Our Small Space Refresh [REVEAL!]

As soon as the weather shifts, something stirs inside me that sends me into a cleaning, purging, re-organizing and re-jigging frenzy. No space is safe – last weekend I spent an hour organizing under the kitchen sink. For those of you who know me in my day-to-day life…especially my former roommates… you know those bursts are few and far between and so we really embrace them when they show up. 

This year, I’ve been super-focused on making our small space more functional and embracing the style changes we’ve gone through since moving in two years ago. Thinking our space would be more temporary than it has been, we bought big-box store furniture and peppered in some of our antique market & estate sale finds to personalize it.

Potentially sensing my décor frustrations, Kijiji reached out and challenged me to find 3-5 items to upgrade my small space within a budget of $300. At first, I got super antsy about being able to drastically improve our space with a budget of that size, but – spoiler alert – we more than succeeded! The average Canadian saves about $834 through using the second-hand economy, in one year, which is inspiration enough for getting started! But,of course, finding unique, pre-loved pieces is priceless.  If you’re looking for small space inspiration – or just wondering what I did to change ours – you can see how I did it with Kijiji in the full update below, including my favourite #KijijiFind and tips for finding yours.

The Storage Solution

Do you have piles of blankets and throws like I do? I had been storing them in a gorgeous basket, but the cat found it a little too easy to stake her claim. Plus, things were looking more than a little cluttered. I came across a $15 wooden painter’s ladder as I browsed Kijiji and knew it was just the perfect way to spruce up our living room. It needed a little TLC, but it’s now the most adorable vertical storage for our blankets. At that price, there was no way I could pass it up – similar blanket ladders can run you more than $80- which means I saved $65! Plus, it’s yet another nook I can decorate with the seasons – imagine how cute a buffalo check throw would look during the holidays! I got a ton of satisfaction out of refinishing it and can’t wait to share the whole process in a DIY post to come.

The Front-Door Swap

Last year, I traded my office area for a recliner. I’m being generous when I call it an office area – I had a desk set up in the corner of our living room. To make way for the recliner, I repurposed it as a console table in our entryway. While the expanse of white desk was a dream to decorate for the holidays – and a wonderful place for me to toss things on my way into the condo – it didn’t provide much in the way of organized storage. If anything, it became a beacon for junk.

I decided my splurge for this project would be a storage-heavy dresser or cabinet. I quickly offloaded my beloved Target desk to my brother’s girlfriend and got to hunting for the perfect 40-inches-or-less storage unit. I lost out on a few gorgeous pieces because of my waffling, but I do think I found the perfect piece for us – an antique washstand with three deep drawers for only $180. Yes – $180 for a solid wood piece with incredible detailing and original hardware. Whenever I’ve sought out solid wood pieces in the past, the price has always given me pause, but $180 felt like a steal. The lovely couple who sold it to me knew it, too – they had a hard time letting it go!

I’ll eventually line the drawers with wallpaper, but for now I’m enjoying the luxury of storage at our front door. Outside of the pens + stationery you’d expect to find in an entryway, it’s also the perfect place for scarves + mitts and some of the PR samples I receive. If you’re wondering which #KijijiFind was my favourite, it’s this one!

The Décor Must-Have 

Last but not least, I set out to find an item I’ve been coveting for a while now – a vintage dressmaker’s form called a Judy. We spotted one at one of the open houses we attended last year and I’ve had it in the back of my mind ever since. I loved the idea of a super-versatile decor item that could be dressed for the holidays but also be a super fun way to display some of my favourite fashion items and brooch collection. According to the wonderful man we picked her up from, she had a past life in a fur shop, which explains the oil stains on the bodice. She could use a little TLC, but I’m not yet settled on how I’ll fix her up. For now, wearing my tulle skirt, velvet kimono and purse of the day will have to do! Having such a unique piece in our home is a definite conversation-starter and makes a huge impact in the overall look + feel of our living/dining area. And…if I’m being honest… it’s a pretty fancy way to corral my items when I walk through the front door! This Judy is just one of the 101,000 and more listings found in the home décor and accents section on Kijiji!

Overall, I’m so pleased with how our quick + reasonably-priced condo refresh turned out! We’ve been so thoughtful with the items we’ve brought into our home in the last little while and I’m thrilled to have found such beautiful pieces at such a reasonable price. By using the second-hand economy, we easily saved hundreds on this refresh.

Now, I hope you’re feeling inspired to kick off your own decor refresh! If you’re a first time Kijiji user, it may feel a little daunting – there are so many options and the inventory is ever-changing. There are more than 50,000 decor items listed on the site at any given time, according to Kijiji site data! Couple that with my token decor indecisiveness and you can see how I spent my evenings over the last few weeks. There were definitely times when I spent hours searching for the perfect piece, but it was all worth it. And a little addictive, if I’m being completely honest I love treasure hunting at antique markets, small shops and estate sales and using Kijiji is like enjoying that experience from the comfort of my couch. According to the Kijiji Second-Hand Economy Index, I’m not alone – “treasure-hunting” is one of the top motivators for why Canadians tap into the second-hand economy.

My Kijiji Tips for Décor Enthusiasts:

  • Use the right search terms to find the items of your dreams. After spending some time on the site and app, I quickly realized that what I was looking for fell into the “shabby chic”, “farmhouse” and “French provincial” key words. Once I nailed that down, finding the antique washstand for our entryway was a breeze! Décor is consistently one of the most popular categories for the second-hand economy, so you’re sure to find something you absolutely love.
  • Enlist a friend. When you’re meeting up to make a purchase, bring a friend if you can. It’s always a best practice to have someone with you at the meet-up, but it’s also helpful to have some helping hands to carry your purchase.
  • Negotiate! If you have a budget in mind, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a discount. Many prices are negotiable, especially if the item has been listed for some time.
  • Be open to updating. Buying second-hand is great for the environment and an excellent way to get solidly made items for a great price. While you can definitely purchase beautifully refinished and restored pieces on Kijijij, sprucing it up a bit on your own may offer an even better deal. Some pieces might need just a quick scrub, but for items that need more of an upgrade, consider repainting or re-upholstering to get a custom, fresh look.
  • Use the Kijiji app for real time conversations with sellers + hunting on the go If you want to treasure hunt on the go, the Kijiji app is the best way to up your Kijiji game. It improves your browsing experience and also lets you connect in real time with sellers using the chat function.

You can find other tips just like mine on Kijiji Central.

I had the best time partnering with Kijiji as my go-to resource for décor finds for this project. I’m already itching to sell + replace all of the bigger items in the condo, but I’m trying to hold back…at least for now. Let me know what you think of my DIYs and what you’re inspired to replace in your own home in the comments!

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Kijiji Canada: they covered the costs of the items purchased + paid a fee to support content creation. I always strive to partner with brands that make sense and Kijiji is one that I’d consider a perfect fit! As always, opinions are my own.