It started as a contest that gave some art students $500 to furnish and decorate an empty apartment.
This Bargain Thursday shows us how to think outside of big box store shopping.
A piece of wood stained and cut into the shape of Tennessee doubles as wall art and table for two.
Scrap ceramic and glass tiles take a backsplash from blah to beautiful and old 45's jazz up a pink-tiled bathroom.
Ethel Lyons and Bailey Brocato are one of three Memphis College of Art teams tapped to furnish and decorate an apartment at the Venue. Their budget? About $600.
The project is sponsored by the Habitat Restore so the artists are encouraged to shop there first. They found a sofa and chair combo for $150 but re-upholstery would take up the rest of their budget so they went with paint.
The art team says, "It does a good job seeping into the fabric. Not crunchy, no uncomfortable, also preserves texture and pattern on fabric."
A friend donated a vinyl set of chairs. Awful orange with stains was changed to trendy turquoise for about $10. "We went to Home Depot and got regular old spray paint. Vinyl is plastic so it adhered great; put clear coat on top so can sit on it."
Kitchen cabinets with outdated panels replaced by donated cassette tapes and hot glue
A coffee table was created when they found a tabletop for a few bucks and re purposed wine bottles as legs.
Consignment shops, yard sales and places like the Habitat Restore are treasure troves for budgeteers.
So, know what you need and take the time to look around. Stock changes every day. At the Habitat Restore you can get a sofa from anywhere between $20 and $200. Everything here is donated. Much of it is brand new, in the box.
But no matter where you look, have a plan and "look at whole store and then go back and find everything you like," says Ethel.
Bailey said, "It was a lot of fun...and a lot of bumps but we really did a good job overcoming all of them."
You can vote for your favorite apartment design up until February 3 at 5 p.m.
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