Decorating your home on a budget can seem daunting, but thrifting is a fabulous way to score beautiful home goods at bargain prices. From furniture to accessories, thrift stores and garage sales are treasure troves waiting to be discovered. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of thrifting for home decor!

The Thrill of the Hunt

One of the best things about thrifting for home decor is the thrill of the hunt. Never knowing what unique and special items you might uncover is part of the fun. Thrifting takes some dedication and perseverance, but unearthing that perfect coffee table or artwork is so rewarding. Some tips for making thrifting for decor successful:

  • Have a plan – Make a list of what you need for each room before you start shopping. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse buys.
  • Look everywhere – Don’t just check the furniture section. Sometimes the perfect piece can be hiding in the glassware or books section. Scour each aisle thoroughly.
  • Inspect carefully – Check items for damage or flaws. Make sure fabric isn’t stained and wood isn’t cracked or scratched. You want things in good condition.
  • Be open-minded – If a chair needs new fabric or a shelf needs painting, don’t dismiss it. Focus on good bones and solid construction that you can build upon.
  • Have patience – It may take several trips to find exactly what you’re looking for. Persistence and consistency pay off when thrifting.

With the right attitude and know-how, you’re sure to find amazing home decor items thrifting. Enjoy the hunt!

Where to Thrift for Decor

Thrift and consignment stores are obvious places to shop for secondhand home goods, but amazing thrifting resources abound if you know where to look. Here are some top spots to thrift fabulous finds:

Thrift Stores

Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity ReStores are national chains with local branches. Visit frequently as inventory changes daily. Ask staff when new merchandise typically arrives to score the best selection.

Consignment Shops

Look for consignment shops and boutiques specializing in antiques, vintage items, or even designer goods. These offer unique, often higher-end products. Search for local options online or in newspaper listings.

Estate Sales

When homeowners pass away or move into senior living, estate sales liquidate their belongings via on-site sales. Estate sales are fantastic places to find quality furniture and decor at bargain prices.

Garage and Yard Sales

Check listings in local papers for neighborhood garage and yard sales. These are prime venues to find furniture, artwork, accessories, and knick-knacks for pennies on the dollar. Go early for the best selection.


Auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s offer high-end goods, while smaller local auctioneers peddle more affordable items. Read auction policies and inspect merchandise thoroughly beforehand.

Flea Markets

Flea markets and swap meets offer an array of vendors selling goods old and new. Prepare to sift through junk but hidden gems may await. Arrive early on opening day for the best finds.

Online Sites

Websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay connect buyers to secondhand sellers. Search by location and keywords like “art,” “chair,” or “decor.” Arrange safe in-person exchanges for large items.

With so many options, thrifting for fabulous home goods on a budget is easy and fun!

Must-Have Home Decor to Thrift

Certain categories of home decor are especially ripe for thrifting. Here are some must-have items to look for on your thrifting adventures:


Quality secondhand furniture is plentiful at thrift stores. Look for solid wood pieces in classic styles that will withstand trends. Focus on key foundation pieces:

  • Sofas and chairs
  • Coffee and side tables
  • Bookcases, dressers, chests
  • Beds and headboards
  • Dining sets, buffets, hutches

Inspect frames for stability and check drawers for smooth gliding. Check fabric for stains and damage. Choose pieces with good bones that you can refresh.


Don’t pay gallery prices for art! Thrift shops and flea markets are awash in fabulous paintings, prints, photography, and 3D wall art waiting to be displayed.

  • Paintings – Check for unsigned works by fledgling artists or quality oil reproductions. Re-frame pieces to refresh.
  • Prints – Botanicals, landscapes, illustrations, maps make wonderful wall accents. Find high-quality prints matted and ready for hanging.
  • Photography – Black and white photography prints add interest. Look for city scenes, nature images, or nostalgic shots.
  • Sculptures – Ceramics, pottery, or carved wood sculptures lend unique personality. Seek interesting shapes, colors, and subject matter.


Thrifting is ideal for discovering vintage or antique lamps, sconces, and chandeliers full of character.

  • Table and Floor Lamps – Seek interesting materials like brass, crystal, or wrought iron. Re-wire or replace lampshades as needed.
  • Sconces – Wall mounted fixtures illuminate hallways andaccent walls. Look for candlestick or orb shaped styles.
  • Pendant Lights – Vintage glass, crystal, or pendant lights work over kitchen islands and dining tables.
  • Chandeliers – Ornate chandeliers become dazzling focal points, especially in entryways. Check crystal details.

