Decorating your home can be quite pricey. It’s easy to scroll Instagram and Pinterest and feel like a failure when it comes to making your home beautiful. I definitely get overwhelmed when I start to go down the Pinterest rabbit hole and end up feeling like I need to spend thousands of dollars to achieve a beautiful home.
What are some of the best home decor items to find at the thrift store? You can find lamps, rugs, art, wall decor, textiles, pottery and much more if you follow some basic tips and tricks. Know what you are looking for before you step into the thrift store. Familiarize yourself with the stores in your area so that you can easily navigate them. Lastly, shop often when searching for second hand home decor.
The Best Home Decor Items To Find At The Thrift Store
We are constantly being influenced through bloggers and ads that we need to buy expensive items to make our home beautiful. The good news is that you absolutely do not have to spend a lot of money to decorate your home. You can purchase 95% of your home decor second hand for a fraction of the cost. I am going to break it all down for you so that you can achieve a beautiful home on any budget!
You can potentially find almost anything in terms of home decor that you are looking for from the thrift store, but there are a few tried and true items that you will have the most success with when you are new to thrifting for home decor. I have some tips and tricks for how to have the most success when venturing out into the thrift store for home decor needs to make the process of buying second hand home decor items easy and even fun!
What Are The Best Home Decor Items To Find At Thrift Stores?
The basket aisle is one of the places that I always check when I go to the thrift store, whether I am looking for a particular basket or not. There are usually a plethora of unique and high quality baskets that you can find. I love incorporating baskets into my decor and organization because they last a long time, have a timeless look and bring in a earthy and natural element to your decor. You can find baskets in all different shapes and sizes for storage and you can even decorate with them by creating a basket wall!
I love browsing the art section at the thrift store. You can usually find the artwork along the edges of the thrift store or at the back of the store. I will admit, most of the artwork is cheesy and outdated, but many times you can find some amazing vintage paintings and prints. One of my favorite things to look for are vintage paint by number paintings. You can create an amazing gallery wall with thrifted artwork.
Another reason to browse the art section, is to find large canvases. Even if you dislike the painting on the canvas, there are many ways to paint over a thrifted canvas to create your own one-of-a-kind artwork. Purchasing a thrifted canvas to paint is usually a lot cheaper than buying a new, blank canvas at the craft or art store. I painted over a giant canvas to make some Color Block Art and I also made a Color Block Texture Art Canvas for my entry way.
If you are needing or wanting some pottery or ceramic pieces for your home decor, I urge you to look at the thrift store first before hitting up Target. There is usually a large amount of interesting pottery at the thrift store. I have found some amazing pieces to use in my home decor at a fraction of the cost that I would pay new. I love finding handmade pieces to add to my home because they are unique, high quality and quirky.
One area that most people don’t think to look for when thrifting, are textiles. You can find some amazing blankets, quilts, comforters, pillows and tablecloths at the thrift store. Don’t let the fact that you might have to wash something deter you from thrifting textiles.
Look for items that are made with natural fibers, rather than synthetic so that you know you are getting high quality textiles. I love looking for vintage wool blankets and linen napkins and tablecloths. Another thing to look for are gently used comforters that you can use for inserts in your duvet covers.
The other textile item that is greatly underrated are sheet sets. Vintage sheets are incredibly charming and surprisingly soft. You can find some great cotton sheet sets for your home for a just a few dollars. I have even bought vintage sheets to cut up to use for craft projects.
Brass has made a major comeback in the past few years and for good reason. It’s a classic way to amp up your decor. I personally love an eclectic mid century style of decor, but brass can work with many other decor styles. You can easily find amazing brass pieces at the thrift store. I love looking for brass candlesticks and can usually find a few every time I thrift.
Glassware is one of the most popular home items to thrift because you can find some very valuable pieces. In fact, I have an entire post dedicated to How To Find Valuable Glassware At The Thrift Store. Glassware is easy to clean and timeless, making it an excellent item to buy second hand.
