10 thrift-store finds that instantly make your house look fancy
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Second-hand shops can be quite the gold mine for weird and delightful decor. If you’re just getting started, keep an eye out for these 10 thrift-store finds that add just the right amount of sparkle and sophistication…without draining your bank account:
Mirrors are a great way to brighten and expand a room. Of course, you should look for glass that’s not scratched, foggy, broken, or chipping. Unless you’re a fan of the distressed look, make sure the reflective coating (if it’s exposed) isn’t scratched or deteriorating from behind, as well. With mirror framing, whether it’s wood or some other material, it should be solid and not require any more than a light facelift with sanding or paint.
Don’t get too caught up with what’s behind the glass if you find a frame you like and its potential is being obscured by uplifting quotes in whimsical fonts. Even if it’s currently framing a nautical scene that doesn’t quite float your boat, you can always discard the picture and repurpose the frame for your own collection.
- Wall Art and Decor
The same goes for unique art or interesting wall decor. Is there a strange abstract portrait you’re attracted to that just needs a new frame or a quick dusting? Or an odd geometric 70’s wall sculpture you need to complement your eclectic living room? Keep an open mind and your walls will be furnished with personality in no time.
- Mid-century furniture
End tables, wooden furniture, nightstands, and chairs… the list goes on. If you can get past weird blemishes and dated upholstery—and instead focus on craftsmanship and good bones—you can find some real gems in thrift stores that will give your space a high-end feel without the high-end price tag. Quality furniture like chairs that just need new seat cushions, tall wooden bookcases, nightstands and end tables, coffee tables, and desks are incredibly pricey when bought new, even at the more affordable shops like IKEA and CB2. A spin through the lonely and abandoned furniture sections of your local thrift store can be rewarding for at least one good find, if not several. You never know when you’re going to come across a sturdy set of mid-century end tables or nightstands that cost $20 instead of $250 each.
Trunks and chests are always lying around at thrift shops and they’re absolutely great for their versatility. They complement even the most carefully curated aesthetic with their chunky metal hardware and flat surfaces that can be painted any color. Use them as coffee tables or chests or stack ‘em up to display things like family photos and house plants. Make them into benches with some creative cushion-making skills, use them as toy chests, or as a way to accommodate all kinds of other storage needs.
You can find some amazing books at thrift stores to fill out beautiful built-in bookcases and various shelves. If you’re really fancy, you can make a parlor space in your home where eye-catching coffee table books are an absolute must. A library not only gives you something to do on a rainy day; it actually makes your space more interesting from a decor perspective. Books become conversation-starters for visitors while you serve them a drink – and with hardbound books, you can certainly appreciate how their various colors and textures stimulate the room visually.
Collecting vinyl records has never gone out of style for some. And nearly every generation now considers it to be a hip pastime with a classy and sophisticated spin. So, if you already have a nice record collection going, pick up a few new, obscure, or amusing finds the next time you’re out thrifting. Or if you haven’t considered it at all, pick up a few LPs and an old record player the next time you thrift for a unique button-down shirt or vintage sweater. Don’t be afraid to gamble on some unknowns bands. Finding the perfect music is half the fun!
- Stoneware Planters
Textured ceramic planters with hints of imperfection might sound boring, but plants are an easy way to fancy up a place because they literally add life and beauty to any blank slate. Big and small pots scattered throughout your living space with happy plants make any space feel more luxurious, comfortable, and welcoming. Aside from the visual utility of nice pots, plants need plenty of space to grow. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have bigger planters around for when they need to be repotted. Plus, caring for houseplants just feels good!
- Drapery and Window Coverings
It can be quite a task to take on the project of window coverings in a new living space, and it’s usually something you have to do right away for privacy. Thankfully thrift stores usually have racks full of drapery sets and various blinds that will get your creative juices flowing. You’ll just want to be armed with the dimensions of your windows in addition to the height from the top of the window to the floor. Also, make sure you take into consideration the way your new window treatments will affect your preferences for natural lighting.
- Unique Glassware
Tablescaping without fancy glassware should be a crime when there’s so much of it clanking around thrift shops everywhere! Seafoam green tumblers and pale blue cocktail glasses will add serious sparkle and color to your dinner table. And your dinner party setup will get fancier and more stylish as your collection grows. Before you know it, your tablescape will resemble an Anthropologie or West Elm in-store display for a quarter of the cost. When putting away, your collection can serve as a display on shelving in your dining area instead of being hidden inside the kitchen cabinets.