One of my favorite things to do is to go thrift shopping. I honestly have to stop myself from going All of the time. When it comes to decorating a home, finding items that are unique and will save you money is one of my main focuses. Going thrifting for home decor items can be so much fun but it can also be overwhelming. This is why I put together a list of my top 10 thrift store home decor finds. I also share tips, why you should thrift, where to go, how to decorate your home with your thrifted finds, and lastly what to stay away from when thrifting.
Let’s get right into it!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through those links. I have used and recommend products from companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy.
Top 10 thrift store home decor finds
When I go thrifting for vases I like to focus on the shape versus the color. You can easily change their look by spraying or painting them to change the color. They come in all different shapes and sizes and can be used in pretty much every room in the house.
WARNING! Before grabbing a paintbrush and painting any vintage or antique find, be sure to check its value first. If you feel it has some value, start by just going on Google and gathering information, get the item appraised online, or visit your local antique dealer. You don’t want to find out later after you’ve painted an item that it had some big value.
This vase I purchased for $3.99 and painted It by mixing some latex paint, baking powder and a little dirt to add more texture.
This is what the vase looks like now. I also thrifted these amber bottles and encyclopedias in the photo below!
Artwork is a great way to add wall decor without breaking the bank. You can easily paint over the art or enhance it by adding more color. You can also change the frame if you just like the art. For a vintage look, leave it as is.
I found the artwork below at a yard sale. It’s perfect for fall!
Old frames are wonderful too. I like to display them as is.
Bowls and dinnerware are also great to style hutches or place in your kitchen. Just be aware, if purchasing antique dishes use them only for decor. Antique dishes may contain lead oxide which isn’t safe to eat out of.
This vintage set is a perfect display to stage this refinished oak dining table.
I like to purchase pitchers to use as display in a kitchen or hutch. These also make great vases.
Ahhh who doesn’t love a good basket? Thrift stores have all sorts of baskets to choose from. You can use them for storage, hang them on doors as wreaths with some florals, or purchase flat ones and use them as wall decor.
This hand made basket is great for storing blankets!
Books are great thrift store home decor finds because you can get them for a great deal. You can choose to get a ton of vintage books for your bookshelves or find great reads to style your coffee table. I like to get older books with earthy and neutral tones.
This one is one of my favorite things to shop for at the thrift store. I have recently become a lamp hoarder 🙃. I just can’t seem to leave these little beauties behind! Also, have you looked online and tried purchasing a nice lamp? They can be expensive! I love creating dupes and transforming the look of some of these lamps. Some are great just as is!
I usually just shop for the base and purchase a new shade elsewhere but lamps are incredible to add some additional lighting to your home.
Here are some lamps I have worked on. For more, checkout 5 Thrifted Lamp Makeover Ideas.
Can you believe these are the same lamps?
Ok, if you’ve been following me on social media you know I love to refinish furniture. Finding furniture for free or for a really low price and then making it look completely different is a passion of mine.
Mixing vintage and antique furniture with modern pieces looks great in any home.
Look at this fluted bar cabinet! I’ve seen so many people DIY this look. This piece would look incredible painted and I would add some legs to make it more modern!
#8 Wood decor
From cutting boards to display in your kitchen to wooden bowls or trays, bringing a natural element like wood into your home is wonderful. Don’t shy away from dark wood. If you find a wooden piece thats too dark remember you can always sand it and reveal the natural wood.
I found this cute wooden bowl a while ago but wasn’t a big fan of the red.
(If you are looking for a great sander for DIY projects or projects around your home, I highly recommend Surfprep. I have the 3×4 Electric ray sander. Use code PBYP10 for 10% off!)
#9 Candle holders
Create ambiance with candles for a very low price. In my opinion, you can never have too many. These are great for any occasion. I love to use candle stick holders for my table setting. Like these brass candle stick holders I used for my Thanksgiving table setting
You can purchase vintage candelabras which are popular during the holiday season or get unique ones like these below that are great for the fall. They can be sprayed or left as is.
Check out this antique mirror. If you look online for an antique mirror, something similar to this will cost you well over $500. This one was on sale for $200.
Why shop at a thrift store for home decor
Ok so now that we know the top thrift store home decor finds, the question is why shop at a thrift store? This one is obvious but its so much cheaper! If you are looking to decorate your home, shopping at thrift stores can save you a lot of money.
Items can easily be changed to fit your style too. You can easily change the color of an item without feeling guilty about how much you paid.
You’ll also have a unique item to display in your home. Part of designing a home is about bringing pieces you love and that is unique to your experiences, likes, and personality.
