Beach Cottage Does Budget Homewares with a Coastal Nautical Twist

Mon 19th, Mar, 2012

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Hey love lovelies how the devil are you, weren’t those Beach Cottage Blues yesterday spiffing?!

Hope all is good, well I have to say I have had a pretty good weekend, it included lots of soccer and sport and a 2 and a half hour Saturday afternoon in the bath reading blogs on my iphone…..my kinda living.

So over at Kidspot I have been talking about things to do as the seasons change in your home – you know at this time of year, whatever hemisphere you are in, you get the cross season prompts to spend money on your home….through my letterbox this week I have had the Freedom catalogue, the IKEA catalogue, Target Home, theMyer catalogue and more ….all trying to coerce me into spending some money on my home as Autumn rolls in here and things get chilly…ahem, not chilly in Old Blighty terms…but you know what I mean…the sandals and shorts change to sandals and jeans.

One of these catalogues was inferring that a fashionable home was imperative….interesting for me because fashion in home wares is not something that does too much for me, I couldn’t give a flying fart about whether or not I have the latest trendy chair or the right designer lampshade…..but I do like to treat my home, you might well have gathered that already…that really floats my boat, I like buying bits and bobs for it, hiding them in the back of the wardrobe, and then bringing them out strategically and claiming we have had them forever, duh



So, I am sure you are aware that home wares and homey things are part of my make up…and that is where, like in fashion for one’s attire, budget comes in and as a home wares junkie I know me the tricks and places to get my latest coastal / vintage / beachy fix without breaking the bank…

When I lived in England that was a whole blooming lot easier, and when I have been in the States, I have about lapped up the home stores that suit my pocketbook as well as my style…over in the old country, everyone does homewares.  Nice ones…..and actually changing out your style, for just one season or making your home a bit ‘fashionable’ should you want to is much more doable…I mean you can go to your local supermarket and browse the home wares section and there alongside cleaning products will be some celebrity endorsed, well-designed, and more importantly well priced cushion to throw in the end of your trolley.

Now, here, when I arrived in Australia, things were a little bit different….everything was so very much more expensive…shops where I loved the home wares (still very much made in good old China though) were charging out one regular cushion for upwards of $100 …so if I wanted to re-dress my home in say a nice chunky wool knit cushion for this season they claim is Winter ;-) or some such thing and buy more than one of them I would be looking at near to $500.


And so as I did in England I started to investigate ways to feed my habit and here it’s much more limited but there are rumblings that finally retailers are beginning to cotton on…

I have been known to feed my habit in many ways…planning daytrips to IKEA and spending entire days in there, eating, drinking and planning…perusing English websites and scheming ways to get coastal things here without huge shipping fees and bribing lovely friends to cart wallpaper over the oceans to me here Down Under (hello and thank you lovely Sue).

But things are changing and Aussie retailers are catching up with the rest of the world, yep women want great value, good design and availability and they want it at their fingertips while they are getting their groceries or dog food.

Which leads me to my trip to Kmart recently for the famous beach cottage 10 skinnies and of course a little walk around the home wares section

And I was not expecting to find what Idid.

You see it’s all still a bit hit and miss and I think very much at the mercy of who the home wares buyer is at the time and what their brief is….and the last couple of years in kmart that hasn’t been someone aiming their buying at someone like me…

…but I have still shopped there for basics and such like, because, like in clothes I find budget basics and mix ‘em in with other things and Kmart does basics exceedingly well…

So minding my own business, having a browse, completely in a world of my own and with a good hour to kill before sport pick-up, up popped in front of me a range of putty and white striped and polka dot china..and some with blue too.  I die.

Well would you look at that, blow me down with a white feather, KMart have been reading my blog ;-) , bless their little hearts and decided to design a range just for little old me in an old cottage, lost and lonely in home accessories withdrawal, deep in the heart of the beaches of Sydney.

I mean how kind of them?  Don’t you think?

A polka dot bowl for breakfast on the deck.  Yes please.

