8 Thrift Shop Tips for Home Decor

With home décor becoming more eclectic and personalized, designers, renters and homeowners alike are often on the hunt for cool–looking one-of-a-kind pieces that can help make a space come alive.

In my home, I love mixing new décor with collectables I find on my travels. I also add touches of vintage and thrift store finds. By mixing all of these elements, I believe a space begins to tell a story, and is more interesting and enjoyable.

When shopping for vintage or gently used items, I like to scour thrift stores and markets looking for the best deals and coolest finds. To help you bring a touch of vintage into your home, I’ve put together my top tips for successful thrift/vintage shopping. Enjoy and happy hunting! 

1. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

There are so many tempting items at a thrift store. To make sure your newfound treasures will work for you, before you go, make a list of items you are looking for. If you see something amazing that isn’t on your list, think long and hard about where you are going to use it before you buy it. 

2. LOOK FOR QUALITY BRANDS

Thrift shopping is like a treasure hunt. Try to find quality name brands that you are familiar with. You can also look at the construction to see if the item you are looking at is made in a solid fashion. You might not recognize a brand but you can see how well it is made. Also check for marks, holes and general wear and tear. Some patina can add character, but if an item looks
too broken, take a pass on it.

3. KNOW THE SALE DAYS

Many thrift store have 30 and 50 percent off days. Ask the cashiers and check the websites: the sales will be posted there. Most thrift stores normally have sales at least once a month. Prepare to arrive early, as all the bargain hunters will be out.

4. BRING CASH

I like sticking to a budget when I thrift shop, so I always bring the exact amount I am willing to spend. This makes me think long and hard about an item and ask myself: Do I really want it? Can I ask for a better price? By using cash, you will end up with items you really love.

5. CHECK THE STORES REGULARLY

New stock is put out regularly, so stop by on a regular basis. Make friends with a stock clerk and try to find out when the new items are put on the sales floor.

6. GET CREATIVE

Fab find but wrong colour? Nothing that a little paint can’t fix! Have fun! A drab item becomes a conversation starter when painted neon green or bright orange. 

7. MIX AND MATCH

Don’t worry if items like glassware and plates don’t match perfectly. Shop for items in the same colour family and mix up patterns. I like to use the opposites rule when mixing patterns—always pair organic (floral etc.) with something graphic (stripe, check).

8. SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE

Trust your eye. If you love it in a thrift store, chances are you will love it at home too! 

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About the Author

Janette Ewen

Janette Ewen

Janette Ewen is a celebrity designer, stylist, writer, editor and broadcaster. Janette has been one of North America’s leading decor and lifestyle experts for more than 15 years. Comments

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