How-to: Get the Most Out of the Thrift Store

There is nothing better than browsing through a thrift store on a Saturday morning. I have two or three really good thrift stores near my home and I am constantly popping in to see what’s new.

I can honestly say every piece of furniture in my home is secondhand. Every piece has a story which is what I love the most. For example, my Hepplewhite chairs in my dinning room were saved in a house fire so there are subtle black ash marks on one of the backs. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. There’s something rewarding about giving a piece a second chance, a new home, a new look.

When you’re out thrifting, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1) Look for wood. Wood can easily be repainted with a couple of bucks and some time. You can give an old chair a new look by adding a fresh coat of paint and a new cushion. On the flipside of this, say no to particle board. It’s not easily paintable and looks cheap.

gold leaf chair before and after

2) Look for dovetail. If you’re looking at a dresser in particular, open the drawers and see how they have been built. You want a dovetail joint. The dovetail is the strongest joint and will allow your drawers to last a long time. If you find a piece with these joints, you know you’ve got a winner.

3) Look for the colored sticker. Most thrift stores have certain colored tags that signify the object is on sale. Ask an associate to inform you of what colors are on sale on that day and try to stick to buying things that are those colors. My best purchase from a thrift store was a retro coffee table that ended up being 75% off bringing the total cost to be $7. You can’t beat that.

4) Look for things that can be repurposed. For example, an old silver platter can be used as a makeup tray or made into a chalkboard. Also, just because the artwork inside the frame is gross the frame itself might be gorgeous. Thrift stores are the best when needing antique frames. Look for things that can be used again.

Frame a bulletin board to fancy it up(:

5) Look for random conversation pieces. Some of the best things I’ve found at the thrift store are just random. An industrial bucket, a wire basket, an ceramic yellow bird, a brass lamp base, two hummingbird candlestick holders. I like using things for purposes other than what they were intended for. For example, I used the industrial bucket this past winter to put firewood in it.

Disinfectant and wipes in a galvanized bucket hung on the wall ready for a quick wipe down. Itsy Bits and Pieces: A Visit to the Bachman's 2012 Fall Ideas House...

Happy Thrifting!

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