Six Tips to Successfully Thrift Home Décor

There’s arguably nothing cooler than a home full of previously loved, unique finds that create a collected feel to your space while being sustainably stylish. Vintage finds are taking social media and small businesses by storm with Cottagecore living, natural, laid-back design trends, and eclectic aesthetics creating the intriguing interiors we’re all vying for.

Thrifting is a great way to curate a space that feels like it’s been years in the making, and save some serious cash in doing so. But we know sorting through the second-hand shop shelves can be daunting and downright discouraging. With these tips, you’ll be thrifting your way to a more well-rounded space with cost-friendly home décor in no time.


Conquer by Category

Thrifting in general can seem a bit overwhelming when you hear how wonderful it is and build up expectations for what you’re going to find; but then you walk into your first second-hand shop and nothing looks appealing. It’s best to keep a mental or written checklist of what you’re looking for during your next thrift trip to help keep your eye on the prize.

Start with general categories, like the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. Then, divide those into subcategories, like coffee table, bookshelf, nightstand, etc. What kind of pieces have you been wanting to implement in your home recently? Do you want a new coffee table book? New canisters for sugar and flour? Want to style your bookshelf better, stock your buffet with new dishware, or update your bathroom countertop with trendy pieces? When you have even a slight idea of what you’re looking for, it’s much easier to sift through the shelves and find things that you actually want! Plan a different trip for each category to make things super simple.

Keep a Color Scheme or Texture in Mind

Most likely, you’ll lean toward the aesthetic that matches your interior design style during your next second-hand hunt. But have you ever thought about keeping a color scheme or certain texture in mind while you shop? This is a tried-and-true technique that helps keep your eyes peeled for very specific décor that you’ve been wanting to incorporate on your couch, atop your shelves, or on your kitchen counter.

Love neutrals? Try out a thrifting day dedicated to searching the shelves for everything beige, cream, terracotta, salmon, brown, or black. Color more your style? Divide and conquer by putting any colorful items in your cart and imagining them in your space. Put back pieces you can’t envision in a certain spot or any that wouldn’t correlate with your existing décor. What textures fit well within your home and design style? Do you need metal accent pieces to complement your modern farmhouse or urban digs? Want some light and airy linen fabrics or textured stone pieces to accentuate your Scandinavian or modern minimalist interior? When you have a color and texture in mind, items seem to stand out a little better, and thrifting for home décor gets easier every time.

Pro tip: create a vision board on Pinterest or with magazine cut-outs full of your favorite tones and textures to help you decide which ones go best in your space!

See the Potential

It’s not just an old pitcher, it’s a potential vase for your dried pampas grass. Rather than an outdated ceramic bowl, it’s a new planter for your pilea. Whenever you hold up an item and think “It’s cute, but meh,” there could be another use for it that you just haven’t thought of yet! Turn that 25-cent wicker basket from the ‘80s into trendy wall décor, or the vintage fabric into one-of-a-kind throw pillows. Upcycling items can be easier than you realize; you just have to think outside the box, and there are countless tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest for how to turn aged pieces into contemporary works of art.

No matter your interior preference, there’s always something on the shelves that has the potential to bond with your style at home. If you love modern glam, gravitate toward gold metal pieces or large, framed artwork. Boho décor more your style? Pick up eclectic accents, like woven décor to turn into storage bins or macrame wall hangings. Just be true to your interior style and keep an eye out for pieces that speak to you for the best thrifting experience.


Don’t Pass Up a Diamond in the Rough

Thrift shops are potential gold mines for pieces that would cost an arm and a leg at high-end home décor stores. Keep an eye out for things that are unnecessarily expensive elsewhere, like hard-back coffee table books, unique lamp bases, rugs, throw pillows and blankets, record players, framed art, or décor pieces that you can display as trendy, expensive pottery dupes.


Avoid What You Don’t Need

It may be tempting to collect anything and everything that appeals to you in the home décor section (especially after a glimpse at the price tag), but that could quickly accumulate into clutter you don’t have room for. To avoid a potential hoarding situation, keep this mantra in mind: “If I wouldn’t invest in this piece full-price, then there’s probably no need for it in my home.” Thrifting can offer a unique take on home décor that you can’t find anywhere else, but just because it’s discounted doesn’t mean you need it!

To prevent your vintage finds from collecting dust, think of a very specific place you’ll put it in your home. If you can’t think of where you’ll put it or what you could use it for, then it’s probably going to sit in storage and take up space in your cabinet.


Enjoy the Process

Contrary to how it may seem on social media, you don’t need to have a beautiful, Pinterest-worthy home after your first couple of thrift trips. Curating a space that speaks to your style takes time, effort, and money. Enjoy the process, and be patient with the environment you’re creating.

Remember, don’t equate an unsuccessful first home décor thrift trip with all thrifting experiences! Some stores have a better home décor selection than others. Branch out and visit several different ones to see which one fits your style or has the most inventory to be selective with. Second-hand shops receive waves of new items every week, so don’t be afraid to become a frequent shopper at your favorite one. Tired of all your local thrift stores? Check out estate sales, Facebook marketplace, of flea markets in your area.

If you’ve fallen out of love with one of your purchased pieces, no problem! Donate it back to a second-hand store, where your “trash” could very well be someone else’s treasure.


Have you thrifted any interior décor recently, or does this have you itching to check out your local second-hand shop to score some new goodies for your house? Let us know your techniques for a successful trip to the thrift store at @walkeredisonco on Instagram!