Team Rhodes / Last Week in Missouri

On our last week in Missouri, before we packed the living room up (the rest of the house was in boxes!) our good friend Katie Day came out to take photos of us and I'm so grateful for her for doing this!! We did a little photoshoot trade (you can see the ones I took of her family with her cutie pie newborn daughter, Nora, HERE) and I can't tell you how much these mean to us. They represent the end of an important chapter for us, a home we loved, a place where Imogen spent her first year and lots of other firsts.

Thank you so much Katie for giving us these photos! It's crazy how much has even changed in the span of two months, and it'll be so fun to look back on these, back to the time when we only had one kid, and we had this crazy beautiful Victorian house, and I wasn't mega pregnant (only a little pregnant!). :)

And that's what happens when you try to dip a pregnant broad. ;)

Decor on a Budget (with sources!)

So right now, we're in between homes, and it has me feeling like I'm going a little crazy because sometimes I feel like putting together a home is one of my favorite things to do (projects! painting! anyone else out there relate?). But being without a home to work on doesn't mean I stop thinking / wanting to talk about it! Decorating is maybe one of my favorite things to think about, but another thing I love thinking about is saving money. I think some things (like sturdy furniture pieces that will have a place in your home for a LONG time) are worth splurging on, but for extra decor musts (rugs, light fixtures, etc) I'm here to tell you that you can get some really great stuff that's more affordable than you might think. Let's talk.

Get Realistic!

First of all, I think it's important to get realistic about pricing. When I say my rug budget for an 8'x10' rug is $250, I can set that budget to represent the low end of the spectrum, because I've seen most rugs of that size cost well over $1000 and even on up to $5000. Had I not researched the rug market, I would have looked at a $250 price tag on a large rug and been appalled. See what I mean? Gotta get a good perspective before you begin shopping seriously.


Have something in mind.

In our last home, I knew exactly what chandelier I wanted in our dining room. The downside? It was $950. I took the characteristics of my dream chandelier (black iron, strong geometric lines, open bulb look with multiple bulbs) and began to look for something along those characteristic lines from other online vendors, and I found something I was very happy with for $175 plus shipping from China (I think it ended up being $250ish after shipping). And dare I say I liked the eBay find even more than the spendy one!? (Source for our chandelier HERE, on eBay.)

We ended up finding this rug and our nursery rug on Rugs USA (This rug is no longer available, but click the photo to visit their site). They have incredible sales!

We ended up finding this rug and our nursery rug on Rugs USA (This rug is no longer available, but click the photo to visit their site). They have incredible sales!

It's probably gonna take some time to hunt bargains down.

Buying things that are pricier are a lot easier, because they're presented to you in your face. They're the first things you see pinned on Pinterest because usually the product photos are better (when I found the chandelier we bought on ebay, the product photos were taken with a cell phone and then there was a weird striped border put around it. I would never pin that, you know?). It probably took me an additional two months of looking for our dining room light fixture - and so many websites, and so many eBay and Amazon listings. You gotta put in the time, dudes. It's worth it, though! And don't get me started on how long it took me to pick out rugs (we went with Rugs USA because their selection is MASSIVE and their sales are crazy good).


Don't forget to show your walls some love.

Art, plants, posters, anything! You can achieve a pretty big impact for a small investment, whether you hunt down some paint by number paintings at an estate sale, or (shameless plug) you download a print from some internet photographer to blow up for a wall in your home. ;) (Check out my shop HERE for options for your walls! At $10 for a digital print, you officially have no excuse to not have something hanging up!)

Photo by Laura Gummerman for A Beautiful Mess. Click through to see my entire Living Room tour from our previous home!

Photo by Laura Gummerman for A Beautiful Mess. Click through to see my entire Living Room tour from our previous home!

Set a budget for each room and know what to splurge and save on!

In our old home, we were spending so much on other parts of our living room that our budget only left about $100-150 ish for an 8'x10' rug! And guys that is NOT a lot of money at all. I had doubts I'd find anything that cheap. But I'm here to tell you that a little creative searching led me to a rag rug we love from Overstock (Link HERE - $129! It's out of stock but you can sign up to find out when it's back). Knowing your limitations and sticking to them feels incredibly rewarding! But you know, if you have a dream rug in mind and it's $800, and your room redecoration budget is like $1200 (in other words, that rug takes up most of it) then you buy that rug, dang it, and you get creative with the cost of the rest of the room! You can find a good couch on Craigslist and have it cleaned, or search antique stores or junk shops for your side tables. All I'm saying is, you make your priorities to splurge on, and that's okay! (Side note - the chandelier above was found on Lamps Plus, but also worth checking Lamps Plus Open Box (where we purchased ours, and it arrived in brand new condition) for even deeper discounts.)



I'd be remiss if I wrote a post on budget decorating and I didn't talk about the value of scouring thrift stores, junk shops and antique malls. Obviously I can't link to sources when it comes to this kind of thing, but mega bargain decorating is of course my favorite! The coffee table above? We found it at a Salvation Army for $5. The large orange lamp to the right of me (it's HUGE and PERFECT) I found at an antique mall for $20. I have a favorite mid-century modern leather chair that we happened to grab from Craiglist for a $15 STEAL. These are the kinds of things you can't link to, and you can't duplicate from a magazine, but that's what makes them the MOST valuable - because they are what makes up your own special and unique style! And instead of letting tales of other people's successful bargain hunting make you feel bummed, let it inspire you to get out there and find something rad of your own, even if it's not what you ever thought you'd look for. I mean, I never set out to the antique mall to find a giant orange-red lamp, (I think that day I went looking for a wooden step stool, which of course I didn't find) but I'm so glad I went!

