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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:

  1. 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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

2. Mirrors-

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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!

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

8. Toys

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. šŸ˜‰

You can read more about some of her toy makeovers in this post.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

9. Books

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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.

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

But a couple of things I absolutely refuse to buy at the thrift store…

  1. 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.
  2. 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. šŸ˜‰

P.S. If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

10 Items to Always Buy at Thrift Stores | blesserhouse.com - Lots of great, inexpensive home decor ideas from the thrift store!

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86 Comments

  1. I agree with your list, totally. I am one of the biggest germ-a-phones I know and I’ve actually bought pillows with down inserts. Here’s what I do….put the pillow in a black trash bag in my garage for at least two weeks. (Closed securely ) Then throw the insert in the dryer after the at least two week waiting period. I’ve not had a bad experience yet but it has to be one swanky pillow for me to go thru the effort.

    1. You can wash pillows, even feather/down ones. I do it all the time. I’ve bought lots of feather pillows in thrift shops, The covers are usually ugly so I either toss them or wash them and re-thrift them. Then I wash the pillows in hot water with bleach and soap and then dry them. You do have to dry them for forever but it’s worth the extra time and expense. I’ve never paid more than $2 for a pillow, even an all goose down one that would cost upwards or even over $30.

  2. I have been wanting to purchase old silverware to use for everyday use and have been confused as to what to look for when purchasing them so I have not even started looking. Do I puchase silver plate so I don’t have to polish silver or should I just purchase silver or a mixture of both?

    In purchasing china for everyday use is there any in particular I should look for or just look for what I like? Thank you so much in advance for any and all info you can give me.

    1. I never really thought about it, Laurie. I guess it just depends on your personal preference. I personally would not want the hassle of polishing but the real silver I’m sure has more antique value. I think the same would go for china. I love my plain white porcelain though.

    2. I have silverplate that I put through the dishwasher daily. As long as it is not in contact with stainless steel, you are fine. Occasionally, I do need to clean it because there are chemical reactions with certain foods, ie eggs. Silver is so valuable that it will never be in a consignment store. They sell it on eBayor at a pawn shop. I bought Christmas dishes so that I can have a beautiful holly theme for the holidays. And, I gave my first daughter to get married her grandmother ‘s dishes and bought a beautiful blue and white set for my next daughter. It was made near the town in which she went to college so it also had sentimental value. Goodwill and Savers are invaluable for the newly minted college grad when she needs clothes to wear to an interview. I like to embroider so I buy kits , not for the actual project but for the flosss. Can you tell that we use thrift stores all the time?

  3. Agreed, thrift stores are awesome, I get a lot of my frames there as well….but to be honest, I uncover my best finds from estate sales. The older, more ‘packed’ the house is, the more likely I’ll find a diamond in the rough to take home. Past finds include vintage silverplate flatware for song, replacing china pieces from my patter than have been broken or chipped, and best of all – an original honey jar which was identical to a broken family heirloom. I snapped it up and now have a sentimental piece that is beautiful, useable and that can pass down to my children as well.

    1. Yes! I haven’t had as much experience with estate sales, but they have some of the best finds for sure. You’ve had some great scores it sounds like!

  4. I am so glad I stumbled onto your blog! I’m a new follower and find such inspiration here. I have always sort of steered clear of thrift shops and wasn’t really sure why. Today’s blog told me why – I didn’t know what I was looking for! I sure do know now! In fact, I plan on visiting some this weekend. Thank you for your inspiration!

  5. Love your blog today, I can so relate….
    I don’t have a gym membership and don’t plan to get one but we live in the country near a rather small city and every time I go to town, I pass several thrift stores. My car is trained to stop at each one, just in case there might be a treasure that I ‘need’. I like to re-purpose and it is amazing what I find for that. My workshop is chock full of projects. Not sure I will live long enough to get them all done but I’m gonna try.

      1. I like to buy sturdy, bib aprons there…..don’t know why, but there are always some around. I like to buy fabric, meaning drapes, curtains, and use as pillow covers, table runners. Oh, I know how to sew, so I guess that helps. But the simple things I make can be made with “Stitch Witchery”……just iron the edges together!

      2. I love thrifting. My favorite thing to buy and flip are teacups and saucers and even pretty and delicate looking mugs. I check the bottoms and if it’s Aynsley or Royal Albert or any other name I’m familiar with I put it in my cart. I usually do quite well flipping them on Ebay,