I'm starting a new aspect to my blog-- sharing display and decorating ideas for libraries, school or church classrooms, banquets-- whatever needs some WOW factor without breaking the bank. I'm used to having little or no budget for decorating, so I've learned to use what I already have or what I can find inexpensively or even free.
I get way too excited about trash because you would not believe what people throw away in the area of Texas where I live. I've picked up all kinds of furniture on trash day, including a beautiful brass daybed frame; faux ficus trees (four at last count, not counting two that I bought very cheaply at garage sales); a nice rolling desk chair, a beautiful round wooden box with checkerboard-painted lid that I use as an end table in the lounge section of my library; an actual ship's life-saver ring; laminate flooring; lamps; building materials; holiday decor; a working dvd player; three square stackable, linen-lined wicker baskets and lids, and so much more.
At garage sales, if I tell the owner that I'm shopping for library decor or books, I often get them free or at a much reduced rate. People love libraries! The piece de resistance, though, was a loft bed that someone was throwing away. I had asked a library furniture company to give me an estimate for a custom-built display case for one of my picture windows in the library. The quote was over $5,000! I learned that this industrial-looking loft bed I found was from a store that rhymes with My-kee'-ah. A couple of talented 8th graders assembled it in my library, and it has created a fantastic frame for window displays. And it cost me nothing but the time it took to pick it up.
I've used the loft bed for quite a few displays over the past year, and I'll try to post at least one or two displays a month. The first one is related to the theme for our new school this year: Racing for Excellence. The display was a make-shift pit stop. The banners that make up the background for the display were actually some of banners covering the library windows the first week of school, so the students couldn't see what was going on until I uncovered the windows. I had several students cut out triangles of red, white, and black and stapled them to some jute I had on hand (string will work just fine) and strung them between the four columns in the middle of the library to make a race track-like atmosphere. My daughter wrapped the life-saver ring to create a "tire" for or pit stop. Our mascot is the hippo, so you'll see hippos in my displays every so often.
A Different Perspective
The loft bed is great to attach things to, hang things from, stretch things across. You just have to look at objects from a different perspective. Most everything can have multi-purposes, and you'll see how the same item can be used in different ways in these displays in the coming months.