Thank you KMart.


and more budget stores habit feeding from Target… a set of these chunky but clean lined white mugs



…not for coffee silly, for flowers… ;-)




these towels are a no brainer at 15 bucks from KMart and nice and plain, hit the spot very very nicely thank you very much….piled up by a subway tile wall, priceless


and as a girl who is a white towel purist, shudder to a brown or colored towel I am very nearly constantly purchasing a white towel somewhere or other…if you want to talk about white towels, quality, price and performance, man am I your girl…




and you know what, I haven’t really found too much difference in quality…perhaps if there are just two of you a super thick, super plush white towel is worth it…but in our place where towel rotation is high x five of us I like stacks and stacks of white towels regularly updated…that means I want good quality together with good prices…no at upwards of $90 some towels are not for me…



I have also some other things to show you. More?  There’s More?  Yes there sure is baby….I think I am going to call this Beach Cottage Budget Coastal Home this week…sound good?  Oh there’s a dress in there too…talk about ****** amazing…can’t wait to show you this dress I found, I literally danced when I put it on…and it’s from the supermarket lol!

I have to go now though, errrrm as ever in this mad beach house, I have an offspring with a dirty great injury, I haven’t seen a bruise like this one before, ever, that’s what happens when kiddos do sport….but it did get us a gold medal so I suppose that’s a bonus…so we have a home from school Beach Cottage Kiddo here who needs some serious nursing… meaning I can’t stay here chatting about things to dress up your coastal style home on a budget …BUT I will be back later…blogging more than once a day?  Oh I do hope so ladies ;-)


Now tell me, anyone else found perfect beauties without robbing a bank lately….let me know, I don’t care what country you are in…I will find a way…. I need more places to feed my habit… ;-)

See ya




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49 Responses to “Beach Cottage Does Budget Homewares with a Coastal Nautical Twist”

  1. Janelle says:

    Am I first again??!! Yummy as always Sarah. Question re the white towels – how do you keep them lovely and white?? I love the look of them but they just dont seem quite so attractive when grubby!! Or is that just my filthy family??!!? And loving the sound of BC budget home week, bring it on!!! xx

    • sarah says:

      errrm I get asked this alot…I do have a lot of them so they rotate…

      I just throw them in the washing machine and I wash everything on a cold wash too…then put them out to dry in the sun…I think that is a great natural bleach….

      sometimes I use that soaker stuff like Napisan but really I don’t like the idea of that too much so limit its use

      they just seem to be fine and I have 3 very stinky males in this house lol x

    • Jasmine says:

      Janelle, vinegar also helps get rid of any sorts of grease (especially body grease!). I throw some white vinegar in almost every load I do. It’s especially great for white sheets!

      x Jasmine

  2. Glennie says:

    I don’t think you have The Warehouse there? Big red sheds they are and a bit like Kmart… I found me a set of 4 red and white egg cups – 2 x spots and 2 x stripes on special for NZ$3.99 all up – bliss – oh and they came with a little crome stand thingy!

    • sarah says:

      no we don’t but goodness I do like the sound of it….

      a big red shed full of home stuff….looking up a flight to NZ right now lol x

    • Kirsty says:

      Gotta love the Warehouse for cheap little homewares in NZ! I found some blue and white stripey and polka dotted dinnerware there over the summer, really cheap too! Every summer they do a coastal/holiday themed collection too :) I’m still jealous we have no IKEA here, seriously sad LOL xo K

  3. Alison Gibbs says:

    Gotta love KMart basics. Love the Target mugs – just perfect for your flowers

  4. Do you know how happy I am your Monday falls on my Sunday evening? It means I always have a fresh post to read when I settle into a nice hot soak. ❈ I did not buy housewares this week, I bought vet fees (It appears our cat is now infused with solid gold), a wig and a hat for a girl portraying Coco Chanel in her class Night of Notables biography project, and a new hooded shirt and zippy jacket for me. It’s def. going to be one of that let’s see what’s hiding in the freezer kind of weeks now but whatever. I’m sure nobody will mind having boiled eggs for dinner, right? ❈

    • sarah says:

      yes, it appears a few of you read me on your Sunday night, funny!

      oh yes, we had three pairs of football boots, a school bag, two pairs of trainers plus a weekend away in a hotel for sport…so I hear you!

      beans on toast in this house lol x

  5. Melinda says:

    Yes to budget buys mixed in with everything else!
    I have the stripey mugs from the same range as your spotty bowl. Very similar to Country Road but at $2 each – winner!

    on another note that Pears Soap reminds me so much of holidays in Sydney staying with my Great Aunt – summers of beach time and spoiling – just the ticket for 2 little girls on a farm. I can even smell it in your photo!