And I can't believe I'm even giving away my Craigslist bargain search secret, but here goes. If you like mid-century modern furniture and decor, well, never search for the terms "mid-century modern" on Craigslist. If it's labeled as such, then somebody that has it knows the value of what they have and they'll charge you accordingly. That's totally fine if you're looking to find something interesting and pay for it, but if you're looking to find something at a really cheap cost, then try searching for the terms "retro" "60s" etc. Think of the terms your grandparents use when they're describing something as mid-century modern and search for that. ;) I even sometimes search for "vintage" because I think to a lot of people, "vintage" covers a lot of bases. We found a really great MCM vinyl chair set for $10 a chair because they were labeled as "retro chairs" and that was it. Meanwhile, anything labeled "Danish modern" is going to cost you your inheritance, chump. ;)

Just FYI - everything linked in this post was as sincere as it gets! I'm not being sponsored by anybody for this post. This is the real deal, you guys. Happy decor hunting!! And if you have any bargain decorating tips, share below!! xo - Sarah

Announcing - My Digital Print Shop!

Hey friends! Today I'm super excited to announce that my digital print shop is OPEN! (And today ONLY, all photographs are 20% off - no code necessary!) And I'm so glad, because secrets are hard. :) It's been a few weeks of photographing, editing, and narrowing down, but I finally have a collection that I'm really proud of, and I know each image would make a dynamic addition to your decor style (and add a little desert life to it, too, no matter where you are!).

  • Okay so first of all, what is a digital print shop?

In my digital print shop, instead of finding physical prints for sale, you will be able to download digital files of some of my favorite photographs that you can use for -anything- personal that you can think of! Postcards, small prints, large prints, stationary, scrapbooking, wrapping paper, magnets, etc. More bang for your buck!

  • Why did you decide to sell digital prints rather than physical prints?

A few reasons! First of all, I wanted this to be accessible to EVERYONE. Shipping physical prints overseas and internationally is expensive, and while it's already expensive to buy art, sometimes that added $20-$50 really hurts (not to mention tracking overseas can be unreliable). It always makes me sad to say "US only."

And speaking of money, my second reason is because I wanted my shop to be affordable. I want to give you the option to pay for a photograph at a really reasonable rate, and to be able to print it yourself will save you a ton of money as well. I could sell you an 8"x10" print for $30, or I could sell you a digital photograph for $10, and you could make an 8"x10" print yourself (for $2.89 from Mpix, who I highly recommend), making your total less than half of what it would typically cost you to purchase out right.

Thirdly, I wanted to give YOU the freedom to be creative with how you choose to display your art in your home, or send it out into the world via gifts or postcards, etc! Want to print a giant engineer print? DO it! Want to print a series of 5x7 photos for a small space? You can do that, too. 

  • What gave you this idea?

When we were moving into our old house, we had a huge space above one of the fireplaces that at first I wasn't sure what to put there. I was reading up on engineer prints and how you can print them for just like, $8 (!) and they're gigantic statement pieces. I thought it would have been perfect for that space. I began searching for some good stock photography that would fit in well with our style (I love showing other artists' work in our home - not just my own photos) and I really didn't find anything that I loved that would allow me to print the photo large for personal use, without paying a good amount of money. 

Fast forward to this past year when my BFF Julia called me asking for advice. They were decorating their AirBnb and they were on a budget, like most of us are! She needed good wall art / options, and my first thought was engineering prints (again, they're so cheap) but I wasn't sure what to tell her as far as choosing a photo for such a large print. This is where my idea was born (thanks Julia!! Hah).

  • Why mostly B&W photos?

I think this one was a more personal decision! I love engineer prints (have I said engineer prints enough times yet? Engineer Prints. Engineer Prints.) and so all of the B&W photos have been optimized for large print and tested (and look freakin' GOOD) in large print. That said, I also have a few color photographs up in the shop as well! And feel free to give me feedback, I need it! Want more color photos? Want something different for color photos? Tell me! :)

  • What happens after I purchase? How do I get my print?

Immediately after your payment goes through, the confirmation screen will have a link for you to download a .zip file that will include your photograph, a PDF with some of my printing recommendations, as well as a signed permission to print (some printers will require this). You will have 24 hours to download your file, so don't put it off! I cannot issue refunds, as this is a digital product. But please, feel free to use the contact form if you are having any issues! Once you download your .zip file, be sure to save your image in a safe place (external hard drive or cloud storage) since you are only able to download it once.

  • What's the fine print?

You know, there has to be a fine print somewhere, right? Basically each of these photos for digital download are for personal use only. This just means that they are copyrighted, and you are purchasing the use of them for your own personal needs. You cannot use them for advertising, for profit, for commercial print (magazines, etc.), or display them as your own work (obviously). If you have a question about usage, please contact me before purchasing! I'm open to granting other usages but bear in mind, each non-personal use estimate will be priced according to the intended usage and scope of audience. 

So like my friends Tom and Donna say, treat yo'self and have a look around the shop! And don't forget, all downloads today are 20% off (ends at midnight PST!). Yay! xo- Sarah