November 17, 2017

Balancing the Budget with Pottery Barn Taste


As we come to the end of the first week of Balancing Beauty and the Budget, we’ve tackled some thought provoking, and necessary topics, this week.

While my favorite thing here on this blog is to encourage women with fun, practical and easy to implement ideas for their home life, the bottom line is that unless we place money in its proper perspective, all the DIY tips will not leave us fulfilled in the area of personal finance.

Families can get down and dirty with getting out of debt by cutting up their credit cards (something I recommend if you grapple with consumer debt) and still not understand the most important principle.

We can begin peeling the layers back of the Dreaded “B” word (Budget), and then really get serious by assigning every dollar a job. Dollars are told what to do, and every dollar in our budget needs to have a task. While there’s such freedom in understanding and figuring out what that means for your family,  one can do that and still not understand the most important principle.

Contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction.

It’s the kind of thing that money can’t by – a deep abiding peace. Contentment brings peace, and yet often we confuse “stuff” with happiness.

We work, we budget, we buy, we dream, all in the hopes that eventually we will be happy. We count on the fact that the one day, “IF ONLY” dream will meet those core needs, but until we completely believe that cool stuff will not buy us  contentment, our dream life will not be realized.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying do not buy stuff. If that was my mantra, I’d be in huge trouble.

Just get it into perspective.

So what do you do if you have Pottery Barn Taste, but not a Pottery Barn budget?

You have two choices.
Pottery Barn inspired Desk

First, a great option is to put your dream Pottery Barn piece on your wish list, and then save up cash for it. Pottery Barn has quality items, which last the test of time, so I am definitely not against investing in key pieces.

I have a a large closet area, initially designed as a small laundry room, that I will be turning into my office. I’m in the process of getting inspiration for it, and I adore  Pottery Barn’s clean, yet casual look of the Chelsea Desk. But at $399, that isn’t an investment I want to make at this time, especially for a desk that only I will see.

Your second choice is to engage those creative juices and find a second hand furniture piece to create some trash to treasure magic. I often see side tables similar to this at yard sales and thrift stores for under $10. Typically, buyers can not see past the initial dirt, grime or color to appreciate the gem that is staring back at them.

This entire look above can be copied for pennies on the dollar. From the table, vase, mirror, chair, and even the cake plate – I can recreate it for $20. For those that are handy, you can make curtains by sewing a rod pocket, or use fusible webbing for a no-sew option. I love how they embellished with a coordinating scrap fabric along the bottom edge. For me, I will use a  hot glue gun to add that and then you have pretty second hand curtains to hide storage. Hang the curtains between the table legs using tension rods.

Like I said, I often find similar Pottery Barn knock off tables for under $10, and I can’t wait to paint this one. This is such a quick and easy painting redo. It will be done in about an hour.

This was $7.99 at a thrift store, and to be completely authentic, I took a picture minutes ago in the exact spot it sits – in that “catch all” large closet. You know the one when company comes over, and the kids asked where to put things, and you yell, “Just shove it in the closet.”

Yes, THAT closet. 🙂

( I never claimed to write 31 Days to an Incredibly Organized Life.  If I wanted you to think I had it all together, I would have just slid the desk out of the closet and taken the picture against a perfectly clean back drop, but I don’t have it all together and that is my closet’s reality. 🙂 )

How do you engage your Pottery Barn Taste? Have you attempted any Pottery Barn inspired looks?


  1. Your authenticity is like the fall breeze that is fluttering my kitchen curtains even as I type. THANK YOU!


  2. Sometimes I’m guilty of seeing dirt and not getting something. It depends on the item. Because there are some things I’m just not good at doing over.:) This looks like a really helpful series. Thanks so much for posting.:)


  3. Can I just say that I am loving that you took the picture in your closet. LOL I think we all have one of those spots that is the catch all area of the house.


  4. We just redid our living room and I think it looks like PB style to me!! And almost everything we bought was used or thrifted in some way! 😀 I call it PB on a Goodwill budget! 😛


    Jen Reply:

    Mandy – SIMPLY GORGEOUS!! You go! Seriously, that white slip covered coach is exactly what I am going for in my great room.


    Mandy Reply:

    @Jen, Thanks Jen! 😀 I’m pretty excited about it! There are IKEA couches on Craigslist all the time, and the white slipcovers are only $50 new! Hope you find what you’re looking for!


  5. You crack me up! Thanks for being so honest. My spot is not a closet…it’s the guest bedroom! I have to do major cleaning before company arrives because we cram everything in there that doesn’t have a home.

    I have to say, though, that I never find furniture at thrift stores for that price. I need to find out your secret.


  6. Great post. I love Pottery barn and I love Ballard Designs but the budget isn’t there, so I’ve been thinking of ways and places that I can re-create these same looks.


  7. a) I have GOT to get me one of those closets! 🙂
    b) I love you now more than ever for taking a picture of that table — closet and all…
    c) I do have a hard time seeing “the beauty within” for furniture. Since reading this and other blogs re: thrifting and/or crafting, I have come to realize I dismiss things based on color immediately. I’m learning…!


  8. Sue@housepretty says:

    Thank you for the inspiration with the desk! I just acquired a table from church where they were decluttering, and I was looking for a small table for our living room to put our computer on. Now I know how I am going to dress it up, and create more storage without the messiness. Ingenious!!


  9. Gotta love that closet — I wish I had such a magical place in my home, that could swallow clutter at a moment’s notice… I agree that that table is fraught with possibility. I can hardly wait to see what you do with it.

    My mother always was “making something out of nothing” when I was growing up, a practice I’ve continued myself. Between the two of us, we have furniture that both of us have painted multiple times and traded back and forth (we sort of have musical-furniture in my family. What’s an end table in my house may end up at my parents’ bedside or cousin’s powder room next year.) I’ll admit to more wariness when it comes to upholstered pieces.


  10. Oh, how I wish I could be crafty….If only some of you ladies lived close enough to come and help me make our home pretty! My biggest problem is our home has such an awkward layout…and of course the ongoing problem of budget constraints. I’m working hard to conjure up some creative solutions…


  11. Another option: follow FREE online copycat plans and build them yourself. Two sites I know of: and I’ve built some things from these sites, and I promise it’s easier than it seems. If you can assemble a piece of furniture from a store, you can absolutely build one – at both higher quality and a lower price. Not to mention you have total control over toxic paints, finishes, and plywood.


  12. My fav companions are elbow grease and spray paint. I shop everywhere and everything with them in mind…

    There are many people out in cyber space who have perfected the Pottery Barn look… and it’s not complicated to duplicate 🙂 I do have to give appropriate creative credit ’tho — I do so love when their catalog arrives in the mail!!!

    Ana White also has my total devotion and admiration – I’m collecting wood for one of her tables now. She’s a wonderful resource 🙂


    Jen Reply:

    I love that catalog arrival too and Ana White is amazing!! 🙂


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