Where to buy thrifted home decor in person and online
If you are from the east coast like me, popular thrift stores like Savers and Goodwill are go tos for thrifting. There’s also your local mom and pop thrift stores and Salvation Army. Once the weather starts getting warm, local yard sales and flea markets are great.
Also, I did not know this but, did you know that you can shop Goodwill online? You can bid on items at Shop Goodwill .
My favorite place to shop online for thrifted items is Facebook Marketplace. I found my front door on Facebook for $250! Yes! You heard that right $250! This is a solid wood door and I was getting quoted well over 2k when I started shopping around for one. I love to shop for furniture on there too!
Other great online places to thrift shop are Etsy, OfferUp, EBay, and Everything but the House.
Like I’ve mentioned before, thrifting can be overwhelming and this is why its best to be prepared when you go thrift shopping. Here are some tips!
Have a plan
When going thrift shopping make sure you have an idea of what you are looking for. You may have to dig for the items you want and as fun as browsing a thrift store sounds (and sometimes I go just to browse) I find that you leave empty handed and feeling overwhelmed. Some thrift stores can be very cluttered. Go with a list on hand or in mind of what exactly you are looking for. Looking for vases? Then aim to search for that and when you find what you are looking for then you can browse and see what other items you are drawn to.
Pick up the items you like
Once you find an item you like place it in your cart, even if you are unsure you’re going to buy it. There’s a chance that if you leave it on the shelf it may not be there when you go back for it. Remember, most of the time there aren’t multiple of the same item.
Go multiple times
When thrifting, go multiple times and browse the aisles a few times. You’ll see items you may have missed when walked by before. If you go multiple times you’ll see newer items stocked and you’ll start to see what days are best to go.
Learn the good days
Most thrift stores restock items daily but one of the best times to go thrift shopping is early in the morning on Mondays or Tuesdays. You can ask an employee if they have specific days that they stock new items. Some stores even have days where they add additional discounts to items.
How to decorate with thrift store finds
I wish I had a better photo of how I decorate my thrift finds in my own home but it’s currently empty from all the holiday cleaning. I’m also not the best at remembering to capture the rooms in my home as they all need some updating (we have lots of home projects coming up!). Along with home decor, thrifting has given me a chance to get items I love and display them to stage my refinished furniture.
Choose items you love and fit your style
Look online for inspiration first. See what items you are drawn to when searching and aim for getting similar items when you are out shopping.
DIY and upgrade your thrifted find
This one is right up my alley! Sometimes I like to challenge myself and find items that I can change. You can make a simple change by simply cleaning, staining, or polishing your item. Or you can turn it into a bigger project and decide to change the look completely. Painting can make a big difference so most of the time that is my first thought.
Look for unique items
Sometimes items from big department stores find their way to second hand stores. You can most certainly get those things because after all, its priced much lower but I like to incorporate unique items. It doesn’t have to be a ton of unique items but something that stands out and is one of a kind.
Stick to a theme
Purchase items that work well together if using them in the same space. Choose colors that compliment each other and fit the theme of the room. They can be similar in colors but try and get different textures and shapes.
What to stay away from when thrift shopping
Now that you know what to buy when shopping for thrift store home decor items, here’s a list of the things you should stay away from.
I mentioned this one before but unless you are using these antique dishes for decor, antique dishes may contain lead oxide and is not safe to eat from. This applies to antique or vintage dishes only so do your research and make sure it is safe.
If you have the time and energy to fix the item then go for it but sometimes its just not worth it. Some items may require a lot of work and time to fix.
Painted Antique/Vintage Furniture
I have noticed that some furniture artist sell their pieces at thrift stores. These pieces are ok to buy if you know they have been recently painted. If its an old piece of furniture with the same old paint finish you have to be careful. Painted vintage and antique furniture may contain lead.
I tend to stay away from fabrics and upholstered items altogether. Especially if it smells, ughhh this is a pain in the butt to deal with. Depending on the item, it can take a lot of work to remove the odor.
Items for Kids
Be careful when purchasing items for kids. Old painted items can contain lead and items like bassinets may not meet today’s safety standards.
And there you have it. I hope you found this post helpful. Going to the thrift store for your home decor can take some time to get use to but the more you go the better you’ll be at finding the right items for you and your home.
Have you gone thrifting? Leave a comment below and share your best thrift store find! I would love to hear about it! Haven’t thrifted yet? Give it a try! You’ll be surprised by what you find and all the money you’ll save.