Have you ever wondered what home decor items to buy at the thrift store that will stand the test of time and ever-evolving styles and trends? If you are new to thrift shopping it can be hard to see beyond the cluttered racks of random stuff, last year I shared my list of Kitchen Items you should buy at thrift stores, and now I am following up with my favorite Home Decor Items you can almost always find at thrift shops.
To help you find the hidden gems among the thrift store junk, I am sharing my 10 favorite pieces I tend to always buy at the thrift store. These inexpensive thrift store staples will stand the test time and are versatile enough to adapt to the evolution of your design aesthetic.
Milk Glass is a thrift store staple that is as versatile as it is cheap. I never have any problems finding single bud vases, large floral arrangement vases, and candy dishes at my local Goodwill. Milk glass has been around a LONG time and rare antique pieces can be highly sought after and command a top dollar (check out this beautiful lace trim plate), but the items I often encounter are usually mass-produced pieces made for florists and have little to no resale value. Regardless of the resale value, Milk Glass looks stunning displayed as a collection particularly in the spring around Easter time, and during the winter holidays, but individual pieces also work well with many different decor styles.
Thrift shops are gold mines for picture frames! Ignore what is housed in the frame, and maybe even the frame color, spray paint is cheap and goes a long way on picture frames. I like to look for unique shaped frames, elaborate details or decorative accents, and multiples of the same frame.
Vintage Canning Jars
Vintage Ball Canning Jars are always a good find at thrift shops. Mason jars have never really gone out of style, and they have so many uses. You can DIY soap dispensers, use them in the bathroom to corral cotton balls, and q-tips, or even repurpose them into lighting. Really the sky is the limit with mason jars!
I have been a china dinnerware lover and collector for longer than I care to admit and have noticed the more popular the “minimalist movement” gets, the cheaper complete sets of China becomes. I frequently see sets I know were originally amassed with hundreds or even thousands of dollars, for $20. Of course, China looks great in a china cabinet, but you can use plate wall-hangers and group the plates in a large cluster on a wall for a gallery effect, hang them on your kitchen backsplash, or even serve holiday dinner on them. Don’t overlook “orphaned” dinnerware either! Single plates can be used to serve stuff, store your jewelry in your bedroom, like a vanity tray, and be used for DIY’s like this 3 tier vintage Plate Server.
Metal Accent Pieces
Add an interesting patina to your home with copper, brass, and silver. Shop for often-expensive metal candlesticks, footed bowls, and vases and at your local thrift store to add an old world charm to your home. Some people prefer the rustic look of tarnished metal, but a little Bar Keepers friend can quickly have your copper, brass, silver plate & sterling silver gleaming like it is brand new with just a little bit of elbow grease.
Look beyond the dust cover. I often shop hardcover books by color to design vignettes of vintage color-coded book collections. I have personally found ReStore is much more flexible with book prices than Goodwill, especially if you let them know you are buying a bundle of books. Consider picking a beloved classic, or decorating the coffee table for the holidays with seasonal tails.
Thrift shops are great places to score bedside tables, plant stands, chair, and dressers. Be on the lookout for pieces that are sturdy. I have the best luck with wooden furniture in “older” towns. I have found Canandaigua is great for genuine old-school furniture, while 1 town away in Victor you will find 1970s lament and veneer stuff. A word of caution wood absorbs odors, leave behind anything that smells strongly of smoke or pet urine. The old sewing stand pictured has a paint of coat in its future!
So these are kind of hit or miss, I very often have seen globes at thrift stores, but not every single time. But globes add so much character to a room, they are worth keeping an eye out for. Floor globes will be on the pricier side, but don’t underestimate desk globes either. If you are feeling crafty and find a modern desk globe on the cheap you can always try your hand at distressing it.
I live in an old farmhouse that somehow always manages to feel dark, so I love finding mirrors at thrift stores. From super old accent mirrors to large vintage mirrors, I find the thrift store is the best place get cheap decor for your walls that will help make a room look bigger and brighter.
Thrift shopping is not really like regular shopping, it takes a little patience, and you have to be willing to dig through a lot of junk, but I have found it is well worth the time invested when you bring home an awesome item for a song.
What do you think are the best and worst thrift store finds? Have you ever made an epic score at a thrift shop?