Before I buy anything decoration-wise for my home I go to a thrift ship to see if I can find a version of it for way cheaper and then DIY it to what I need. I am at a second-hand store at least twice a week and there are a few items that I always buy.
Colored Glass and Glassware
I’m OBSESSED with colored glass. It’s so beautiful and it really is starting to make a come back. GoodWill and other thrift shops always have colored glassware and I ALWAYS buy them. I would never waste my money at Anthropologie, who is now selling colored glassware for a ridiculous amount. (Set of 4 glasses for $56)
Can’t find an entire set of colored glasses? That’s okay because a table doesn’t have to have matching cups. It can look amazing with different colors and different styles like the picture below.
Decorate a hutch or shelves in your kitchen or dining room with different colors of colored glasses to give your area an interesting and beautiful pop of color.
*Not only do thrift shops have amazing glassware they also have some amazing dinnerware. I also buy my plates and salad plates (mismatched, but looks amazing) from thrift shops. (Blog to come on tips and tricks to setting a table with mismatched dinnerware.)
I never buy picture frames anywhere but second-hand shops or estate sales. There is no need to spend a ton of money on frames when you can buy any style from your local thrift shop and spray paint them whatever color you want them to be.
How to spray paint your thrift shop frames
- Start by removing the back and glass from the frame.
- Lay down cardboard or newspaper and then lay your frame on bricks or paint cans to lift them off the ground a bit.
- I always use Rustoleum spray paint. I have found it to be the best. Make sure to shake it for 2-3 minutes before spraying.
- It’s very important to hold it 6-8 inches away and do light coats. If you spray too much at once the paint will run.
- Allow to dry for a couple of hours and then reassemble the frame and it is ready to hang!
Lamps are another item I always get at thrift shops, because they are another item that you can spray paint to make it look however you need it to look.
- Check out From Gardners 2 Bergers to learn how to take an old lamp and transform it into a beautiful new lamp.
- A lot of lamps from thrift shops don’t have the shades. Amazon has a wide array of lamp shades for a budget friendly price.
Anytime I find copper items at the thrift shop I buy them because I know I will be able to find a place for them. Decorating with copper is coming back in style.
Not finding the copper items you want at the thrift shop? You can always copper leaf or use copper spray paint to give your items the copper look you want.
- Learn how to Copper Leaf from Better Homes and Gardens. You can buy Copper Leaf from Amazon.
- Get some tips from MishMashers for spray painting with Copper Spray Paint.
This goes without saying… Any furniture from the thrift store can be flipped into something fabulous. Don’t avoid that red velour chair just because it isn’t your style, buy it anyway and turn it into a great DIY furniture project.
- Check out GoodWill Dresser, Good Buy, $25 GoodWill Treasure, Cedar Chest Revived, and Vintage HiFi Refinished to learn how to refinish the unique furniture you find.
First and foremost I buy records to listen to them. Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac sound so much better from a record. But if you aren’t buying records to listen to them there are so many cool crafts to make with them.
- Check out Stars for Street Lights to learn how to make records in to bowls.
- Go to Recyclart for instructions on how to make a wine rack out of records.
- The Flourishing Abode has a step by step to make a side table from a record.
There are so many crafts to make with old books. There is no reason to buy ‘old books’ (pictured left) from Restoration Hardware (3 for a ridiculous $235) when you can make them yourself for a fraction of the price.
Check out Confessions of a Plate Addict for instructions on how to make the Restoration Hardware Books pictured to the left.
Below is a video for making new books look like aged vintage ones.
Here are some more fun crafts to make with books from GoodWill. The top three pictures are just books that have been painted. Super easy to do.
- For instructions on making floating shelves from old books check out wikiHow.
- For Book Christmas Tree instructions check out Pure Wow.
While I am not an avid cook, I know people who are and they just love cast iron. They say, “it’s a timeless wonder of the home world”, and allegedly, “it only gets better with age”. Cast iron pieces are expensive and durable (try indestructible). Thrift stores are littered with old cast iron pans that with a little TLC can end up looking like new.
- Check out Machessemo for instructions on how to get your cast iron looking like new.
- A Delightsome Life has some tips for seasoning new and restoring old cast iron pans.
Other Items I Buy From Thrift Shops
- Dishes: Find unique colored glass pieces, silver platters and Pryex bowls at any thrift shop. You will find something you can use in the kitchenware isles.
- Kids Clothes: Why buy kids or babies expensive new clothes when all they are going to do is puke on them, poop through their diaper or if they are toddlers get food and dirt all over them. I find name brand, almost new kids clothes at thrift shops all the time.
- Jewelry: I love vintage jewelry and the unique pieces you can find at thrift stores are amazing.
- Leather Bags: Leather tends to look better when it’s a bit worn in. Pick up that leather purse you’ve been eyeing on the rack and give it another life. Not only does distressed leather look great, but it looks even better when scooped up at a low price! Check out my Upcycled Purses to get an idea what you can do to bring your leather thrift bag back to life.
- Canvases: Buying a canvas can be expensive, but I’ve found that you can buy large canvases from a thrift shop and paint over them.
Like this article? Check out Decorating on a Budget