How to Thrift for Home Decor and Create a Home You Love

If you’ve ever wished you could replicate a room in a home decor magazine but think nice things are out of your budget, you’re in the right place. Today I’m sharing all my best tips on how to create a home you love on a budget, by shopping in thrift stores and local antique shops. Let’s talk about how to thrift for home decor!

First and foremost, thrifting for home decor is an adventure. You never know what you might find, each piece might have a story of its own, and there’s always a sense of victory and celebration when you uncover a real gem.

But navigating through thrift stores requires a bit of strategy and an open mind. So don’t necessarily consider thrifting as merely shopping – think of it as a treasure hunt! 

Setting your thrift store expectations: Destinations vary, and so will your finds. Remember, thrift stores aren’t retail chains with the same inventory from one location to the other. You’re visiting places that have goods donated or sold by people from different walks of life. Therefore, the inventory greatly varies. 

Also, don’t go into a thrift store expecting to walk out with everything you need in one trip. It’s all about luck, timing, and frequently visiting the store. However, the reward of acquiring a high-quality item at a fraction of its original price is worth the effort. 

Now that we’ve set the tone, let’s delve into how to find and purchase high-quality home decor items from thrift stores. 

You can watch all of my thrifting videos here.

4 Reasons Why Thrifting for Home Decor is Smart

  1. Thrift shopping requires patience and frequent visits, as inventory changes regularly, and unique items can appear at any time.
  2. Buying second-hand reduces waste and supports sustainability, as it extends the life of items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.
  3. Thrift stores are a treasure trove for vintage and antique items, which are often built to last and can add a unique touch to home decor.
  4. Thrift stores often receive donations from high-end homes, making it possible to find quality items at a fraction of the original cost.

Understanding Your Personal Style

When decorating your home, it helps to understand your own personal style. If you aren’t sure what style you are going for and what your end goal is, you can end up buying a bunch of stuff that ends up as clutter. It’s important to develop a clear vision of what you want your space to look like.

Important: Visualize how the pieces you choose will come together to create a coherent, stylish, and livable space. Here’s how to get started: 

Creating a Design Board 

A design board or mood board is usually a collage consisting of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition. It can be crafted physically with paper and glue, or digitally using Pinterest.

Pinterest is a great tool to use when putting together ideas for decorating your home. I’ve been using Pinterest to curate ideas since 2012!

A design board can be beneficial in helping you: 

1. Determine Your Color Scheme: A mood board makes it easy to try out different color combinations and see how they work together. You can select images that evoke the color palette you plan to incorporate in your home decor. Feel free to mix & match until you get the perfect vibe. 

2. Visualize Your Theme: Trying to describe a theme in words can be challenging. With a mood board, you can collect pieces that reflect your desired aesthetic. Whether you love industrial, minimalist, vintage, or a blend of styles, seeing them together can help solidify your vision. 

For instance, in my rustic family room I have a lakeside cabin theme for my decor. When I am buying new items for my family room I think about what I already own and what will compliment the room.

3. Shop More Efficiently: With a clear vision in mind, you can enter a thrift store knowing what items will fit your decor. This reduces impulse purchases and keeps your decorating process focused. 

4. Inspire Creativity: Mood boards also encourage outside-the-box thinking. You might find a photo of a modern space that you love, but you’re shopping at a thrift store filled with vintage items. A design board can help you blend these aesthetics perfectly.

Remember, your design board is a tool for inspiration – it’s not set in stone. It’s perfectly okay to divert from it when you run into a thrifted piece that speaks to your heart. Creating a beautiful, thrifted home is about balancing planning with spontaneity.

It’s not about having a lot of things, but about having the right things.
– Marie Kondo

Have a Plan When You Go Thrifting

Walking into a thrift store without a plan can be overwhelming due to the vast variety of items. First, create a wishlist of items you want for your home and keep this list on hand when you go shopping.

Tip: I use the Notes app on my phone to keep a running list of things I am currently looking for.

However, use this list as a guideline rather than a strict set of rules. I often walk into a thrift store or antique shop and find something I love and didn’t know I needed in my house, but when I see it I know it’s just the perfect thing!

Learning to See Potential 

One skill of thrifting for home décor is learning to see beyond an item’s current state. A throw pillow may need a new cover or a wooden chair might need a fresh coat of paint. Remember, it’s about visualizing what an item could be with a little love and creativity. 

I’ll be honest and say that I’m personally not really into buying something that will require much work (aside from a good cleaning), but if you love being creative and DIY is your thing – you’ll find all kinds of worthy home decor projects at the thrift store. 

Staying Patient and Shopping Often 

Thrifting isn’t a one-and-done deal. Finding the perfect pieces to decorate your home with can take time and multiple visits. I’ve said many times that shopping at the Goodwill is kind of hit or miss for me. But, way back in the day, I used to shop at Goodwill all the time and find pieces I loved. It could be that my local Goodwill just doesn’t have the kinds of things I’m looking for anymore. I do still stop in a look on a regular basis though!

However, I often find wonderful thrifted home decor items from antique shops in the surrounding area. Remember, keep your decor vision in mind and trust that the right pieces will come along. The hunt is half the fun! 

Your home will reflect your personality more and showcase your family’s life when it’s curated over time. For me, having my children and grandchild come to visit is one of my favorite things. When they come for a visit I want them to feel like they are coming home

Home is my favorite word.

Successful thrifting for home decor is not about impulse buying; it’s about capturing your personal taste and style in each carefully selected item. In addition to offering a unique charm, thrifted home decor allows you to breathe new life into pre-loved decorations, making your home feel genuinely yours. 

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