    Target have some great white towels too – and they dry you too!

    • sarah says:

      I love the smell of it! It says old fashioned clean to me xx

      I haven’t bought Target towels for ages…will have a look next time

  6. Angie says:

    Love me some Kmart… there is one that is not more than 1/2 mile from me. I duck in there quite often to pick up this and that. I have been buying there bathroom goodies for years ! I like a plain towel with none of those lines in them that pucker up when put in the dryer. Dont mind the color, they have a nice light blue and a sage green that I have stacks of. Never buy sets, only bath towels and wash cloths. All hand towels are white, as they look pretty sitting on my blue tile for guests. I do have a lovely set of white towels with ruffles that I bought from Target that are hang ups only. Hubs knows better than to touch them. Our “in use” towels are hung on the back of the door or on rack hidden from view by the Anthropolgie shower curtain. :)

  7. Sharon says:

    Target is where I buy most of my inexpensive home stuffs. I love all the white pottery they have for sale now. I have been eyeing the little pitcher you bought and, yes, I want it for flowers, too.

    About a month ago, I bought a little chubby white porcelain bird at Target for under $3. I love him. Target also has good prices on candle holders. I bought a silver mercury glass candle for just a little over $3 on sale. It’s about 4 inches tall and will make a lovely vase after I’ve burned the candle.

    I have a tight budget but can justify anything under $5. I do love those polka dot bowls you bought. Very cute.

    • sarah says:

      yes Target has some great stuff! I am always surprised how quickly it goes on sale…they seem to rotate their stock pretty quickly and so I always wait now for sale stock xo

  8. Hi Sarah…

    I cannot go past BED BATH N TABLE towels myself….as they have the little “lines”/ribs…cannot think of the word? (you know what i mean)..which make them awesome for a good drying of the body….
    I hate towels where you feel like you are slipping & sliding!! and no water is being soaked up~~~
    they ALWAYS have them on special and are FAB…

    I ALWAYS put a big splash of white king with all my white sheets/towels in the washing machine…& they ALWAYS come out white & clean..~~ along with some washing powder AND a good SPOONFUL of eucalyptus oil….

    x andrea

    • sarah says:

      Hey Andrea

      Hope all is well with you?!

      Yes I love Bed Bath N Table too, especially the sales! x

  9. kerrie says:

    These are all lovely budget friendly finds. I love me the white towels too…but even with oxi clean my family(the men!) get them grubby so I have found that a nice beige or grey works better for my family of six. My Hub and son are carpenters and boy can they get this cottage dirty. I did just buy a fresh new fluffy white bathroom rug at Sam’s club for spring(it is almost spring here) and it sure freshens the bath up. I also bought a boho throw pillow at Target for our leather chair. Ikea is still my favorite place for homewares…the price is just right. I need to go soon. I haven’t been there since the Christmas holidays.

    • sarah says:

      hmmm darn those men Kerrie..

      you are right on IKEA although in Australia like for like the IKEA prices are more, which is not so good x

  10. Karlee says:

    What good timing for a post on budget home bits sarah! I look my mum down to IKEA (first time IKEA shoppers) on Saturday. Planned the little day road trip for mums bday and it was very successful. We loved it! Got some homey things, mats, a big stock pot, cups, bowls, storage baskets, candles, throw rugs and LOTS of ideas for our up coming extensions.
    I’m a lover of junky/vintage shops, op shops, junky markets (find lots of things at these), and garage sales are sometimes good too. Trade Secret can be good and of course along with Target, K-Mart and BigDub.
    Cute polka dot bowel!
    Hope your BC Kidlet is feeling ok

