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.
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