Guest Post: Alex Webb on Making the Clearance Bin Your BFF…

I love budget friendly ideas primarily because I am a firm believer that you should be able to indulge in good design regardless of how little your budget is. So when Alex reached out to me about this particular topic, I was sold. Enjoy these fabulous cost effective design tips!

Make The Clearance Bin Your BFF

There’s no two ways about it – decorating on a budget is tough! If you aren’t carful, you end up with a hodge-podge of furniture, art, and accessories that look both uninviting and uninspiring. If you’ve drooled over the home magazines, rigorously studied channels like HGTV and DIY network, or gotten lost in the bottomless pit of the Internet, you know that there are tons of great decorating ideas out there. However, you’ve probably noticed that the majority of them are too expensive, require do-it-yourself skills far beyond your level, or call for an inordinate amount of time. It can be completely discouraging.

Have you ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Guess what, when it comes to decorating on a budget that saying is spot on. Who exactly do you need to cozy up to? The Clearance Bin. You don’t just want to know the Clearance Bing – you need to make it your BFF.

Here are some tips for turning those clearance bin finds into a a budget-conscious decorator’s dream:

Image Credit: “Sophie” by Mod Pieces


Visit your local hardware store and inquire about their marked down paint. Generally, this is simply paint that was mixed incorrectly (not to the customer’s color specifications). There’s nothing wrong with it, and the store’s mistake is totally your gain!

Do an accent wall – You probably won’t stumble on enough bargain bin paint to properly cover an entire room, but you may find enough to do a single wall (assume you’ll need two coats).

Refresh a piece of furniture – Take a piece of boring or chipped and faded furniture such as an entryway table and paint it. It can really liven up a space.

Spice up a shelf – If you want a bold or bright pop of color in a room but aren’t sure about doing an entire wall, paint the inside back panels of a book shelf. You can even try painting only every other shelf for an even more unique look. This is also a great way to liven up a room in an apartment where painting the walls isn’t feasible.

Image Credit: “Master Bathroom…”
by A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc.

Granite and Quartz Remnants and Scrap

Anytime a kitchen counter is fabricated there are left over pieces. Some of those pieces (the small ones) are scrap that fabricators typically just toss in the dumpster. Larger pieces (known as remnants) are sold by fabricators at rock bottom prices.

Remnants – This is your chance to get a custom vanity, island, tabletop, or desktop cheap. Typically, you will not find a remnant large enough to do your entire kitchen countertops, but if you’re willing to get creative and mix and match colors or materials a remnant may be the perfect option for re-doing your kitchen. Keep in mind that while the material itself will be cheap the installation can be costly so don’t be afraid to do a little comparison shopping between different local fabricators.

Medium Pieces (Scrap) – Use medium pieces as cutting boards, decorative trays, stepping stones in your yard, bookends, or doorstops. Keep in mind that scraps are likely to have unfinished edges – talk to your fabricator to find out how much it would cost to have an edge smoothed out or simply treat the imperfection as something that makes the piece more one-of-a-kind. Just watch out for any sharp corners/edges!

Small Pieces (Scrap) – Use small pieces as paperweights in your home and office or as coasters.

Image Credit: “Environments – Living” by Pintandolamona


Don’t be afraid to get creative here and replace simple fabric with scarves or sheets. If you’re handy with a needle and thread the options of what you can do with your clearance bin fabric are practically endless.

Table Runner/Cloth – Use a fun piece of fabric to liven up a boring dinning room table. Use a narrower piece as a table runner (to go down the center of a table) and a larger piece as a tablecloth.

Furniture Drape – If you have a dull piece of furniture, try draping a piece of fabric across it to add a pop of color. This really works best on furniture that isn’t used much (so you don’t have to keep moving or re-adjusting the fabric).

Curtains – You’ve probably seen this done on HGTV or “Sell This House”, but you can create curtains out of sheets or pieces of fabric. With sheets, you just open the top hem section and thread a curtain rod through it.

Image Credit: “205 Inkwells” by Auntie P

Glasses and Bottles

Do you ever find yourself in the clearance aisle or at a local thrift store and see a set of glasses that is missing one (or two or three) of the set? Ever wonder who’s going to buy that? It should be you, and the same goes for any glass bottles you come across.

Vases – Use mismatched glasses or bottles as vases for flowers, paint sample confetti (see above), or etc.

Key Bowl – Use a lonely glass as a decorative key bowl in your entryway.

Stained Glass – Fill glass bottles with water and arrange them on a window sill. When the sun hits the bottles you’ll get a dancing pattern of light (similar to stained glass) on the floor and surrounding walls.

Candle Holder – Use glasses and bottles as candle holders. if you burn different colors of candles the leftover wax will add to the look.

Image Credit: “05.22.201”1 by greenplasticamy


Head to the local crafts store (or anywhere that sells decorative/scrapbook paper) and you can generally find season themed scrapbook paper loitering on the clearance shelf.

Wall Art – Frame whole pieces of scrapbook paper for fun, simple works of art.

Drawer Liners – Line drawers or shelves with pieces of scrapbook paper for a burst of color whenever you open a drawer.

Origami – Take scrapbook paper, find some directions on the Internet, and create origami pieces. For instance, make a bowl full of origami roses to set on your coffee table.

Image Credit: “New Bookshelf” by Jason Rust


At bookstores, dollar stores, and thrift shops you’re bound to find hard-backed books looking for a home. Even if you’re an avid reader, a lot of these books are probably of little or no interest to you – buy them anyway.

Accessories – arrange the books on a coffee table or on a bookshelf as accessories. Remember, less is generally more!

End Table – stack up books and place a tray on top to create a fun and unique end table.

Decorating on a budget is tough – but it can also be a lot of fun! It gives you the opportunity to get out there, get creative, and experiment. All you need to do is look at a store’s “trash” (clearance bin items) and see them in a different light. In no time they’ll be your “treasure”!

Post contributed by Alex Webb on behalf of Concepts – Cincinnati’s granite countertop fabricator. Alex is an HGTV addict who is always striving to find new budget friendly decorating ideas. Follow her on Twitter @alexandriakwebb.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. beartownfarm says:

    I love these tips! Very timely as I recently decided we are redecorating our living room. The side table I made from a lamp shade and serving tray is staying. 😉


    1. A side table from a lamp shade? Please share!! I’d love to see it


      1. Yeah honey. I found it by a dumpster by my house in perfect condition. Love it so much. I wrote a post about it here:

        We’re looking for a new L shaped couch to replace ours and that blue chair, and I just decided to take it all down. Time to mature our living room. Every other room is just about done, and it’s the last to be upgraded.


  2. Love these tips!! Hope you’re having a great weekend!!xo


  3. Amelia says:

    enjoyed lot to see your blog 🙂
    can you give some idea regarding bespoke furniture


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