But, in my many years renting I’ve found ways to make non-permanent changes, such as temporary tiles and window films. I live in a very urban area, so sometimes it’s not always easy to create a peaceful, beatific atmosphere, but I consider it a challenge instead of a hindrance. My place is very much a bachelorette pad. I don’t have to consult anyone on how I make it look. You may learn as we go this is a bit dangerous! However:

Your living space is where you find peace from the rest of the world. It should reflect your tastes unapologetically and bring you happiness. If you have your own space, it’s your privilege to pretty it up.

I get a lot of comments from folks vis-à-vis my style of decorating. Here’s a few direct quotes:

  • “I feel so peaceful in your place.”
  • “You’re so colorful and interesting!”
  • “Man, you like it…bright, don’t you?”
  • “This is a bit much. I’m glad I don’t live here.”
  • “I never get bored when I’m here, that’s for sure.”

As you can see, it’s a mixed bag.

But, here is the most important fact: my space is mine. I’m the one who has to look at it every single day. I don’t apologize for what brings me joy and pleases my eye, and you shouldn’t either.

Think pink!

If a visitor is rude, show them promptly to your well-appointed door. Maybe offer a foot to bottom to help them along. If you’re wearing a festive shoe, even better.

I’ve had to deal with a few people (acquaintances, no one I would call a friend) who just didn’t agree with my look. There are people in my life who honestly love it and can’t quit going on about it, and then there is the occasional one who feels somehow personally offended by what I choose to do with my own space. I tend to believe these people are jealous and couldn’t hang a picture if you hammered the nail in for them. If you have to deal with someone like this, it’s best to give them a swift kick.

I like to do it with my heels on.

I have a very colorful and cluttered style, what some would call boho or maximalist. So if you’re interested in empty space and modern, neutral tones and clean lines, this probably isn’t the place for you. I like it cozy, bright, and full. I have nothing against people who like it clean, though. To each their own, always! You just probably won’t enjoy this blog much.

Pink is my favorite color. You’ll work that out quickly from my pictures!

And of course, the main theme of this blog: I don’t like to pay too much for my pretty things. I acquire most of it from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, bargain stores, places like Dollar General and Target (which, as a word of caution, can be pricey if you’re not shrewd), Amazon, online catalogs like Seventh Avenue and Fingerhut, and of course, every time a friend has acquired some piece of decor that was too overstated for them, its been passed on to me as a gift. I’m a bit like a dragon, hoarding shiny things.

Here are some things I like to fill my space with:

  • Wind chimes
  • Lanterns
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Fake plants (more on that below)
  • Lights
  • Butterflies
  • Seahorses
  • Candles
In a future post, you’ll see my kitchen is aflutter with butterflies.

I like it busy, but I don’t just throw everything in a pile! Cluttered doesn’t mean disorganized, and I am adamant about this. Everything should be in the perfect place and work with the items around it, either in color, theme, or both. But, I should probably warn you: the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to dust.

Deep cleaning lasts hours in my house. I put on some music and grab the duster. Time to get to work! It burns calories, right?

Cleaning isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. They’re my things. I take pride in keeping them sparkling! It’s part of making a nice house.

A few of the rooms in my apartment have themes. My kitchen is butterflies, the bathroom is ocean themed, and my bedroom is fit for a queen. I will cover all the rooms in more detail in future posts. I also have a balcony that I’ve made quite cozy. However, I have a brown thumb and I usually kill real plants, so I have a lot of fake ones out there. This season I actually have two real ones that I’ve stunningly managed to keep alive and have even thrived, and I consider that a real accomplishment. Send them your thoughts and prayers anyway though, because that’s truly all they’re living on.

Still alive, somehow…

I also am of the belief that wind chimes are not just for the outdoors. In a few weeks, I’ll cover that too.

Whenever possible, I will list where I bought all my items and the approximate price. Some items I’ve had for a long time so my memory is a bit sketchy. If I don’t list something and you’re curious about it, please don’t hesitate to ask! I will also provide a gallery of all images in the post, plus more. Look for this at the bottom of each entry.

I am not an interior decorator, by the way. I have no authority or professional opinion. I didn’t go to school for design. Therefore, I’m not any kind of expert preaching to you how your house should look and I’m not trying to sell you anything. I just have a passion for spiffing up my space, cheaply, and I want to share that fun with others. I’ve been broke most my life but it hasn’t stopped me from expressing myself. Decorating is about being on the lookout for what suits you. It’s not something you accomplish in one day, after going out and buying a bunch of stuff. Decorating your space is an ongoing process. It means adding and removing things constantly, and that’s what makes it interesting. Your decorating should never be “done,” it should always be evolving in its look, like fashion.

Or not! Do as you please. As I said, I’m not an expert. I’m here to enjoy myself and share that with you.

Do you like my balls?

I’m eager to hear from readers. Comment, contact me, let me know you’re out there! I want to hear your thoughts and see YOUR decor! Feel free to share pictures in the comments. If something gets caught up in a spam filter, I’ll be quick to approve it, don’t worry. I’m a new blog so I’m trying to get myself out there, enjoy this experience, and find some new folks to talk to. I’m happy and grateful for any sharing of this blog you might want to do on your social media. There are buttons down at the bottom of the post that make it easy to share.

As I said above, here is a breakdown of the items in the pictures in this post. In normal entries, I will add extra pictures, so the gallery will be much bigger.

I hope you enjoy yourself here!

Items Featured In Pictures

All items are listed, to the best of my memory, where I bought them, and their approximate price at the time of purchase. Relevant links to retailers or specific items are included where possible. Please note: I am not paid by any retailer, organization, or product to promote anything on this blog. This is for informational purposes only.

  • Wind chime – Buyer’s Outlet (Cleveland discount store) ~$20
  • Blue/pink wall art (two pieces–the mirrored piece (inverted colors) is on the opposite wall–they light up, using two AA batteries) – Marc’s (Cleveland discount store) ~$12 for set
  • Butterfly stained glass lamp – Seventh Avenue ~$30
  • Flamingo wall art – Marc’s ~$8
  • Butterfly wall art – Dollar General ~$2
  • Japanese Coca Cola bottle – gift from a friend
  • Fortnum & Mason (department store based in London, England) coffee tins and hot chocolate jar – gift from a friend
  • Decorative balls – Amazon (item is no longer available) ~$20 (they’re plastic, not glass)
  • Brass bowl – Target ~$10
  • Flower pot – Buyer’s Outlet ~$13