Half of the battle involving thrifted decor is finding it, and the other half is figuring out the best way to style it once you get it home!
I think styling thrifted decor is often one of the best parts of the whole process!
If you think it’s exhilarating finding treasures among what can sometimes be considered trash, you’ll also understand that getting your items home, grouped together and finding where they fit into your home can be a really great feeling!
Sometimes you have to think outside the box, and you might not have an exact place in mind where you’ll use a certain piece, but when you can find quality pieces with character and versatility, you’ll be set!
Usually it takes me only a day or so once I’ve gotten a new item home to find a good place for it if I don’t already have something in mind as soon as I see it.
I’ve found that sometimes when I buy something with a specific purpose or location in mind, it might not end up striking joy when I get it in place, but often I can find other, even non-traditional uses for things! We’ll talk about that more below.
And even when you buy something with a specific purpose in mind – it doesn’t have to be used for that same purpose forever. I love moving my pieces around to new locations and using them for new purposes!
*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.
If going shopping at yard/garages sales and thrift stores is something you’ve only ever dipped your toe in – you can find some other great information in these related thrift shopping posts:
In this post I’ll be sharing seven different types of thrifted decorations and how they’re often used in my home!
Number One | Fabric
What I’m calling fabric here can also be considered “linens”, things like:
With fabric it really does help to have an open mind! I’ve loved using curtains for things like throw blankets, and a more vintage beautiful shower curtain.
Dust ruffles are one of my favorite fabric items to search through!
Twin size dust ruffles work really well as table cloths for 6 foot long banquet tables! I used some when we held our Anne of Green Gables Birthday Party.
I’ve also used dust ruffles and crocheted table runners for curtains!
Years ago I shared this post with 10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens – still applicable today!
Number Two| Small Furniture
I’ve found that big furniture pieces can be a bit of a hassle to purchase from yard sales or thrift stores. Because they’re harder to transport, they require more prep and moving around at your home, they’re more of an investment, and also sometimes harder to modify to fit exactly what you’re looking for.
It’s not always the case – for instance, our previous couch was bought second hand and we painted the leather for the look we wanted!
But overall, searching for smaller furniture pieces has always ended up being more successful for me!
I group together the following items in the small furniture category:
I’ve found these are easier to paint and modify, and they work well as “corner” pieces in a room.
By corner, I don’t mean just the four main corners of a room – but the angles created by larger furniture pieces like pianos. They can nestle right in those spots and create visual interest where you might otherwise just have empty space
I love using stools as end tables because they’re so portable!
They’re also great on the porch as plant stands, or for using in the kitchen when you need a little extra counter space. (I use one for when I need to use my dehydrator in the kitchen!)
Number Three | Vintage Books
Oh I just LOVE vintage books! The linen covers. The gold type on the spine. They’re just so beautiful and can be used so many ways! I previously wrote a post specifically about this, 3 ways to Decorate with Vintage Books.
I usually group them by color based on the season or occasion!
Spring gets all the blue and green books. Red and blue come out for the summer. Red, brown and oranges come out for fall. Green and red for Christmas. So many combinations and possibilities!
They can be beautiful nested in a basket, or set on open shelving – especially when you stack some vertically and some horizontally.
They make wonderful “lifts” for decor pieces that need a little bit of height.
I’ve even used them in less traditional ways like this Book Page Wall in our upstairs hallway.
Number Four | Holiday Decor
Bear with me! This category can make some people flinch as they remember all of the green and red plastic they’ve seen in the holiday aisles at their local second hand stores.
But if you have the determination to sift through even the *ahem* junk – you’re bound to find some real treasures!
I’ve found vintage flags which really elevated my Patriotic Front Porch this summer!
I’ve found vintage ices skates, a beautiful wooden sled, flocked wreaths and even nice faux Christmas trees.
It’s really nice to be able to update and change seasonal decor with new pieces every once in a while!
Number Five | Containers
You know I love my containers!
So many possibilities! I’ve found that we use containers in just about every area of our home:
In our kitchen and pantry we have crates for our root veggies, plus baskets and bins for bulk dry goods and smaller items.
In our living room we have used containers for things like storing our DVDS.
In our office spaces we use them for putting our bills and papers away, and storing our electronic cords.
In the bathroom we use them for organizing tooth brushes, q-tips, cotton balls and towels.
And those are mostly the functional ways we use them – they also make great decor! One of my favorite ways to use baskets is to use them to hold plants (either faux or real).
Over on the dishes side, I love stacked dessert trays! They’re great for adding height to decor!
Number Six | Art
I love looking at the art whenever I’m thrifting. Sometimes I’ll find beautiful farm scenes or oil paintings that I’ll love as is!
Other times I’ll find art I’m not excited about, but in a beautiful frame that can be repurposed.
This chalk board was an instance where my husband took the picture out of the frame, replaced it with a thin board and painted that with chalk board paint.
Number Seven | Antique or Architectural Pieces
This last category is for the more striking and unique pieces that might not fit into the other places we’ve discussed already.
Some of my favorite finds have been a vintage type writer, a croquet set that reminds me of my grandparents, and an easel that gets moved all over the house for different seasons and occasions.
Another of those pieces that gets moved all around is my set of louvered bi-fold doors. I treat them almost like large shutters and they are just a great foundational piece that I can build upon easily!
And those are my favorite ways to incorporate thrifted decor into our home!
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite thrifted pieces and how you’ve incorporated them! Or if you have other thrift shopping tricks and tips you’d like to share with our design community.