My favorite type of glassware to thrift is milk glass. It is beautiful, neutral and easy to find. However, you can score crystal, depression glass and vintage bottles at the thrift store too if you know what to look for.
One of the most overlooked areas at the thrift store (in my experience) is the seasonal aisle. I will admit, when fall and Christmas roll around and I need something new for my decor, I tend to forget about the thrift store. A lot of stores will not put out off season decor, so you will have to wait until the holidays roll around to start shopping. However, if you can find a thrift store that has it’s seasonal decor out year-round, then you have a higher chance of finding something amazing. Shopping for seasonal decor off-season is ideal when thrifting! Don’t forget to check Facebook Marketplace and antique stores for seasonal decor, too.
I love looking for lamps at thrift stores. Many thrift stores have tons of lamps to choose from. You can find floor lamps, small desk lamps and large decorate lamps. I have purchased many of the lamps in my home from the thrift store and spray painted them to match my personal style. Most of the time, I will switch out the lamp shade for a new one. Make sure that the thrift store has an outlet where you can test the lamp. If it doesn’t just be sure that the store has a good return policy just in case you take the lamp home and it doesn’t work.
I know we discussed finding artwork at the thrift store earlier, but you can find some cool wall decor too. I like to look for small shelves, clocks, vintage metal pieces, and textile wall hangings. This is an area where you never really know what you are going to find. Oftentimes, there isn’t anything great but every once in awhile you will spot an amazing find for your wall decor!
You can pretty much always find mason jars at the thrift store. I love the big, vintage mason jars for organizing and flower vases. You can always buy separate mason jar lids online since most of the thrifted jars don’t have the lids with them. If you are planning a wedding or a party and need mason jars for centerpieces, definitely check the thrift store before purchasing new ones!
Rugs can definitely be hit or miss at the thrift store. Most times, they are dirty and worn out. However, if you can find a vintage wool rug at the thrift store, you have struck gold. Even though I know I will most likely not find a good rug, I always take a quick peek just in case there is a treasure to be found.
Also, keep an open mind about smaller rugs. If you come across a small vintage rug, you can use it as a wall hanging or layer it over a larger, more neutral one.
Vintage books is such an easy way to decorate shelves or a coffee table. When you are browsing the books at the thrift store, remove the jackets of vintage books to see what the covers look like. Think about the color scheme of your home and search for book covers in that color scheme. Also, think about the shape and size of books that fit your space. Do you need a small stack of books for a shelf or do you want something large and square to go underneath a vase on your end table? No matter what, you can almost count on being able to find some cool vintage books for your space.
Why Should You Buy Home Decor Items Second Hand?
Thrifted Home Decor Items Are Inexpensive
When people think about why they should or want to go thrifting for home decor, the first thing that usually comes to mind is price. It’s usually the motivating factor for digging through the aisles at a thrift store. You can find some amazing home decor items for your home for just a few dollars. If you go thrifting for the decor in your home, you can create a beautiful, magazine worthy space for just a fraction of the cost. Knowing some key tips and tricks (which we will discuss below) will make this process much easier for you.
Vintage Items are Often Higher Quality
There is nothing more frustrating than buying a cute home item from Target or Home Goods, only to have it break or fall apart a few months later. Thrift stores are filled with vintage items, many of which are higher quality than something you will find new. Older items have stood the test of time, meaning they will likely last you much longer than something from the dollar aisle at Target. If you look for items at the thrift store made from high quality and natural materials such as wood, metal, cotton or stone then you are on your way to finding something that is very high quality and potentially valuable for your home.
Second Hand Items Add Character To Your Decor
We have all had that experience where we show up to someone’s house and spot something that we also own for our home. While there can be some cute and inexpensive items at chain stores, there is also the fact that a million other people have that same throw pillow on their couch. If you want your home to be unique and have character, then that requires one of a kind items. Shopping at the thrift store for home decor is the perfect place to find items for your home that no one else has. This will result in a space that reflects your own style and has tons of character.
