How to Decorate Your Home Like an Interior Designer With Thrift Store Finds

Three experts share how to thrift shop strategically.

We have all spent hours pining over Pinterest boards, dreaming of the day we’ll have the house of our dreams. Unfortunately, we know the reality of our budget and how often that gets in the way of making our dreams a reality. A stylish home doesn’t have to break the bank, however.

In honor of National Thrift Store Day on Aug. 17, I asked three designers and thrift-shop aficionados to give their tips on how to thrift like a pro. With their valuable advice, you can bring your Pinterest boards to life while also staying within your monthly budget.

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According to Ariene Bethea, owner of Dressing Rooms Interiors Studios, a vintage shop and design studio, two rules will put you on the right track when thrift shopping.

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©Ariene Bethea of Dressing Rooms Interiors Studios
  1. Look for Quality — You want to look for pieces that are well-made, structurally speaking. Items made from solid materials like wood, brass or stone are usually a good bet. An added bonus is when you find pieces signed by the artist.
  2. Use Your Imagination — Vintage shopping is like treasure-hunting through the eras, so be open to using pieces in unexpected ways.
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©Ariene Bethea of Dressing Rooms Interiors Studios

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“Thrift shopping is such a great way to add a unique vibe to your space,” said Danielle McKim, Charlotte, N.C.-based interior designer and owner of TUFT. “Not only can you save money, but adding vintage pieces throughout your space can really take it to the next level. I love to mix styles in my home and my clients’.” She also divulged her go-to tips for thrift store shopping.

  1. Go Often — You never know what will come in, so checking your local spots often will ensure you find great pieces.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Styles — Multiple styles of items can really add a curated vibe to your space.
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©Danielle McKim of TUFT

Check Out: I Decorated My Home Without Spending a Fortune — Here’s How

Jamala Wallace, the interior design blogger behind VivaLaVintage – For Your Home, based in South Carolina, is the queen of estate sales. She told me the top items to look for when thrift shopping and how to use them in a home.

  1. Baskets — Baskets are a must, and you can put them everywhere. They can act as planters, catchers or, when flipped upside down, can even be used as small tables. They’re a great, cheap staple to have around the house and repurpose when you want to change things up a bit.
  2. Pillows — Sure, it’s wonderful to have custom-made pillows, but when you add up the cost of fabric and the pillow form, coupled with the time it takes to make them, you might find that it’s actually cheaper to get them from thrift stores. So, don’t pass by those bins of pillows without taking a peek.
  3. Books — Every coffee table requires books. Not only for reading, but they can be used to add height to decorative table decor and if they have beautiful covers they add more color to your space overall.

There you have it. With a little bit of creativity and thrift-store shopping, you can decorate your home like an interior designer, with some unique, affordable finds.

Read More: 20 Home Renovations You Can Make for $1K or Less

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