Go Boho on a Hobo Budget

Below is a collage I made & published on Polyvore.com some time ago, but like the collage, I shall be "Bohemian Forever!". The shabby-fab boho style has been hot for some time, drawing on everything from flower-child chic, art deco, and perhaps in more recent years, the Steampunk aesthetic. Of course with popularity comes commodification which = high price tags. So today, let's review a few ways to cut corners when crafting this look without scrimping on style.

Bohemian Forever by shabbychicstyle on Polyvore featuring boho jewelry 

1. Raid your grandparents/parents' cast offs & hand-me-downs for vintage loot.  

Jewelry, knick-knacks, random gadgets & gew-gaws, dishes, wall-hangings etc. Mix and match with more modern pieces, or, if the item is not a beloved heirloom, think up ways to recondition/reuse it. Does a picture need a new frame? Can you get the funky fab lamp that no longer works rewired?


2. Assign a prosaic use to something somewhat valuable.  

For years I used an antique Wedgewood sugar bowl (that I inherited from Grand-mama, see tip #1) as a jewelry box. Such casual disregard of luxury carries with it a sort of old-world elegance.


3. Flea markets, garage sales & antique shops are your friend.

Just remember, the farther away from the big city you go, the cheaper the prices. 


4. Forget about matching dishes!

Splurge on a few discount salad plates from T.J. Maxx & mix them up with your good pieces & any Goodwill finds (oh yes Goodwill is usually a great source for china, glassware and sometimes even crystal).


5. Turn those china finds upside down.

Educate yourself on the names of china manufacturers and their brand emblems (the more established companies have little pictures/symbols imprinted on them to identify year of production & make of piece, as well as to verify authenticity). Typically you'll find this at the bottom side of the cup or plate. You'll be surprised how many valuable pieces end up going for pennies at second-hand shops. And if vintage jewelry is your bag, also do research on noted costume jewelers, their names & trademarks, plus the symbols embossed on jewelry that identify the metal content. For once again, you can sometimes spot something quite valuable hiding amidst the flea market dross.


6. And while we're on the subject of jewelry, decorate with it!

Incorporating pendants, chains and strands of beads in wall-hangings is a particular favorite of mine.


7. Scarves, shawls, scarves, shawls...

 Whether used as a window treatment, a wall hanging or a jazzy couch draping, the possibilities are endless.


8. Master some simple sewing tricks like how to make an "envelope" throw pillow cover. 

It's about the easiest thing in the world to sew on a machine. If you don't have access to a sewing machine, they can be hand sewn, though that can be a little bit tricky for the novice stitcher so I wouldn't recommend it unless you have advanced handwork skills and/or are going for a rustic, homespun look. Maybe barter services with a friend who has a machine? That's the Shoestring Sally way and could make for a win-win. The web is full of step-by-step instructions for this craft. Here is a link to one great how-to video by YouTuber TheCraftyGemini:  "How to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover".


9. Just let your imagination run wild! 

Gold leaf that picture frame you salvaged from the sidewalk, try your hand at painting a picture or two, press some flowers, or maybe just frame some unusal postcards. Give yourself room to create!

And on that note, I best leave you to it! Happy creating!


  1. this was delightful..you are always a surprise! :)

  2. TY Marcy --I aim to please!


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