The Creativity Challenge

By RENE’ DAY / Community Columnist

Chances are good that at some point in the past year or so, you’ve been introduced to the concept of thrifting, up-cycling, “decorating on a dime” or rehab-ing in home design. You also may have heard of something called the “Fixer Upper” effect – named for the very popular Gaines couple starring in a popular home design show by the same name. If so, then words like open floor plans, re-thinking interior space and repurposing for a home aren’t foreign.

But – with a little creativity, you don’t have to go to Waco, hire either Gaines, or spend a lot of money to bring a new look into the spaces where you live and love. In fact, it might just take you into some businesses in your community that you’ve never visited before. Let’s be honest, not everyone immediately thinks of the local thrift store when deciding to redecorate – but perhaps they should.

Recently, while on a regular jaunt through a favorite thrift store, a pretty blue and white Spode plate was spied sitting on the kitchenware aisle. Spode is a popular high-end English china company with a long, distinguished history. This plate was beautiful – pretty blue and white design featuring sunflowers and morning glories. The pattern, first produced in 1813, was one in a set of plates commemorating those early pottery pieces. It was perfect – except for one tiny little chip on the edge. The price reflected the issue – $2.99. Unbelievable beauty for $2.99 – and nothing a strategically placed plate hanger couldn’t solve.

Using that plate as an “inspiration piece” (another one of those “Fixer Upper” terms popular these days) – was it possible to freshen up a guest bedroom using only items found in the thrift store that afternoon? Creativity challenge accepted – let the fun begin!

New bedding can be expensive – so to freshen up a look on a budget – always shop the aisles filled with comforters, sheets, pillow shams and other domestics carefully. Gleaned a set of blue and white floral sheets almost a perfect match to the Spode plate! Next, a terrific coverlet and custom-made striped dust ruffle in blue mattress ticking. Finally, found a set of Ralph Lauren pillow shams with original tags still attached. Wow – less than $25 spent on everything! Even Chip and Joanna would be proud!

There are a number of thrift stores scattered throughout this county – most support organizations that help protect women and children from abuse; feed and provide care for abandoned animals; or help causes around the world. A purchase from these stores begins a ripple effect that strengthens people and communities near and far. It truly becomes a “win-win” proposition.

With spring right around the corner – thoughts turn to brightening and lightening our homes for the coming warm weather. Next time you feel the need to refresh – try taking the creativity challenge at a local non-profit shop. You can drop off those things you no longer want as you go – and start the process all over again.