Home Decor Basics to LOOK for while Thrifting

Hi, Everyone!
As a decorator/home stager, I often get asked what kinds of things to look for 
when shopping for home accessories at thrift stores, 
items that will contribute to a charming home instead of adding more junque
I search for items that are classic, versatile, plentiful, and useful in just about every room.
I like having a warm, interesting, and cozy home. 
But, paying the retail or original price for ANYTHING is against my religion. 
So, Goodwill and Salvation Army come to my rescue almost every time!
Here are some ideas for what to look for that will breathe new life into your home 
and have you singing thrift stores’ praises.
Ceramic Pitchers 
Not only are they perfect for storing utensils in the kitchen, 
they make beautiful bouquet holders on a nightstand. 
On open shelving, they make a simple decorative element.

Old Books
They add charm, warmth and interest. 
Oh! And You can learn something from them, too!

They make great hidden storage, make me appear organized when I’m actually messy. 
What’s not to love?

Soft chenille, an old quilt, a crocheted heirloom. 
They beckon us to come join them, curled up with a book, the laptop, or the cat.
Sentimental Pieces
Someone else’s unwanted furnishings can become your heirlooms.

I believe each room ought to have a clock in it. Yes, even a small one can go in the bathroom.
(I found this large 2' in diameter one for the kitchen for $4!)

I don’t think a home can ever have too much indirect lighting. 
Buy lamps for their shape and spray paint them.

(This lamp is in THIS room.)
White Dishes
Ironstone and china.They are classic. 
They can be dressed up or casual. They go with any table setting.

Side Chairs
You can never have too much seating, can you? 
Well, maybe you can, but it shouldn’t stop you if you find a sturdy, beautiful chair.
(This is a Hickory Chair. Retail $485.00. I paid $5.00 and gave it a makeover.)

Silver goes anywhere and it adds some bling to any space.
(A Fall front door wreath I created from a round silver tray.)

Remove the art, if it’s not your taste. 
Paint the frame and make something fun and useful! Or add cork.

If you can find these, grab them! Mirrors, rugs, and linens. 
These are basics that add layers to our homes.
Sometimes it feels like the decorating process is never over. 
You may suddenly find inspiration or feel the urge for a change, but it may not be in the budget. 
Fortunately, there are thrift stores to help us out.
What do you look for when you are out thrifting that’s not in this list? 
What do you collect?


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  1. Everything about this makes me smile. NOTHING is more satisfying that buying something for DIRT CHEAP and redoing it to your liking, and having someone say, "I love that! Where did you get it?" :D

  2. I think you mentioned just about everything I look for at the thrift stores! Great tutorial!


  3. Great ideas! I tend to look for furniture that I can either paint or change in some way. I also look for mixing bowls, old fashion magazines and milkglass.

  4. Thanks for posting this list I think I might just rigth it down. I'm a BIG thrifter and love the Salvation Army! :)

  5. Great list, Leslie. I like to look for anything lacy----ribbons, pillow cases, doilies etc.

    Also, I like to seek out pretty vases that can be filled with flowers and brought to someone in the hospital or at home.

    Of course, anything for my dollhouse gets snatched up, too.

    Take care and have a great rest of the week. Susan

  6. Great list! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Goodwill shopping for most everything. :-)

  7. I collect a lot of those things and now it looks like I am adding wood boxes to the list. I just noticed that your blog background and mine are alike.

  8. I've told myself I'm not going back to the thrift store until I complete the projects I've got lined up. But it's easier said than done. You just don't know what you might be missing! LOL! You are so talented at turning thrift store finds into treasures! Love your linen closet!

  9. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!


  10. Thank you so much for this list. I found a bench to place at the foot of my bed. The seat opens up for storage space. This has been my best find in a long time. Thank you for your list. I'm off to the thrift shop right now.

  11. What a great list! Where do you like to "thrift?"

  12. This is a great list! I agree with every point you've made. I'd also say to watch out for sturdy little tables. I LOVE occasional tables. There's always an occasion for them! :)

    I've not done any thrifting in awhile, to tell the truth. Your post makes me want to do a little treasure-hunting!!

  13. I recently got the cutest picture frame that had little windows shutters...for $1.79. Too cute. (It's sitting on my Winter Mantel if you want to

    Yep, baskets. I recently went to GW looking for some to hold chips and snacks on our open shelving.

    Resale shops are great for finding really inexpensive, sometimes vintage, souvenirs from places that mean something to our family.

    My rules is, I don't buy it if I don't know where I'm going to put it. So far, that has helped.

    (Even better is knowing in advance that something I'm getting today can mean I can get rid of 2 others things - since the new thing will be more helpful.)

    Doesn't always work, but when it does, it's fun.

  14. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!


  15. Hi Leslie! You are a great example that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a BEAUTIFUL home. Love this post.

  16. Love all your tips, Leslie, especially the ceramic pitchers and the frames.
    I know you're going to think this is crazy but would you believe me if I told you that I don't have a single clock in our home, other than the digital one on the stove and alarms on nightstands. I love them but never remember to get them. You think that makes me timeless? ;)

  17. i love this blog it is just so inspiring hope to be able to enjoy it as well this year, very well done, especially as an high-end interior designer it is interesting to see what other people do, thank you so much

  18. Great tips on what to look for!!! I love finding things at thrift shops that others could no longer see the beauty in. I love taking them home and lovingly bring the beauty back so everyone can see it.

  19. These are wonderful ideas thanks for sharing. So nice to meet you just found your beautiful blog and so happy I did. I have enjoyed looking around and I'm now following you, wonderful to meet new friends. Hope you find a spare minute to visit me sometime follow back if you like. Sending you special wishes for a wonderful New Year I’m looking forward to keeping in touch in 2012.
    Always Wendy

  20. Great post my lovely friend! You are right, the urge to change it up hits me too often for my family's liking. But these basic pieces that you mention are so easily mixed around that it makes for an easy way to change things for free. Lisa~

  21. Ah at last! Someone has a home with color! Everyone seems to be into white these days. Although I love looking at homes with chippy furniture and white, white, white it does get a bit boring for me. I'm a colorful gal and just love color and don't like to go with trends because I'd go broke trying to keep up.

    Love your colorful space. I like what I see so far so I'll stop typing and take a look around.

    Thanks for a refreshing look of color!


  22. That's a great list of ideas. I'm kind of new to thrifting and appreciate your suggestions.

  23. The basic thing we look for is that we select the furniture with a solid frame to ensure it holds up for years to come. Purchasing furniture at a thrift store saves money, but you need to be careful not to select furniture that cannot withstand normal wear-and-tear.

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  25. hi....,
    lovely decoration on dining table. the glasses are looking very cute on table. you can use the double wall glasses.

  26. Amazing pictures. I really impressed with this type of decoration.

  27. Love the pictures. Always love looking at stuff like this.

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  29. You can have a look at the home décor basics from the post here. Good post

  30. I collect a lot of those things and now it looks like I am adding wood boxes to the list. I just noticed that your blog background and mine are alike.epdm Rubber

  31. You can easily create a shabby chic-style room without having to break the bank. Here are 5 shabby chic home decor tips.

  32. Beautiful pictures. So much inspiration.

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