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Home Decor: Buy Used.

I love art. Good art. Bad art. And everything in between art. I generally just look and don't touch. Occasionally, however, I give myself permission to splurge and pick up a piece that really catches my eye. I have been known to buy something from a local artist, and take great pleasure in supporting our local arts community.

I was at an auction last week at Dan Ripley's Antique Helper and got into a discussion with a friend about my philosophy on auctions. I'm not a dealer, and I can barely call myself a collector of much. So my approach is very simple: I buy things I like to look at and will enjoy living with. If the price seems fair, then by all means go for it.

I'm not overly concerned with a piece's pedigree or provenance. I can't keep up with what's fashionable. But I know what pleases my eye. Those are the things I watch out for.

That day, I picked up two large Tibetan paintings, a small persian rug and some Mid-Century ceramics. He took home several sets of Mid-Century Modern dishes and a nice Broyhill bedroom suite. Neither of us overpaid, because we weren't buying to sell. We were buying to keep and enjoy. Sure, I may turn around some day and sell some or all of what I bought. Should that happen, I'd be happy to at least get my money back.

In the mean time, however, I'll enjoy walking into my family room and seeing an historic piece of pottery and a beautiful, one-of-a-kind painting. And I'll place that small rug in front of my guitar amp so my feet stay warm while I'm noodling on my pawn-shop-purchased guitar. All for less than the price of a decent meal for two.

If you're looking for some enjoyable things to have in your home, visit a local artist on a First Friday gallery walk. Make a resale shop like IndySwank or an auction house your first stop next time. Swing through a thrift store or Goodwill. You never know what you might find.