  11. Kat says:

    Love my red and white stripe cups and bowls from Kmart. Just wish they did some bread and butter plates to match.
    Cheap as chips for when the kids break them, although hubby complains about how they don’t stack very well (the bowls that is) inside the cupboard.
    I used to love the Lauren Hutton range at Kmart years ago, but now you can only get that through Ezibuy.
    Nice finds Sarah.
    Hm, must get down to Kmart again soon :)

    • sarah says:

      yes I loved that range too and then it disappeared…I just caught the tail end of it when we moved here, I didn’t realise it was still going x

  12. Tiff says:

    Just this past week I had to go to Spotlight (do you have them in Sydney?) and was surprised to see those lovely glass balls with rope for hanging in different sizes starting at about $10 each. The day I went they had a 30% off storewide sale and I didn’t pick any up! Stupid is as stupid does!! At least they are still cheap in the first place.
    Then I went downstairs to Freedom and found that they have quite a few nautical themed items. Not as budget priced though . . . but I’m tempted by the gorgeous handblown glass bottles. They are huge and there are a few different shapes. They were around $50. When my daughter picked one up I guessed at around $80, so I was surprised by the price I saw.
    And finally I skipped next door to IKEA and checked out the bargain corner as I often do. Scored a glass bottomed lamp for $26 and a basket for storing towels in the main bathroom for $14. Love the IKEA bargain corner!
    Looking forward to the BC bargain corner this week :)

    • sarah says:

      oh wow, score Tiff on the bargain corner in IKEA, I have never found anything there I don’t think…xo

  13. Michelle says:

    Hi Sarah, first of all I have to ask where did you get the starfish from?? We used to collect them straight off the beach here in W.A when we were kids but it’s like they’ve vanished into thin air and you just can’t find them any more.

    I like you refuse to pay up to $90 for one cushion but am happy to report I had an excellent find by accident in target myself last week. I love Paris and anything to do with it and it’s my dream destination place, any how I was browsing the homewares and what should I find a beautiful neutral coloured cushion with Paris on it for only $27!!…..(will be putting a pic on my blog as soon as I pick it up) I love it when I find things I love by accident. I don’t like too many neutral schemes as I find they can be a bit bland but this was too lovely to leave on the shelf…..I really need to plan a trip to Ikea the next time I’m in the city as I miss it lots…..Also it is about time Australia catches up with the rest of the world in having affordable homewares stores, I have been complaining about this for years and am glad to hear it’s finally happening but things usually take a little longer to catch on here in the west even once you east coasters finally catch on…

    Love the budget ideas and please keep them coming…

    • sarah says:

      oh I pick them up in the boutiques here and online michelle

      yes I hear you the home stuff here is not one of the finer points of living in this beautiful land…errrm yeah I can trade in shopping for living by the sea I think xo

  14. Alice says:

    Love white towels… I have to go through my linen cupboard and get rid of the tons of towels we don’t use that were gifted to us (me) over the years. What do you get your daughter in law when she has just presented you with your first grand child? Burgandy towels to match the much hated red tiled bathroom floor ofcourse! What do you get your friends new daughter in law for her wedding?Some towels of course in Navy! Round of applause…..What ever happened to some nice white towels?! Mind you I have been gifted much worse but I will not go there…I do like the sound of grey though… Will have to check out Kmart and Target… Seems I have missing out! Looking foward to the week!

    • sarah says:

      haha had me on the floor Alice!!!

      you will never beat mine…what would you buy your new family member as a gift…a plastic elephant in bright green who mulit-tasks as a room freshener…



      • Alice says:

        hahahahahaha OK you win lol! I thought the $2 set of mugs (with the price tag as a bonus)with grapes and peaches all over the rim were bad…lol… But yours takes the cake to town! Too funny hahaha….

  15. alison says:

    I’m a Tarjay girl because I park on the shopping centre roof, catch the escalator down, walk straight into Tarjay, shop and then make a brisk escape back to my car. I can do the same with my local Myer linen and homewares sales by parking almost at the entrance, do a quick shop and a fast exit.