Purchasing Second Hand Decor Is Better For The Environment
We have all heard of the term “fast fashion” which refers to the practices of the clothing industry. But there is also the phenomenon of “fast interiors” as discussed in this helpful article from Harpars Bazaar. Purchasing vintage and second hand items fights against the urge to constantly buy new. There is something to be said for having patience in finding that perfect, high quality vintage piece for your home. You will appreciate it more and it gives that piece a second life.
Thrifting Can Be Fun
This point is definitely up for debate. Thrifting can be like pulling teeth for some people, but if you haven’t given it a good shot before, I would suggest you just try it a few times. Once you find a hidden gem at the thrift store, you just might be addicted like me. Thrifting is also fun to do with someone else. You can divide and conquer at the thrift store, bounce ideas off each other and have a lot of fun in the process.
Where To Find Second Hand Home Decorations?
Now that we have determine why you should be thrifting for your home decor, you may be wondering where on earth to start shopping. There are a variety of ways and places to find second hand home decor items. The thrift store is the most obvious place, but there are many more options than just that.
Chain Thrift Stores
When you think of thrifting, the choices that usually come to mind might be Goodwill, Savers and Salvation Army. These are all solid choices when thrifting for home decor. Chain stores like these are usually larger than local stores and have a large amount of merchandise. Since they are more well known, people are more inclined to drop off their donations at these larger chain stores.
The only issue with the larger thrift stores, is that they can potentially be busy or picked over. To combat this issue, it’s important to learn the best days and times to go thrifting. Check out my exhaustive post all about when to optimize your thrifting!
Local Thrift Stores
Scouring your local thrift store for home decorations can result in some amazing finds. Because these stores aren’t as well known, they won’t be as busy and potentially picked over as Goodwill.
One thing to keep in mind is that pricing might not be as consistent at smaller thrift stores. They have the potential to either be over-priced or under-priced. Once you become familiar with the thrift stores in your area, you will know which ones have the best prices and selection.
I used to think that antique stores were overpriced and only had victorian era furniture. Then, I started shopping at a local antique mall and my mind was blown. Antique stores can be an amazing source for unique, quality and inexpensive home decor items. Once you get familiar with you local antique store, you will which booths tend to have merchandise in your personal style or price range. Antique stores often run sales, making it a great choice that is sometimes even cheaper than the thrift store!
If you have a very specific item you are looking for, then I highly suggest checking Facebook Marketplace. Thrift stores are great places for just browsing and finding quirky items that you didn’t know you needed, but FB Marketplace is perfect when you have a specific item that you want.
If you are purchasing something small from FB Marketplace, try to work out a porch pickup item with your seller. This makes the whole transaction convenient and hassle free. You can also ask the seller to go down in price or even do a trade on Marketplace.
Etsy tends to be a little more expensive because you often have to pay shipping, but it can be a great choice if you have a very specific or hard to find vintage item that you are searching for. Even though it may be the more pricey of the second hand items, you can still find something unique and inexpensive compared to other new options.
How Much Should You Pay For Second Hand Home Decor Items?
The prices at a thrift store will vary from store to store and depend on where you live. If you want to score the best price, check out my post all about the best days and times to go thrifting, where I talk a little more in depth about sales. However, as a general rule of thumb, thrift store prices will be cheaper since they have a large amount of merchandise coming in.
Antique stores and estate sales tend to be more expensive because the person pricing them is probably a little bit more knowledgeable about the merchandise, although you can still find some amazing deals.
If you are shopping for second hand items online, you can expect the price to vary as well. However the nice thing about places like Facebook Marketplace, is that it’s not out of the question to bargain with the seller and ask for a lower price.
For more thrifting tips and tricks, check out these helpful articles: