How To Shop In Thrift Stores For A Beautiful Home

Wondering how to shop in thrift stores efficiently? I’m sharing some of my best tips to learn how to shop in thrift stores to create a one-of-a-kind and beautiful home!

How To Shop In Thrift Stores For A Beautiful Home

Although decorating with thrifted finds has been a staple for those of us into the art of decor, it has only now become more mainstream and trendy.
But, if you have questions about how to shop at thrift stores to get the best of it, I’ve got you covered!

In this post, I’m sharing all the tips I’ve gathered after decades of thrift shopping. Don’t let the thrift store term scare you, because I am here to tell you that spending your money wisely in decorating your home can have huge payoffs!

Before we jump into my tips for each category, let’s have a quick overview of how to plan for shopping at thrift stores.

How to Find Thrift Stores & Plan Thrift Store Shopping

If this is your first time or you’re just not too familiar with thrift stores in your area, the first step is to explore your options online.
Use Google, Facebook groups, and social media pages to find local thrift stores.

Many stores have their own websites or social media accounts where you can get a glimpse of their offerings. Take a virtual tour through their photo galleries and get a sense of their style and inventory. You can also check reviews and comments, which is always something to keep in mind.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential thrift stores, it’s time to hit the pavement and visit them in person.

While research is important, don’t forget to leave room for serendipity! Sometimes the most delightful discoveries happen when you stumble upon an unknown thrift store during a leisurely stroll or while exploring a new neighborhood. Keep an open mind, embrace spontaneity, and be ready to uncover unexpected treasures in the most unlikely places.

I’ve always loved the thrill of the thrift store hunt, there are so many hidden gems just waiting to get discovered and brought back to life. It has also allowed me to save money (without relegating style) so I had more money for expensive and timeless high-end pieces. 

How To Shop In Thrift Stores For A Beautiful Home

Here are the 5 items that are most abundant and the best things to shop for in thrift stores to beautify my home! Tips and tricks for thrift store shopping are included!

1. Dinnerware: Flatware, Bottles & Jars

If you’re like me and you love to beautify everything in your home, you probably enjoy a beautiful table escapade. And thrift stores are the place to get the prettiest finds for your dinnerware!

Head for the dishes when you are shopping and you are sure to find lots of choices. Something that you’ll almost always find in your local thrift store is white dinnerware pieces.
Keep in mind that you don’t need an entire set for a tablescape.

Mix and mingle is my mantra when it comes to table setting and that goes for pattern and color as well. I encourage you to embrace an eclectic style in this area, so you can take advantage of the pretty finds you’ll discover. You can always make the table set more “matchy” by keeping the linens and other accessories within the same color palette.

I’ve had my eyes on these antique Haviland Limoges in my favorite thrift store for several months, but the price was way more than I was willing to spend for a partial set. I pop in often, so when the thrift shop had 50% off all items this weekend I was thrilled to buy it! Talk about a steal of a deal!

Tips when shopping for dinnerware

Be smart about pricing. In my experience, most items that are well-priced from the get-go, sell very quickly. But, those items that are obviously overpriced generally don’t sell fast. f you feel that is the case with something that you covet, wait it out and see if it eventually is on sale. Most thrift stores have sales every day, so ask at the front desk when you walk in.

2. Furniture: Sofas, Chairs & Tables

Thrift stores sell what is donated to them and the furniture is generally bountiful. When shopping for furniture you can find a mix of brand new store-overstock and used pieces. But you still need to check for a few details before buying it. For items that have fabric, I recommend checking the smell of the furniture and for any tears.

If you are planning on cleaning it and not recovering you’ll want to be sure that there is no smell of animal urine which I’ve found close to impossible to get out.

inspiration for how to shop in thrift stores for a beautiful home featuring a living room with a white fireplace

In the case of my sofa, the fabric was too worn to keep, so for the price of just $150 I knew that I could recover it professionally and still come out a winner. Look for tables too and repurpose them using different painting techniques. Paint can be a lifesaver for furniture!

Tips to Shop Furniture in Thrift Stores

If you are looking for furniture and heading out to do the thrift store circuit, take an SUV or pick-up truck. If you don’t have one, grab a friend who has one of those vehicles for a day of fun!

3. Wall Decor: Art & Mirrors

Artwork and wall decor such as mirrors are generally stacked in the corner towards the back of most thrift stores. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know, but that seems to be the case!

I’ve found some amazing mirrors and my daughters have found framed art pieces and the prices are generally low.
Don’t forget that mirrors can be painted and frames can be pulled off and repurposed from art to use in other projects.

Tips to shop wall decor thrift stores

Check back often because merchandise is put out several times a day if not more! People have discovered the joys of shopping at realistic price points and merchandise tends to move much faster than at antique or vintage shops.

Aren’t these mirrors beautiful?

how to paint items you find in thrift stores

Yes…these are thrift store finds! I repaint the above mirror white to bring it back to its glory days.

how to find deals in thrift stores

4. Lighting: Chandelier & Lamps

Much of the lighting in both of our homes is vintage and found at either thrift stores or yard sales.

Don’t forget to look up, as chandeliers are generally hooked to the ceiling. Look for lamps in pairs and lampshades and take your time! Remember that you can always repurpose them or make them into a DIY project, so try to look beyond how it looks now and check the actual condition, style, and shape.

5. Baskets & Bins

I also love to display flowers in baskets, whether dried flowers, silk, or fresh in jars.

