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A First-Time Furniture Flipper’s Dreamy DIY


Living alone for the first time is a special milestone: an opportunity to find out not just what you like, but also what you can accomplish. For Emily Sanchez, a San Diego business owner and content creator, moving into her first solo home has been a journey of growth and independence. She’s learned a lot about herself — and she’s learned a lot of skills, too.

Decorating a small space on a budget means that Emily is constantly using her creativity in new ways. She’s always ready to rescue a piece of furniture or decor from the curb or the local thrift shop, and she loves to scour antique stores and online marketplaces. Recently, Emily decided to take her secondhand skills even further and do her first furniture flip. Along for the ride: the first-ever Toyota Corolla Cross, a sleek, compact SUV that has enough room for all your thrifted treasures and diamonds in the rough.

Emily was looking for a chic, multipurpose storage ottoman that would complement her existing living room furniture. Unable to find what she was looking for within her budget, she decided to make it herself. “I wanted to showcase something I created on my own,” she says. “It would be a great conversation starter when hosting!”

Before You Flip, Ask Yourself This Question

How do you want your space to feel? For Emily, who’s long dreamed of having a place to call her own, the answer was cozy and welcoming — both to friends and to herself. “I can still picture myself in my childhood bedroom before leaving for college, thinking about how my biggest goal was to have my own place in a city I loved,” she says. “Now, I feel nostalgic and warm inside knowing that I have created such a cozy and safe space for myself.”

Emily decorated with those feelings in mind, from her plethora of plants and antique accents to her warm, neutral color palette. She approached her furniture flip the same way. The ottoman adds an “always room for one more” feel to her space, and the new soft shape and touchable sherpa fabric make it extra inviting.

Be Open to Where Inspiration Takes You

For Emily, thrift and antique stores aren’t only for shopping. They’re also endless sources of new ideas. She keeps her eyes peeled for looks she loves and can recreate in her own style. And she stays open to new style infatuations, like her recent obsession with taper candle holders and wicker baskets. (She actually collected so many that she needed to re-thrift some!)

From striking out on your own to trying your hand at different projects, attempting new things is about building skills and confidence. Whatever the final result, you’re going to learn something! “When it comes to decorating or doing anything creative, I tend to learn as I go,” Emily says. “I find a way! It always ends up working out somehow.”

Once Emily has the germ of an idea, she researches it to plan her approach. She recommends that anyone thinking about taking on their first flip approach it with a similar attitude. “You won’t regret it,” she says. “The first time for anything can be a little intimidating, but you’ll only learn from it. And it will make you comfortable for other projects in the future!”


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