Accessories and Decor

Endless accessories and knick-knacks perfect for shelves, tables, and wall displays can be scooped up for pennies when thrifting if you keep an eye out.

  • Candles and candlesticks
  • Vases, pots, and planters
  • Baskets and storage bins
  • Mirrors
  • Clocks
  • Knick-knacks like figurines, trinket boxes
  • Framed prints and photos
  • Shelving units and bookcases

Raid the bric-a-brac section to uncover small decorative touches that personalize a home. Glassware, ceramic vases, wooden bowls, and metal trays add flair.

How to Refresh Thrifted Decor

While some secondhand goods are ready to use as-is, others need some TLC. Here are great ways to DIY refresh thrifted home decor items:


Give used goods a thorough cleaning before placing in your home:

  • Fabric – Launder removable upholstery and cushion covers. Spot treat stains on furniture before steam cleaning or shampooing.
  • Wood – Remove dust with a dry cloth. Use wood cleaner to treat finished pieces. Re-stain or refinish unfinished wood.
  • Glass/Metal – Wash in warm, soapy water. Remove tarnish with metal polish. Disinfect glassware.


A fresh coat of paint in a trendy hue gives thrifted decor new life:

  • Furniture – Sand, fill holes, prime, and paint with acrylic craft paint. Distress or add special finishes.
  • Accessories – Spray paint vases, trays, baskets, figurines, lamp bases, etc. Use primer for plastics.
  • Artwork Frames – Freshen frames with spray paint. Stencil patterns or words for interest.


Recover thrift store chairs, headboards, and stools by reupholstering:

  • Remove old fabric completely.
  • Fill foam or batting if needed.
  • Stretch and staple new fabric or slipcover over frame.
  • Add trims like nailheads, tassels, or cording.


Alter items to better suit your needs:

  • Shorten hems or remove sleeves on curtains.
  • Cut a large mirror down to size to fit a space.
  • Remove back panel of a bookcase to hang on the wall.
  • Paint a desk and switch out the hardware.

With some creativity and DIY spirit, the possibilities are endless for restyling thrifted decor!

Budget Decorating With Thrift Store Finds

One of the biggest benefits of thrifting for home decor is saving money while still getting beautiful items. Here are thrifting tips and tricks to keep your budget decorating costs low:

Shop Low-Cost Stores

Focus thrifting efforts on budget-friendly options like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and church rummage sales to get quality goods under $10-20.

Measure Before Shopping

Know the dimensions of your space before buying large furniture. This avoids purchasing pieces that ultimately don’t fit.

Buy Versatile Neutrals

Stick to home decor items in neutral hues like tan, gray, black, or white for flexibility. These mix-and-match across rooms as your style evolves.

Seek Multi-Purpose Pieces

Opt for items serving dual functions, like storage ottomans, side tables with shelves, or trunks that can double as coffee tables. This maximizes usefulness.

Mix High and Low

Pair a splurge thrifted item like an elegant dining table with budget accents like thrifted chairs in a complementary style. Achieve a luxe look on a dime.

Display Collections

Groupings of like items make artful displays. Collect thrifted objects like baskets, framed botanical prints, or pottery for an artful wall or shelf arrangement.

Reuse and Repurpose

Give cast-offs new life by repurposing, like turning a kitchen island into a bathroom vanity or desk into media console. Add paint, knobs or trim to customize.

With smart tips and a little imagination, thrifting can help you decorate an entire home for very little money. The savings are amazing!

Top Tips for Successful Thrifting

While thrifting for home decor is fun and frugal, having a game plan helps you thrift like a pro. Use these top tips for thrifting success:

  • Set a budget for each shopping trip and stick to it. Only purchase if a true bargain.
  • Bring a tape measure to ensure furniture fits your space before buying.
  • Photograph your rooms before thrifting to reference for scale, color, style.
  • Make a wish list with measurements for items you seek for each room.
  • Enlist someone with a truck for heavy lifting of large furniture pieces.
  • Bring cash for thrift stores lacking payment options. Most don’t take cards.
  • Be prepared to clean used goods. Bring cleaning supplies like wipes and degreaser.
  • Examine carefully for odors, stains, tears, damage, or signs of pests before purchasing.
  • Be realistic about what can be restored vs. what’s beyond repair. Don’t take major projects if lacking time, skill, or budget.
  • Factor in costs for new foam, fabric, paint, etc. if upholstering or refinishing. Include these expenses in the total cost.
  • Set aside a “quarantine” area at home to clean and air out thrifted furniture, pillows, etc. before placing in main living areas.

