Home decor doesn't have to be expensive, it just takes a little imagination and creativity to give those thrift store finds a place in your home. Don't get me wrong, spending the extra dollar to get quality pieces such as sofas and chairs is always worth the money, but when it comes to decor and small furniture pieces then the thrift store is your best friend.
I have compiled a list of my personal top 10 thrift store must haves for decorating the home.
#1 Picture Frames
There is usually no shortage of picture frames at the thrift store. From large to small, wood to metal, you can always find just the right frame for your next project. If you are planning on painting the frame then really any kind will work. But, if you are intending to use it as is for decorating purposes then I strongly suggest using real wood or real metal frames. For example, I recently curated this collection for a client and chose this intricate wood frame with brushed gold details. I simply removed the backing and glass from the frame and displayed it behind a set of books to add visual interest to the collection.
There are so many lamps sitting in the thrift store waiting for a new home and all it takes as a little bit of imagination and creativity to turn these gems into treasures. One simple way to upcycle a lamp is to spray paint the base and change out the shade. It's a easy fix and can coordinate with any decor for just a few dollars. Another idea is to turn that lamp into a dramatic new candle stick. I love how Confessions of a Serial DIYer turned these eccentric lamps into a stunning show stopping collection of candlesticks, (click the images below to see how she did it.)
#3 Hardcover Books
Hardcover books are a must have when thrift shopping. Whether they are vintage or new, simply by removing the cover they instantly become affordable home decor. Hardcover books work great for elevating candlesticks or vases when decorating your mantle or coffee table. They can also be grouped by color on your bookshelf to create a beautifully organized focal point to any room.
#4 Clear Glass Vases and Bottles
When on the hunt for inexpensive home decor always shop the glass section at any thrift store. There you can find bottles, vases, and glasses to elevate any collection. I love to pair glass with wood, solid color ceramic pieces, and of course hardcover books. There is something about the way the light bounces off the glass that adds an extra layer of interest. And, also don't be afraid to leave those glass vases and bottles empty, especially if they are intricate pieces. Let the glass be art.
Vases, vases, vases... you can never go wrong with a thrifted vase. Even the ugliest vase can get a new lease on life with just a little bit of paint. I absolutely adore how Sadie from Sadie Seasongoods turned these classic flower shop vases into these stunning statement pieces. All it took was a bit of imagination, paint, and patience to create these stunners. (Click the images above to see how she did it.)
#6 Furniture with good bones
Furniture with good bones is a must have when thrift shopping. Look for sturdy pieces made with good quality materials. I tend to gravitate towards real wood furniture pieces more often then not, but if you are handy then the possibilities are endless. Sometimes all it takes is a little elbow grease to breathe new life into a dilapidated piece of furniture and some real creativity. I love how this old library card catalog was given a new lease on life with some cleaning, paint, and legs. Now it is a beautiful statement piece for any home.
I personally cannot get enough candlesticks, especially brass, so if you see some while thrift shopping and they are at a great price then snatch them up. Brass can usually polish up nicely with a good cleaning, unless you are looking for a more rustic vintage look, then simply leave as is. You can also add some personality by dipping them in paint like Life is a Party did. The white on brass contrast is stunning.
But, if brass isn't your thing then consider painting any type of candlestick and add a larger top creating a pedestal or elevated tray. I have also seen people use multiple candlesticks to create a tiered tray. Again, its all a matter of imagination and creativity.
Lately, my new obsession has been baskets. Its something about the intricate weaving and variety of colors that appeals to my creative senses. I love simply hanging a collection of them on the wall for visual interest or using them as is to store blankets or wood by the fireplace. You can also use larger more traditional shaped baskets to create pendant lights. It's usually quite easy to cut a whole in the bottom and install a light kit. So, next time your out thrift shopping pick up a basket or two and try your hand at creating a pendant light. I bet you'll be surprised at how easy it is.
Mirrors, much like frames are another thrift store must have, even the broken and tarnished have a place in the home. If you are fortunate to find a collection of mirrors in good condition and in a variety of sizes then you can easily display them on a shelf or mantle or even create a gallery wall using the mirrors. But, if you aren't so fortunate and come across a broken mirror don't discount it. Treat that mirror as a picture frame by removing the glass and adding a piece of artwork or simply decoupaging a map or art print over the glass to create a new beautiful piece of art to hang in your home. Let your creativity be your guide.
I saved my personal favorite thrift find for last...suitcases. There is something about a worn suitcase that delights me. The worn leather, broken clasp, and ripped lining lets you now this suitcase has lived, but it's journey doesn't have to end sitting in a thrift store. Snatch it up and use your creativity to breathe new life into the suitcase. Cut it in half to create shelves. Stack a collection of them together to create a bed side table, or turn it into a medicine cabinet like A Cultivated Nest did. Give those crusty dusty well crafted suitcases a place in your home.
No matter your taste or style you can always find a gem or two at the thrift store. So don't be afraid to peruse those shelves and get your hands dirty hunting for your next masterpiece. Let the items speak to and let your creativity run wild.
This months thrift shop haul was amazing. I got so many awesome finds over the course of 3 days and it all cost around $70. So let's dive in and see what I all bought.
First up, this seagrass wrapped bench with metal legs, wood framed mirror, and wood window frame I picked up at the Restore for a whopping $20. The blue West Elm vase and bundle of sticks I purchased for $10 from one of our many Goodwills. I already have plans for these great finds.
