Brianne Minaudo said her little sister helped her paint the fireplace in her living room.

Brianne Minaudo said her little sister helped her paint the fireplace in her living room.

Photo by Alyssa Ochss

Secondhand items can cut costs and add style to a new place

By: Alyssa Ochss | Metro | Published July 12, 2023

 Brianne Minaudo talks about her condo while sitting on the arm of her couch.

Brianne Minaudo talks about her condo while sitting on the arm of her couch.

Photo by Alyssa Ochss


METRO DETROIT — Furnishing a new home can be daunting, but buying used items from Facebook Marketplace and secondhand stores can cut down on costs while adding personal flair.

Brianne Minaudo has a job in New York and is split between Michigan, where she resides, and the Empire State. She used to have a house in north Rochester, Michigan, but sold it to get something smaller. Recently, she has been cleared to spend more time in Michigan.

She was tired of buying new furniture and said her one rule for her condo was to find things used, preloved or at an outlet. Foundational things such as curtain rods could be purchased new.

She collected things from places such as antique stores, old book stores, Facebook Marketplace, clearance sections and other places. She’s even got some things from her grandma and friends. One of her favorite places is called Lamb’s Tail Antiques, which is an antique store on a farm in Armada.

Minaudo also decorates with things she already has and feels like she does something called “dopamine decorating.” It’s decorating with items and things that make you happy.

“Like just reminders instead of just, you know, going to Pottery Barn and plugging in what’s trendy. I like to do this a lot better,” Minaudo said.

Going on a marketplace such as Facebook, Minaudo said, is where she recommends beginners go to get furniture and other decorations for their spaces.

“I’d rather pay people who don’t have the use for it instead of Home Depot or Target or bigger corporations who don’t need it as much,” Minaudo said.

She said it depends on the style, but she also frequents antique stores because she loves vintage style. She recommends following people who have storefronts on Amazon or who do Ikea hacks — customizing Ikea products.

Another perk of buying secondhand is that it’s good for the environment.

“Because you’re not just buying new and then having all this waste going everywhere as well; you’re giving it a new life,” Minaudo said.

Her friends and family helped at her place with painting, having an eye for style or fixing up different fixtures. She said her little sister helps with ideas for decor and goes to antique shops with her.

Kellen James, Minaudo’s partner, said it’s been a lot of fun helping her out.

“She has such an amazing vision of what she wants and how to get it, and she’s just an amazing decorator,” James said.

He said Minaudo has really made their condo feel like a home.

“It just feels like home because she makes it such a warm and inviting place and it’s beautifully put together,” James said.

Both Minaudo and James have a lot of fun working on projects and going shopping for decor and furniture. Minaudo said she’s just getting into repainting and refurbishing furniture.

“I’ve seen on social media people who just take the most beat up, kind of awful pieces and make it into something so cool and beautiful. I love it,” Minaudo said.

Minaudo said her No. 1 idea for finding style is if it makes you happy, it’s part of your style. This can include things found in reading, writing or what people are watching, Minaudo said. She personally gravitates toward history.

“So if anyone is looking for their style, look at what you’re naturally into,” Minaudo said.

She said she thinks people know their style, but they’re hesitant, and she sees this in people she’s helped with decorating.

“They’ll already know what they want; they’re just almost, like, hesitant or afraid to say, ‘I like this,’ and commit to it because they’re afraid to be wrong,” Minaudo said. ”But when you’re doing something like your home or your clothes, you can’t be wrong if you like it.”