If you want to create a home that is unique and filled with personality, look no further than the humble thrift shop. Regardless of your budget, fossicking through teetering towers and precarious piles for hidden gems is fun, rewarding and entertaining.
But how can you avoid creating a home cluttered with piles of junk when you are surrounded by so many stories, possibilities and potential? Here are a few tips and cheap decorating ideas for creating a stylish home and becoming a savvy thrift store decorator.
Part 1: Tips on how to decorate using thrift store items
Be a regular visitor – Visit many different thrift stores as often as possible. You will quickly realize how easy it is to decorate your home on a budget as you hone your bargain-spotting skills.
Be flexible – Thrift shops are brimming with potential, but it is up to you to see it! It is unlikely you will immediately be able to find a precise item, such as a particular design of dinnerware, so keep an open mind and free your creative spirit.
Have a rough idea of what you want – Elegance and simplicity go hand in hand, so choose a few colors and styles and limit yourself to several statement pieces per room.
Be selective – If you see a lamp that you fall in love with, go for it! The problem occurs when there are ten lamps you like, and they are only a few dollars each… so you get them all! However, this is a slippery slope to a cluttered home that feels overwhelming with a hodgepodge of styles. It is sometimes helpful to have a specific purpose or location for an item you like.
Look for quality items in good condition – Items that have a robust structure are easier and cheaper to repair and polish. Furniture can be sanded, painted or re-upholstered, but chairs that are prone to collapse are time-consuming and expensive to fix.
Keep an eye out for matching sets – matching chairs and dinner sets are more valuable and are extremely useful for creating a stylish home, so is it usually worthwhile waiting for these.
Don’t hoard – Remember you can always re-donate items that do not quite suit!
Part 2: Commonly found thrift store items ideal for low-cost home décor
Artwork and picture frames – Thrift stores are home to many original and inspiring pieces of art – and they can be yours for much less than those obtained from an art gallery. You could even frame a jigsaw puzzle – just one of many easy yet creative thrift store craft ideas.
Ornaments – Statues, candlesticks, bookends, and decorations are simple additions to the décor of any home.
Vases – You will often find vases, pots and many other quirky vessels. Fill them with flowers or herbs to bring life into your home.
Dinnerware – Look out for high-quality dinnerware, including matching tea sets, vintage cutlery, fruit bowls and cake stands. These items all add that extra touch to a retro, vintage or classic theme. Anyone for an authentic high tea?
Furniture – The key is to invest in sturdy, well-made furniture, whether it be a table and chairs, a dressing table or a nightstand. Scratches, fading and wear and tear can be covered up with a thrifted tablecloth, or smoothed with sandpaper and varnished or painted.
Lamps – Thrifted lamps are practical and help to create atmosphere. Many may look worn or outdated, so get creative and mix and match light shades, switch out lightbulbs and get to with a paintbrush.
Mirrors – Mirrors enhance lighting and bring a whole extra dimension into a room or hallway. Many may be marked, tarnished or scratched, but these can usually be polished and/or repainted as a weekend thrift store DIY project.
Rugs, throws, and cushions – These items bring color and a sense of luxury to any living area. A caveat emptor: that hot pink blanket may be home to dust mites, bugs, cat fur and other charming critters. Remember to inspect each item carefully, paying special attention to fabric and wooden items.
Shelves and bookcases – Storage is a key feature of creating a clean, spacious and organized the home, and of course, you will need plenty of space to display your new found treasures!
Author: Sofia Lockett is a New Zealand writer who loves to write about anything and everything but is particularly passionate about design and travel. Sofia has written for NZ based businesses such as seacontainers.co.nz. Follow her Tumblr to see more of her work.