My husband and I bought our first house this past spring, and since we, you know, wiped out our life savings to do so, we only had a limited amount of funds available to furnish and decorate it. Normally I would say going cheap is not the answer when furnishing your home, but as you might come to expect if you’re coming here to read, there are certain things that lend themselves well to thrift store shopping, and small décor is one of them. Hell, even furniture can be found at thrift stores if you have the eye and the wherewithal to fix it up (enter Mary Ann, the world’s most helpful mother in law) – but that’s a future post.
Here are a few things to look out for when putting the finishing touches on decorating your home with thrift store finds:
1. LOOK FOR ORIGINAL ART OR NICE QUALITY ART PRINTS
For the most part, you’re going to find peoples’ discarded crappy art at thrift stores. Even their children’s art! Is there anything sadder at a thrift store than finding someone’s kid’s drawing they labored hours over and their parents heartlessly threw it out? Answer: probably. But every now and then, you might find amazing, most likely strange, original art that is actually good. I urge you to look at the small picture frame section, as that section often gets overlooked in lieu of the large wall hanging section.
You can also look for high quality art prints. Yes, you’ll probably find a ton of Norman Rockwell, and if that’s your thing, so be it. Topical Star Wars reference: I recently scored an unlicensed, highly collectable Darth Vader screen printed mirror for $6.99, which is probably even a little high for a thrift store.
2. LOOK FOR TRAYS FOR ALL YOUR KNICK KNACKS
One way to make all of your thrifted crap not look like a pile of thrifted crap is to organize them on a tray. Thrift stores have tons of trays, most of them crappy. But you do find quite a few silver, chrome, or mirrored handled trays that look great with stuff on top of them. I’ve picked up a very old chrome tray for a couple bucks, and I’ve even started to branch out to psychedelic fiberglass trays from the ‘60s.
3. DECORATIVE GLASS BOTTLES!
Another thing thrift stores have too many of: glass bottles and vases. It might be overwhelming to go through, but vintage glass bottles in different colors are a great thing to look for at a thrift store because they are easy to place around your home as sort of background décor. I personally like bright turquoise and olive green glass. Interesting-shaped Avon bottles from the 1950s and 1960s are a good choice. A poodle perhaps?
4. LOOK FOR MID CENTURY CANDLESTICK HOLDERS AND KNICK KNACKS
If you go to my Etsy shop you will find a ton of mid-century candlestick holders, in teak, walnut and brass. I really wish I could keep them myself but you only need so many candlestick holders, you know? The really great wood candlestick holders (think mod hourglass shaped, or that honey dipper thingy shape) are often not in the thrift store’s candle section, but thrown in with miscellaneous wood décor and baskets. Likewise, the brass might be with the silver and metals section.
Other great retro pieces to shop for: kitschy salt and pepper shakers, interesting looking bookends, and little figurines.
Click on the pictures below to view the candlestick holders for sale in the shop. More thrifting tips to come! If you have an idea or any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!