10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores
10 home decor items easily found in thrift stores along with ideas and project tutorials to decorate with them for a designer look.
A month ago, I had a moment when I said to myself, “I’m going to get a gym membership and finally get into amazing shape, and it’s going to be the best decision I ever made.”
Well… I did get that gym membership. And the getting into shape thing is sort of happening. But there was one little flaw in my best-decision-ever plan. My gym is right across the street from my favorite thrift store.
So each morning, after hopping off of the elliptical machine, that little voice in my head, the one that normally talks me into eating “only one more doughnut”, says to me, “I wonder what goodies are in the thrift store today. Hmm…”
And then our garage ends up packed with projects.
Some of my favorite decor items in our house are from thrift stores, and they’re items you could find in pretty much any of them. If you’ve never ever thrifted before, it can be tricky finding the treasures in the trash heap, but I promise there is hope! These 10 items are the best ones to put on your hit list.
10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores:
- Frames and Wall Decor-
I hardly ever buy picture frames in a retail store because there are so many beautiful ones already in thrift shops for a couple of bucks each. Spray paint them or distress them with chalk paint and they’re instantly customized for the look you want.
I’ve seen so many gorgeous mirrors on my thrifting adventures and they’re so easy to transform with paint. If you see a mirror with a frame you really love but would rather have a picture on your wall instead, pop the mirror out (carefully of course) and frame a piece of art with it instead.
3. Vases, Bottles, and Candle Holders
There are soooo many pretty vases, jars, and bottles every time I visit the thrift store, and if you like the eclectic look, they’re easy to scatter on mantels, shelves, or tables to fill with flowers. (Just don’t go too overboard or it could look cluttery.)
Keep an eye out for a set of candle holders too, and if you hate the finish of them, just add paint. Place some dollar store candlesticks in them and enjoy.
4. Dome Clocks-
Dome clocks, or anniversary clocks, are my favorite for ripping the innards out and placing seasonal decor inside for a French cloche look. I made a pumpkin terrarium out of an old clock last fall, and it’s so easy to change every couple of months to fill with a little bit of nature. Thrift stores have them laying around all the time in my town.
5. Dishes, Pitchers, and Servingware
I’ve scored so many great pitchers and dishes over the years to use for entertaining. Some have even been name brand designer pieces. I always like to stick to the classic pieces- you can never go wrong with plain white and simple glass.
6. Wood Furniture
Thrift stores get in dressers and tables all the time that only need a little sanding, a quick paint job, or a change in hardware. (Here’s a short and simple beginner’s guide if you’ve never painted furniture.) Just make sure to test it first- if a drawer is broken or a table is warped or wobbly, and you know it won’t be an easy fix, walk away.
7. Lamps and Light Fixtures (if you can test them)
A couple of the thrift stores I frequent have outlets available next to their lighting section so shoppers can plug in lamps and fixtures to test them out before taking them home. Our scroll lamp in our foyer was only $2.00!
The vast majority of Olivia’s toys that she receives at Christmas or on her birthday come from thrift stores or consignment sales. Most of the time, all they need is a cleaning and they’re ready to be loved. She likes thrifting with me because she usually gets to test out the goodies in the toy section. Telling her she can’t take all of them home is the hard part. 😉
You can read more about some of her toy makeovers in this post.
The book sections of thrift stores are FULL of great reads along with antique hardbacks. The bookworm and decorator in me rejoices every time. Most books sell for just 50 cents in my area.
If you get lucky though, sometimes you can stumble upon a book with beautiful illustrations that are worthy of framing. I still love our book page art in our foyer and our window botanicals in our master bathroom.
10. Baskets, Buckets, and Trays-
I’ve had to ground myself from buying anymore baskets, buckets, and trays because I find so many cute ones all the time! Use baskets for extra small storage around the house, buckets for planters, and trays for coffee table decor.
But a couple of things I absolutely refuse to buy at the thrift store…
- Upholstery- Unless I’m completely in love with an upholstered piece of furniture and it passes the “sniff test”, it stays. But I’ve never found a winner to this day. Not to mention, there’s potential for bed bugs.
- Pillows- I keep several down pillow inserts and just replace the covers to help with the cost and storage space (you can see my favorite summer pillow covers here), but thrift store pillows? I’m always terrified what germs/bugs might be lurking on/in them.
Do you have any items you always pick up at thrift stores? Or anything on your do-not-buy list? Or a favorite thrift store that always calls your name every time you drive by? I think I need a new gym… these post cardio shopping trips are going to get me into trouble. 😉
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