Whether it’s the thrill of the hunt or the satisfaction of scoring a real bargain, thrift stores can be the most exciting places to find interesting and one-of-a-kind décor for your home. There are some tricks, though, to finding those treasures at your local Salvation Army or church resale shop. Here are our best tips for transforming your home with ordinary thrift store items.
Have fun exploring
When you visit a thrift store, it’s best not to be looking for a very specific item – like an orange mid-century sofa, for example. Chances are you’ll be disappointed. Instead, think of it like a treasure hunt. Explore what they have to offer and use your imagination to discover new uses for old items.
If you’re new to the thrift store game, start small and build up from there. While you may have a huge project in mind involving a dresser and chalkboard paint, try experimenting first on smaller pieces – like an old frame that can be transformed into a shabby chic chalkboard for your kitchen.
You really never know what you’re going to find on each trip, and merchandise changes every day at most stores. If you go often, you’re more likely to find interesting items that you just can’t live without.
Beware of hoarding
On the flip side of visiting the stores often, you do want to beware of crossing the line from collector to hoarder. It can be easy to imagine transforming an object into a work of art, but if it’s more likely to sit in your garage for the next five years unfinished, then skip it.
Use your imagination
Many of the items have landed in the thrift store because their former owners deemed them ugly or outdated. So it pays to have a little imagination when you walk in the doors. Yes, that owl figurine looks like it just flew in from 1977, but with a coat of white paint, it’ll look like you just swooped it off the shelf from Anthropologie – and at a much better price.
Items to look for
It can be overwhelming to step inside some thrift stores because there’s just so much stuff! But there are certain items that are the best deals. Keep your eye out for:
- Trunks and old suitcases – great for storage or for stacking as a side table.
- Lamps – can easily be painted or given a new shade for a fraction of what you’d spend at a retail store.
- Artwork and frames – great for making a gallery wall, especially if you spray paint all the frames the same color.
- Dishes – if you like a rustic, mismatched look then the thrift store is a great place to pick up really interesting dishes.
- Furniture with good bones – maybe those dining chairs have outdated upholstery or that desk is a hideous color, but those are cosmetic issues that can be changed. Look for sturdy construction that stands the test of time.
How to Decorate with Thrift Store Finds