A round-up of 30 of the most common items to buy while thrift shopping that can be transformed into home decor using a few simple changes.
After a decade of scouring thrift stores for home decor and furniture, I’ve noticed a trend in the typical common staples, the other-man’s-junk-taken-for-granted kind.
In the beginning of my marriage as a stay-at-home mom, I shopped at the local thrift store to find furniture to paint and resell to help us pay bills when funds were tight. Over time, it turned into something less of necessity and more about the thrill of the scavenger hunt.
So when I was looking around our house the other day (okay, actually cleaning up a billion LEGOs) thinking about how much of our furniture and wall decor and accents and kitchenware were just a couple of bucks at the local thrift shop, I thought maybe it would be fun to compile a big list of the best items to look for to find the greatest potential for your home on the cheap, if thrifting doesn’t come easily for you.
But first, a few tips…
Thrift Shopping Tips for the Best Finds
- Visit thrift stores often – especially on weekdays 9-5 while most people are at work so it’s less picked over (a quick run in on your lunch break is a good time to check thrift store inventory)
- Keep a “Be on the Lookout” list – jot down a few items you need at the moment and keep them in the notepad on your phone so you have some guidance on what to look for
- Get to know the best shopping times at your local store – the more you shop, the more you’ll come to notice a pattern for the best times and days to shop your thrift store. Each store is different and it can be difficult to predict unless you visit often.
- Keep an open mind – Remember that most items can be easily painted so color doesn’t always matter. Think outside the box for things you can repurpose.
30 Home Decor Items You Should Always Buy While Thrift Shopping:
2. Light Fixtures
3. Picture Frames
Picture frames are one of the best decor items to buy at thrift stores, and they’re always in abundance!
Even if a frame has a piece of art in it that isn’t your style, remove it and put in your own. It’s still way cheaper than buying a frame brand new. Paint it or leave it as-is. And if it’s a little rough, wood filler can patch it right up.
Collect different shapes and sizes to create an eclectic gallery wall. Get creative and even attempt your own DIY scenic painting using a thrifted frame.
5. Christmas Villages
13. Coffee tables
14. End tables
“Santa Claus” shops at the thrift store fairly often around here. We’ve found a play kitchen, a doll stroller, and even did a thrifted dollhouse makeover.
17. Table Linens
18. Jars and Canisters
19. Old Rugs
20. Old Calendars or Sheet Music
24. Cigar Boxes
25. Dining Tables
26. Cutting Boards
If you love the look of a rustic kitchen, cutting boards are perfect for finding in thrift stores. Sand them smooth, apply some food grade mineral oil, and you’ve got a beautifully weathered and ready to use cutting board.
28. Seasonal Decor
30. Dishes and Servingware
Frequently Asked Questions
Stay away from stuffed animals, car seats, dated baby gear, computers, pet furniture, mattresses, upholstered headboards, vacuums, bedding, or cribs.
If you’re looking to make a profit flipping thrift store items, you can sell on eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to help your family earn a little extra income. The best thrift store items to resell are furniture, books, frames, name brand clothing, vinyl albums, LEGO, name-brand clothing, vintage video game console, stereos, and cameras.
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