When you’re on a tight budget, you can save money by finding home decor at flea markets and thrift stores. Even if you’re not on a budget, these places are treasure troves filled with items just waiting for you special touch to make it beautiful. Below are some tips for finding great pieces and turning them into beautiful home décor.
How to find beautiful home decor treasures at flea markets and thrift stores
Let’s start with some basics for flea market and thrift store shopping, shall we? The first thing you need to know is WHERE to find them. Finding established thrift stores is pretty simple, just search thrift stores + your zip code. I found 19 in my area and it only took a second of searching.
Flea markets are a bit trickier. We have a huge one that runs every weekend in the same spot. While they have some great deals, they cater towards people from the city. This means higher than usual flea market prices, because to the city people, they’re still great bargains. Finding amazing deals usually requires visiting flea markets off the beaten path. Group yard sales are also good. Check sites like Craigslist and your local paper’s community events section to find them.
My last basic tip for flea market shopping: shop early to find the best stuff, but late to find the best deals. If you are looking for something specific, be there first thing in the morning. If you just want to browse and get a good deal, go towards the end of the day when people just want to get rid of stuff. For thrift stores, know which days are “discount days.” Our local thrift store cycles out unsold merchandise on Wednesdays, so they often discount it at a pretty hefty price.
Turning your finds into home decor treasures
Now that you know the basics of how to shop flea markets and thrift stores, it’s time to talk about how to find beautiful home décor! My biggest tip here: shop with an open mind! Home décor isn’t all about paintings and sculptures, it’s about showing off your personality. Take a look at a few of my favorite ideas for turning one man’s trash into your home décor treasure.
In an age of cell phone photography and instant gratification through digital cameras, film-based cameras are pretty much little more than a novelty item. While some are considered collectible and can cost a fortune, many thrift stores sell lesser-known brands for a song. Show off your love of photography by grouping a few on a mantle!
Old books are a veritable treasure trove of home decor ideas! While I can’t bring myself to harm any book that is still readable (or collectible), there are plenty of books at flea markets with missing or completely faded pages. You don’t even have to find antique books to get fun home decor. Grab a few hardcover books, take off the dust jacket, spray paint the covers (either all one color, like gold, or multiple colors for a different effect) and voila, work of art!
Throw pillows are one of my favorite pieces of home decor because they’re so versatile and easy to switch out. You can pick up some inexpensive boring pillows at a discount store, then grab some gorgeous place mats or material scraps to give them a face lift. You can also use pretty towels to make your own no-sew repurposed pillows!
Glasses and tableware isn’t just for dinner time! Beautiful colored glasses make great candle holders, bowls can hold jewelry and other trinkets, and plates look great hanging on your kitchen wall. You can also fill clear glasses with colorful beads, shells and other fun items.
Old mirrors make a fun statement all on their own. You can also find some really great frames! Even if the art inside is hideous, consider how you can repurpose the frame itself. Use it for your child’s artwork, a great photo or even to frame a homemade bulletin board. Even if the color of the frame isn’t something you love, you can always paint it!
These are just a few ideas and tips for finding beautiful home décor at a flea market or thrift store. As I said, the important thing is to go into it with an open mind. Look at items not as they are, but how they could be. However- and this is important- don’t buy something that needs a major overhaul unless you are dedicated to actually doing it! I bought a cute desk for $5 once that I said I would refinish. Never happened. It ended up sitting in a corner of my garage for ages.
Do you have any tips for finding home décor at flea markets and thrift stores? Tell us in the comments!