I sold my home 5 years ago and remodeled and decorated the whole thing with my deal finding abilities. I made a “look book” for the whole house room by room to keep myself on track and to keep myself from buying things just because they were a deal. I called or stopped in at paint, tile, carpet, and cabinet places at least once a week to ask about special order returns. I got the tile for my bathrooms for pennies on the dollar because I took all of it and it was more than enough. I also ended up doing the landing with the tile I had so much.
I also got my kitchen cabinets super cheap as a custom return. I ended up having to have one cabinet custom made as the set was just short of what I needed, but the cabinets were all hard wood and stunning. The installer told me I still saved 75% by waiting for a return and having one made.
Carpet was also a custom return. I had enough to do the whole upstairs of a split level in a beautiful grey berber. Because I had a friend hall it and install it, it ended up costing me less than the tile. My friend is a carpet installer so he already had the pad and all he charged me was a case of beer.
For the kitchen I stuck to linoleum, but my kitchen was HUGE. I got the end of a roll for just a few dollars a linear yard. Part of that was the salesmans fault, he wrote it down as linear yard rather than square yard and since they wrote it down that way I was able to hold them to that price. I added an island to the kitchen because of the size, but instead of buying an expensive island, I put two old buffets back to back and had a counter top made for it and added casters. I can’t take credit for that idea, even though it was beautiful, I got it from one of the HGTV shows. I still wish I had taken it with me.
For furniture, since at the time I was a single parent, I relied on CL and Furniture Marts clearance section. I bought some things at garage sales and redid them. I was lucky that I had a friend that recovered couches and chairs for a living and she would let me bring things to her shop and she would help me recover them afterhours.
For me, it was all about patience and keeping to my look that I wanted (and some imagination). It took several years to get the house out of the 70’s, but in waiting and finding exactly what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay, I was able to have alot of pride in what I had accomplished and for less than what my parents paid to have the kitchen redone 20 years before that. I am still sad that I sold the house, but am thankful that I did it right before the bubble burst.
Right now we are redoing our house and our cabin. I have two bathroom cabinets sitting in storage and am on the lookout for the sinks that I want for them. My DH swears that I am the queen of the $50 redo as, so far, I have yet to pay more than $50 for anything in our house.