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Make a house a home – the scoop on finding treasures at thrift and consignment stores

As a designer, I know the impulse to get rid of everything and buy new furniture and accessories. That’s a strategy if you want to live in a staged home! The layers and cozy features of beautiful come from a more collected approach of the old and new. Interesting pieces that are unique to you paired with beautiful, timeless furnishings. 

A collected look doesn’t have to be costly – thrift stores and consignment stores are the perfect places to hunt down the types of pieces you love. And it really is magical to come across just the perfect piece, knowing it has a history. 

Here are the trends that designers are seeing from secondhand stores:


Bar carts and rehabbing old furniture into cool bars has been trending for several years, so the search for interesting barware isn’t a surprise! You can find beautiful sets of glasses and sometimes cut crystal for very little. I love depression glass in green and finding new pieces wherever I go. 

Vintage Frames

You can take the simplest piece of art and put it a vintage frame for huge visual impact. From the simple to the gilded and ornate, creating interesting gallery walls makes a home so much more interesting. Choosing a color or style to collect can turn a bunch of random pieces of art into a beautiful collection. My grandmother loved finding the super cheap, slightly damaged ones and repairing them. She became quite the expert with gold leaf and a brush!


Estate sales and vintage stores are troves for good art pieces. You can find original oils and line art; interesting signed and numbered prints; and even intricate fabric and woven pieces. I always enjoyed finding pieces at auctions in the country when I lived in Illinois. Art is in the eye of the beholder, so think beyond the canvas! I know someone who collects and frames antique valentines. Another uses sections of cigar boxes in cool ways to create art. All of which leads me to . . . 


Old game boards make great art pieces, but they’re also cool as background pieces on shelves or on the tops of consoles or coffee tables. I saw a large wall of twelve old game boards mounted and hung in a game room/kids’ hangout space. It was an inexpensive and visually exciting way to decorate a large wall. 


I love used bookstores. Finding old design and architecture books is so fun! I also love old gardening books with line art illustrations of plants. Botany and entomology books with color plates are stunning – and frameable! Stacks of books on mantels, shelves and tables are the easiest way to warm up your room. 

Tchotchkes - almost everyone has these thrift store treasures

Tchotchkes collection,  or vintage decor collection
Photo Credit: Pinterest

– that’s Yiddish for those things that sit around your house! 

Think vases, small boxes, pottery, candlesticks, and trays. These types of finds look great grouped together or placed on shelves. Patterns and colors can be interesting additions to your décor, but if you find beautiful shapes that you like, but the colors are off, just paint them. Choosing a single color and grouping interestingly shaped items together can create both rhythm and texture in your design. We paint candlesticks, cannisters, lamps, and vases in our staging business to get just the right color for our designs. 

Share your photos and collections with us in the comments! We would love to see what you’re thrifting! 

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