We are slowly coming out of the pandemic (unless you live in Michigan) and there are many “new normals.”  Mask wearing will be the new fashion statement for years to come. Those of us who follow the science will know that the safe thing to do in our new Covid world is to wear one.  But another one of the “new normals” I am starting to see is inflation.  Many have never known inflation. It wreaks havoc on just about everything. The cost of everything is going through the roof – food, needlepoint canvases, gas, clothing, lumber, household supplies. cars – it’s a very long list. When something costs 20 percent more, double, even triple than a year ago, often you just say no.

I was in Lowe’s yesterday picking up an item that a year ago was $15. It’s now $24.  I needed to buy it, I would have bought four, so instead I bought two.  While there, I ventured to the outdoor furniture section.  I saw this cute set from a distance:

What blew my mind was the price (almost $500) and the quality (dreadful). This set will last maybe two seasons. That’s a lot of money for very cheap set of furniture. Before I went to Lowe’s I ran into one of the local antique malls (for the first time is about 14 months).  There were two or three outdoor tables and chairs. One caught my eye, a nice round table for four and a set of chairs, for $225. I bet you could buy it for $200.  It was very good quality, in good condition, black, comfortable chairs, in need of cushions (an easy fix).  I thought that maybe it would be nice to have that by the barn to sit outside and relax, maybe have a meal there, or just vegetate.  This is what it looked like but only in black:

My point, with inflation, our money no longer goes nearly as far as it once did. We become very price sensitive as prices rise exponentially.  When a loaf of bread costs $7 you quit eating bread.  So we will have to learn to adjust our expectations and we change our habits.  Vintage, which has always been a bargain becomes a better bargain and for some reason, I can’t understand why most don’t shop vintage for household items already.  Refinish a table, paint over ugly brown furniture.  Recover a good quality chair. As the price of new goes up and up, we will reconsider these options.

Etsy is not an ideal source to buy your rough chairs (it will cost more to ship than to buy) but it can be an inspiration.  I love these painted chairs.  Go to your local antique mall, outdoor markets, flea markets for great finds. The quality can be so much better.  You can find upholstery fabric online if you don’t have a good local source.  A good upholstered piece will be usable for 20+ years.  Then recover it again.