Friday, July 13, 2012

10 things you should always get at thrift stores



When I was a little girl. I used to tag along with my Grandma Mary on Saturday mornings to our local outdoor flea market and we would wander for hours, like two bug-eyed kids in a candy store. Every table presented a potential treasure. And whenever she’d spot some unique, little “knick-knack,” she’d call me over and I’d carefully examine it with my little fingers, offering some curious comment. Then we’d move happily along, two explorers on the hunt for that magical “thing” that would send our hearts a flutter, a sure sign we’d have to buy it, because after all, it was meant to be, wasn’t it? 

Shopper Rule #1: whenever you discover a gem in a pile of pebbles it must be fate.

Today I thought I’d share a few gems that you should consider buying at thrift stores because some things are simply more interesting when they’re used, and plus—you can get them at bargain prices! Here they are.



1. Old/ Interesting-looking Mirrors

Gilded mirrors and wood mirrors with old paint are great finds…


2. Baskets

You can never have too many baskets, they work in every room.


This is my kitchen collection; I bought all these baskets at various thrift stores and I didn’t pay more than three dollars for any of them.


3. Vintage luggage

I love old trunks, and I’m not alone. My post on decorating with vintage suitcases continues to get hits from all over the world. There was a time when vintage luggage was distinctly Ralph Lauren-ish. But today, old luggage can be incorporated into so many different decorating styles.



vintage-smogshoppe-wedding19-ruffledblog MaddyCakesMuse

via ruffledblog

Planning a wedding? Today, vintage luggage is a popular decorating prop at receptions.

4. Books for coffee table

Oh-my-goodness. Please tell me you’ve shopped for books at a thrift store. Thrift stores are a perfect place to buy books, old ones and new ones.


For my coffee table, I collect Decorating, Entertaining, Garden, Art and Architectural Books.

DSC_0544 copy

I also have a weak-spot for old, old books, especially when I find beautifully handwritten script like this, inside the front jacket.. I bought this old journal for $4.00 and  can you see the date on this inscription? It’s April, 9, 1828. Amazing huh? I love imagining the woman who filled these pages with newspaper clippings and poetry. What did she look like?

Besides adding these books to your bookshelves, you can find creative uses for thrift store books too-

Like these two projects:



you can use the pages to create a book wreath…


Or create a statement wall that’s wallpapered with folded book pages. I took this photo at a booth inside an antique store in Roseville, California. Very cool, don’t you think?

5. Frames

these are everywhere in thrift stores. I found someone’s discarded frame that was missing the picture. But it did have a hard wood backing inside, so I painted it with chalkboard paint..Voila!


See what you can do with old frames? I hung it on the wall over a chipped, red basket after paying a grand total of two dollars.

6. Vases and Glassware

Thrift stores are a great place to find all kinds of glassware…old vases, mason jars and bottles that can be used in so many ways…Click HERE to see my post on dinner drinks with my own thrift store stemware.



photos: via inspirationalgirl

IMG_1753 (http-__mylittleapartment_blogspot_com_)


7. Vintage silverware

This is a no-brainer, only every antique dealer in the world already looks for old silver at thrift stores, so real stuff is hard to find. But that’s what makes it fun.


via ruffled blog

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These are a few pieces I keep next to my coffee pot and use daily…

8. oil paintings or funky artwork

You’d be surprised by the interesting artwork you can find amid pure junk.



You can click HERE to see my Master Bedroom gallery wall collection.

9. A unique furniture piece to re-do

Thrift stores are the place to find quirky old chairs. Here’s a French chair that I re-covered, do you like it?




10. collections of something you like

Well, what do you like to collect?

I think collections always say something about the collector. Who are you? What item really tickles your fancy and makes you smile and why? If you’re not sure what you like, it’s OK. Just remember that it all begins with that one, great “find.”

Keep your eyes open and be curious!

If you liked this post, don’t forget to be a Follower!






Jeanne Henriques said...

As always Leslie, you are spot on with each and every item...vintage love all the way, is what I say! xx

Rasonda @ East Conolly Cottage said...

Great post!! Thanks for coming by Lake Cottage Dreams. Beautiful blog!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi leslie, You are a girl after my heart! I love all your choices.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I love the creativeness here. I am a thrifter myself and always pick up the vases, glassware and baskets. But, you now have my head wrapped around a new love of luggage and books. Fascinating and creative way of decorating. Loved it.


Kathy said...

Hello Leslie! Yes! to all of the above! If I didn't have a day full of things to do today....
Have a wonderful day,

c. Joy said...

I liked the post - and now I'm a follower. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Kristi said...

Hi Gwen, I found you from Sherry's blog and so glad I stopped by! Love your blog and as giddy with excitement reading this post (and seeing your beautiful home!) I LOVE thrift stores, old books, glassware and mirrors! Oh and baskets? Don't even get me started! I even have the History of Art book sitting on mante! Anyway, I'm following now and will be back soon. :)

Linda @ DesignInMyView said...

Gwen, I just became your latest (as in late to the party) follower. Found you via a mention on Kirb Appeal's Women Who Blog interview.

Been hopping around reading a variety of your posts... each are so fun!


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