To find the best baskets, skip the plastic! Look for baskets in good shape and try to go for materials like wicker, wood, or metal. You can always spruce it up with paint to make it look elevated.

Tips to find lighting in thrift stores

Baskets are always plentiful at thrift shops! You can spruce them up with paint and small fixes.
You can use them for magazines or hang onto them for use during the holidays to create a gift basket that can be personalized for friends.

You can never go wrong when shopping at thrift stores! Even if you don’t see anything that speaks to you, head on over to the book section and scoop up a couple of novels or perhaps a Martha Stewart book!

Remember, researching local thrift stores isn’t just about finding great deals; it’s an opportunity to support local businesses and contribute to the circular economy. So, go forth, sleuth out those thrift stores, and let the hunt for amazing home decor treasures begin!

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  1. Selah Ingle says:

    Thanks for the tips šŸ™‚ I love going thrift store shopping as it is always such an adventure.

  2. I am fortunate to volunteer at our church thrift store which supports our food bank. Not only do I help those less fortunate than myself but also feed my own thrift store addiction. Just redid our powder room and found the perfect mirror for over the new vanity. Even my husband was impressed. I am always bringing home some treasure I find for my own home or my daughter’s houses. Such fun.

    1. Church thrifts are wonderful, good finds and great support system too!

  3. I have a favorite consignment shop I go to….the items are juried and come with great prices. Antiques, vintage and beautiful furnishings all displayed beautifully….I go there when I am in the area and have come home with lots of treasures…like my 1850 Louis XVI mirror for a fabulous price! I recently went to our local Habitat and noticed that antiques, etc that come in are now in an area for a “silent auction”…now that’s not fun! Have a great week Janet!

  4. Iā€™m off the next two days (my first pair off since early November) and may just have to hit a thrift store or two! Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Thank you for all the great tips for shopping at thrift stores. Great information and ideas. Love your photos and love the Limoges China. Jean

  6. Daisy Dianne Bromlow says:

    Love your style ! and your tips for shopping area just Awesome. Thanks

    1. Much appreciated Daisy…enjoy your week!

      1. Barbara Clark says:

        We are full-time Rvers, but that doesn’t stop me from deorating I am a quilter and have donated about 100 lap quilts to friends. I put one on the back of my sofa and one at the end of my bed. I love thrift stores and have a passion for crystal things especially hearts..
        I love silk flowers and have 3 bouquets in lovely thrift store vases. I love thrift stores so much. I have always said I would love to decorate a home with just thrift store furniture and decor. I may get to do that in the future.

        1. Your RV is your home, so why not make it a beautiful place to be! Sounds like you’re doing just that Barbara!

  7. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    Great tips! I love finding new items and use all my dishes when entertaining. However, I have so many that I am going through and getting rid of the ones that I haven’t used in a good while. I know someone will love having them as much as I have. I plan to take them to the Humane Society Thrift Store but when I go I always bring home more than I drop off!! Have a nice weekend. Peace and Joy

    1. I’ve donated many dishes and it justifies me picking up more that way. Haha! Enjoy your day Cecelia!

  8. DEVONNA R HALL says:

    I was told that one should offer 10% less than the marked price at thrift stores. What is your view on this? Thanks for the tips and for your answer!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Devonna. No, I definitely would not ask for a better price at any thrift store. Prices are generally set and they do often have specific days where certain categories are discounted for that day. At a flea market you can usually strike a deal with a vendor, but I ask “Can you do any better” or “is the price negotiable”? Something like that…

  9. Sharon Doenitz says:

    Love thrifting and my house is a show place because of it.

  10. I can actually comment this time! I am not good at all on computers, but have followed you for years and shopped on your Shabbyfufu before. I have wanted to ask questions so many times, but could never figure out how to. I have always loved the white shabby chic look and finally in my late years am getting there. Thank you for all your ideas and help. I go through your emails every day and love the suggestions. Thanks from Mary, now living in NC as a California native and loving it.

    1. Mary…it’s not entirely you, as I’ve had to turn off commenting on occasion with sooooo much spam! It’s back on now, and I am here for you…

  11. Janet we learn from each other and I am so happy you are empowering women on beautiful things for their homes with less to worry about.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    You have exquisite taste.


    1. Awww, thank you Sandy and we do learn from each-other!! Have a wonderful week..Janet

  12. I just love your tips on thrift shopping! I used to do that years ago, and loved decorating our home with great finds! It took me back to such a great time in my life. Thank you so much, Janet!

    1. I’m glad that this post made you happy Carol! I just love thrifting, even if I don’t necessarily need anything. It’s so fun to see what’s out there…

  13. Thank you for all your hints and inspiration!


    1. Well I thank you Ladybug for stopping by! Happy weekend!

  14. Mary Ackman says:

    Janet, I love this post on Thrifting!! I learned to thrift from my Mother and have passed the skill down to my son and daughter. As a volunteer at my local Assistance League Thrift Shop for 13 years, I have met wonderful people and have seen amazing donations. Not only does Thrift Shopping save money, but this fun form of recycling raises money for local charities and lets useful merchandise find a new life, instead of going to a landfill. My favorite thrift store finds are dishes, crystal and decorative accessories. You never know what treasures you might find!!

    1. Mary, I’m sure that we would have fun thrifting together…lol! I definitely have a favorite thrift store that I go to and all of the proceeds to help veterans. Happy weekend!