With the right mindset and preparation, your thrifting trips will be fun and fruitful decorating adventures! Happy thrifting!

Revival Decorating With Secondhand Style

Breathing new life into pre-owned home goods using modern styling gives a fresh spin to thrifting. Here are beautiful ways to revive secondhand items through imaginative decorating:

Modern Updates

Provide thrifted traditional furniture and accessories more contemporary appeal with these reviving touches:

  • Crisp white and light gray paint colors
  • New nickel or matte black hardware
  • Faux marble contact paper for surfaces
  • Patterned or geometric upholstery prints
  • Woven textures like seagrass and jute
  • Aged brass, copper, or glass lamp bases

Eclectic Mixing

Thoughtfully blending old and new creates eclectic style. Combine diverse eras and genres for visual interest:

  • Display vintage signs on industrial pipe shelving
  • Pair tufted velvet chairs with sleek tables
  • Mix antique glassware with modern ceramic vases
  • Add unexpected pops of bright color to vintage wood credenzas

Updated Displays

Creative arrangements give new flair to old objects on shelves, walls, and tabletops:

  • Style book collections by color rather than subject
  • Arrange white pottery and glassware into organic clusters
  • Group framed floral prints gallery-style on a wall
  • Display meaningful memorabilia and photos on floating ledges

With an inventive eye, thrifted and vintage finds can be given fresh new life through clever decorating. Experiment and have fun!

Common Thrifting Mistakes to Avoid

While thrifting for home decor is smart and savvy, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes. Avoid these common pitfalls to thrift like a pro:

Buying on Impulse

That rush you get when unearthing an amazing bargain? Use caution so you don’t end up with impulse buys you regret. Carefully evaluate each piece to see if it truly fits your needs.

Forgetting Measurements

Never assume athrifted sofa or dresser will fit your space. Always measure furniture and rugs against your room’s fixed dimensions before buying. This avoids “almost fits” disasters.

Assuming Savings

Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s frugal. Do the math to avoid purchases where restoration costs exceed the bargain price. Otherwise, it’s false savings.

Selecting Low Quality

A coat of paint can’t salvage junk. Carefully inspect items for quality and durability. Check that joints are stable, wood isn’t cracked, and fabric isn’t worn through. Choose well-made goods with good bones.

Overlooking Flaws

That beautiful framed print has a big crease down the center. That “vintage” chair actually wobbles. Minor flaws can turn into major headaches. Inspect carefully for damage and determine if it’s reasonably fixable.

Forgetting Labor Costs

Budgeting for a thrifted piece shouldn’t just factor the price tag. Consider if reupholstering, refinishing, or repairing is needed. Include estimated costs of supplies and your labor time too.

Lack of Preparation

Not bringing cleaning supplies, a tape measure, or an extra set of hands for heavy lifting sets you up for frustration. Advance preparation like measuring rooms and vehiclesprevents hassles.

Thrifting pro tips help you decorate beautifully on a budget without headaches!

Frequently Asked Questions About Thrifting for Home Decor

Where are the best places to thrift for home decor?

Some top spots to thrift home decor include Goodwill and Salvation Army, consignment shops, estate sales, yard sales, flea markets, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay. Go frequently and keep an open mind.

What types of home decor can you thrift?

Almost anything for your home can be thrifted if you’re willing to hunt for it! Key items to look for include furniture, artwork, lighting fixtures, rugs, accessories, mirrors, and shelving.

How much money can you save thrifting?

Savings vary, but thrifting allows you to get quality home furnishings for a fraction of retail cost. With smart shopping at low-cost venues, it’s reasonable to decorate an entire room for under $200.

What are some tips for refreshing thrifted items?

Cleaning, painting, reupholstering, and restyling help refresh thrifted goods. Remove odors, wash or re-stain wood, paint frames and furniture, recover chair seats, or cut mirrors and art down to size to work for your space.

Should you avoid items needing repairs when thrifting?

Not necessarily. Consider time and cost of repairs needed against the bargain price. A solid wood table needing re-staining for $20 may be worth it, while reupholstering a worn couch for $100 may not. Use good judgment.

Thrifting for home decor takes some effort but is incredibly rewarding. With the right techniques and mindset, you can decorate your entire home in vintage style and personality without breaking the bank. Happy treasure hunting!