Decorating tips the thrift store way from DIY stylist Kate @Salvage Dior!

Creating a space in your home that feels and looks good doesn’t have to come at the hand of a high-profile designer and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With the rise in popularity of thrifting and DIY design, it is easy to find tips and inspiration for crafting picture-perfect interiors on a budget.

“DIY Stylist Builder” Kate Keesee of Anaheim loves to share her passion for thrifting and low-cost home improvement—self-taught skills she shares with over 84,000 Instagram followers @ Salvage Dior.

“I was a single mother who stumbled across thrifting as a way to give my beautiful children a nice place to come home to even though we were on a tight budget,” said Keesee. “Then, when I was diagnosed with Lupus, I could no longer continue my job as a wedding planner and I started a blog, Salvage Dior.”

Since 2009, Keesee’s design blog has become a full-fledged décor business that includes partnerships with Home Depot and Goodwill. Keesee styles her own home with secondhand furniture, dishes and décor items that she finds throughout Orange County and shares photos of the impressive vignettes on Instagram.

“People are always astonished that I’m finding this stuff at thrift stores,” said Keesee. “Every room in my house is decorated this way and I hope that encourages others to reach outside the typical.”

Along with photos, Keesee records live videos while she is shopping and answers direct questions from her followers about her finds. That people want to listen to her advice still surprises her sometimes because she remembers when thrifting wasn’t on trend.

“Twenty-five years ago, this wasn’t a cool thing, but I think the maker movement is coming back,” said Keesee. “Your home tells the story of who you are. It gives you a sense of purpose and inner validation that you used your talents to create something special.”

Below, Keesee shares some pointers for how to start your “look for less” project the Salvage Dior way.

1. Take inventory of what you already have.

Keesee suggests walking through your house room-by-room and putting together a list of all the items you already own. That way you have a clear idea of what you’re working with and what you want to add or replace.

2. Have a game plan.

It’s a good idea to get the lay of the land at the Goodwill or thrift store you plan to attend. Ask the associates when they stock the shelves with new items so you can visit before things have been picked over.

3. Don’t attempt to find everything at once.

Keesee encourages you to enjoy the thrill of the hunt. She said, “Thrifting is very hit or miss. It’s very much a game of luck.” Making a schedule where one day you might go looking for dishes and only dishes, for example, is a good way to focus your efforts and not get overwhelmed.

4. Think outside the box.

Don’t be afraid to use found objects in unconventional ways. Keesee once cut the bottom out of a basket, painted it white and turned it into a light pendant.  She said, “Look twice. Is that really an ugly, old table, or can it be turned into something more?”

5. Splurge on things you can’t thrift.

With the money you saved on furniture and other house wares, you’ll feel better about buying that custom wallpaper or latest color of paint. Keesee said hardware is often a good item to buy because it can be nearly impossible to find a matching set.

Meet Kate in person at our next event where she will host “The Lounge,” an interactive and informative pop-up display featuring unique, home décor treasures found in Goodwill stores across Orange County that are handpicked and styled by Kate. 

 June 9th & 10th

OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa


*All the room photos below are from Kate's home and were styled from thrift store finds!

Kate Keesee/Salvage Dior

Kate Keesee/Salvage Dior

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Charlene Goetz