    My daughter says with great authority that the retailers ramp up their junk mail around the full moon, a time when people tend to spend more than they usually do. Anybody else heard of that?


  16. Selby says:

    Love that bluey clear glass bottle on your bathroom sink!

    Yes love budget homebuys too- Kmart for me this week getting blockout curtains for the baby’s room only $15 ea on clearance and if it helps him sleep in I’ll consider it the bargain of the year!;)

    Also eying off a target platter with a dragonfly on it in dark turquoise for $8… I don’t need it but oh be still my beating heart want want!:)


    • sarah says:

      well I hope you get sleep, I must say that blackout blinds worked a dream when we had littlies xo

  17. Kathy S says:

    Hey Sarah great post, I’m all about the budget decorating & clothes ! One of my fav stores to shop for cute girly t’s and good basics is Superstore in Canada , I don’t know if u have that inaussieland but if u do , go, u will love it !

  18. Manda says:

    Hi there Sarah!
    I picked up some putty and white striped mugs from kmart a few months ago for the beach house. And they are my absolute faves to use when I get down there, and for $2 a pop, what sane bargain hunting woman could resist ;)

    xx manda
    p.s- had a little browse through ikea today before the school pick-up, was looking out for you, but you were nowhere to be seen :(

  19. Aisling says:

    Ezibuy seems to have some nice homewares at the moment – and some good sales too.


  20. Jasmine says:

    I love that Kmart and Target are finally producing some nice homewares. I hear all about the bargains my American friends find and to replicate what they have bought would cost me hundreds!

    I might have to mosey up the mall during my lunch break tomorrow to see what Target has on offer!

    x Jasmine

  21. Laura says:

    Very cool post Sarah. Just like your fashion, you really make beautiful living tangible! xx

  22. Susan says:

    Love the white porcelain coffee mugs – I have recently upgraded all my everyday tableware to white porcelain bought on the cheap at Target – I now have a setting for 12 that I’ve picked up over a few months – it’s so much easier to have the table look nice with the porcelain.

    Love the towels – I went through a “white towel” phase, but now I have a set of pale robin’s egg blue eggs – I pick mine up at Target for $5 a piece – can’t beat the price.

    Love the starfish in the aqua bottle!

  23. Oh my gosh I can’t wait for this week’s blogs! I so…have Spring fever after being out of town last week. (WORK) I am home for the week and looking around now trying to figure out what goes outta here. Now on to the subject at hand….love me some bowls and love those polka dots. I just happened to buy a yellow polka dot mug a few years ago at Target. Haven’t seen any there since. I’m going to have to check out Target and K-mart real soon. I love me some white towels so easy to just throw in the wash and go! I don’t and have never cared for the ruffles and binds on a towel. UGH! well off to start throwing out and probably going back for inspiration to your blogs about the clean out!

  24. Amanda says:

    Reminds me of the Habitat range that you can no longer get!

    There’s a shop in St Ives, Cornwall that sells all this type of stuff and I love it!

  25. Tricia Rose says:

    In theory I have all white towels – in practice there’s a huge tatty pink towel for bathing the dog, and a small dark green towel for hair dyeing I swear I didn’t buy, a blue towel a total stranger handed me from his car to mine when a child threw up in my hands in a traffic jam (what a lovely man!) – are you beginning to see how my linen cupboard is organised?

  26. sharran miles says:

    hey sarah … i find freedom teatowels a great bargin at $2.00 ive covered dining room chairs with them and folded them
    in half to make pillows for the lounge ( putty and white stripes of course)… and lately ive been sewing 2 together for a larger pillow for the day bed on the front veranda !!! bargin bargin bargin!!!…..

  27. Bev says:

    Polka cup…… want , want , want !!!!

  28. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    Hi there Sarah i saw some awsesome beachy sort of cottage things in Sam’s wharehouse for like $1 each they were blue and white and very cute ,but i didn’t buy any cause i didn’t know what to dowith them ,but take a look if you have one ,if not lmk ad iwill goback and see if they are still there ,very distressed and homemade looking ,def worth a look ,would gonicely with your home.