The bench I plan to leave as is and put at the end of my bed. The mirror is going to get sanded and re-stained then also go in my bedroom. The window frame is either going to stay as is or get painted white and hang in my living room. I plan to put the sticks in a vase and set them in the corner of the living room along with the cool blue vase.
Yesterday I picked up these cool items from the other Restore in town and can't wait to turn them into some amazing treasures. The white metal wall sconces purchased for $2 are going to be spray painted black or dark grey and hang on either side of my bed as reading lights. As for the other items I haven't quite figured out yet what they all will become, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below. The ornate tarnished silver serving holders were $4 and the wood box which I think is a vegetable box was $10.
These next items I also picked up at the Restore and have some idea of what they will become. First, lets see I picked up then I'll share my ideas. I found these 3 wooden bowls for $3, this cutting board stand with 6 bar boards for $5, and a very interesting wood basket type thing for $2.
I plan to create wall art out of the bowls, so I picked up some yarn, beautiful gold pendants, gold wire, and paint from Joann Fabrics on my way home from thrift shopping. When I get an idea in my head it is best to purchase the craft supplies while I'm thinking of it. Otherwise the bowls would probably just end sitting somewhere in my house never realizing their true artistic potential.
As for the cutting boards and wood basket I haven't quite nailed down the specifics. I am thinking of possibly painting some sort of geometric design on the cuttings boards and having them be wall art, but I'm still stumped on the other item. Again, any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Next, up is this handmade wood tray with pegs I bought for $1 at the Restore. Something about it intrigued me and inspired my creativity. I'm thinking about possibly giving it a funky paint design and gluing the pegs into certain holes creating a jewelry holder to hang on the wall. What do you think?
Lastly, no haul is complete without a heavy rustic cast iron bird, weathered ceramic sphere, blue and white hardcover books, and a roll of wall paper. The bird and 8 hardcover books were found at the Salvation army for only $12, the sphere was $3 from Goodwill, and wall paper was $1 from the Restore.
This was a very productive thrift shop haul and I can't wait what other gems I find next month. As for this months great finds follow Inspire to Gather on Instagram or subscribe to the D.I.Y blog to be notified of their transformations.
Renovating and redecorating your home can be costly, but I'm here to share one of my favorite ways to freshen up your space without breaking the bank. Re-purpose what you already own.
Nowadays it is so easy to get rid of the old to make way for the new, but isn't it time to stop being a throw away society. It's time to love what your already own. I know sometimes you must replace the broken or worn out with a shiny new piece of furniture, but when you just need to freshen up the space then rework what is already sitting in your home.
When redecorating your home begin by emptying the space of the pieces of furniture and décor your looking to replace. Then decide on the style and mood you want your space to evoke. Is it light and airy or warm and cozy. Do you gravitate towards rustic and farmhouse or modern and chic? Also, look to Pinterest and home décor magazines for inspiration.
Once you have decided on how you want your space to look and feel, walk through your house and see what furniture and décor you already own that can be given new life to create the space you desire. Maybe instead of your foyer table being used in the entryway it will work perfectly has a narrow desk or bedside table in your bedroom and your dresser would make the perfect console table. Keep in mind when looking at furniture pieces that sometimes a simple sanding and a fresh coat of paint or stain can make all the difference.
Not long ago I was redecorating my house and decided this old outdated fireplace mantel that was in our dining room needed a second chance at life before I tossed it to the curb. I pried off the decorative pieces, gave it a fresh coat of white paint, and moved it into the living room where it has now become the focal point of the room. All it took was seeing the potential in this tired piece of furniture and a little determination to make my space feel new and fresh again. (See the fireplace transformation in my home renovation blog).
Besides redoing furniture you can also freshen up a space simply by moving décor from one room to another or changing the placement of the décor in the room. Maybe it's time to move the floor lamp from behind the couch to the other side of the room by the chair. Or, maybe create a clutter free look on the bookshelves by removing the book covers and grouping them by color, or flipping the books around to show the pages. You would be amazed how this little trick lightens up the space. Just look at the before and after below. I know it's a subtle difference but it feels lighter and more organized.
My other advice is to simply try it. Move different pieces into your space. Maybe they will work and maybe they won't but you won't ever know unless you try. Also, sometimes you need to move a certain piece of furniture or décor into a particular room, leave it there, walk out of the room for a few minutes, then return and see how it makes you feel. Do you still like that vase on that shelf? Is that chair right for that corner of the room or was it better in the other room?
Often times I will move items from one room to another several times before making a commitment and there is nothing wrong with that. Just put on your creative hat and get moving. Try something new with something old. You will be amazed at all the treasures you find laying around your house.
Corners are an essential design aspect of any room. They often house coat racks, floor lamps, plants, and many dust bunnies. But, when you have the right space, a corner is ideal for a cozy reading nook.
The other day I transformed my living room simply by moving one funky black and white modern chair to the corner of the room. This simple move opened up my entire space and created an extra special seating area.
Before long I was roaming around the house finding vases, candle holders, and anything that would add more personality to the once empty space.
First I tried the herringbone vase, some glass bottles, a newly purchased black and white sphere and a stack of books, which I loved but decided they took up too much of the tables surface.
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