If you love the idea of creating a unique, character-filled home without having to spend an arm and a leg, then your local thrift store is your best friend! Here’s my list of thrift store home decor finds that you should never pass up.
You really can find just about anything at your local thrift store if you pop in often enough. We often joke that it really is the best store in our small town because you can find all kinds of really high-quality items at our local thrift stores that just aren’t available in our limited selection of regular retail stores. When it comes to home decor, the thrift store is one of the best places to find items that will really give your home a bit of character and make it feel like home. There are certain items that I’ve found are pretty common to see at thrift stores that are particularly helpful in achieving a farmhouse style look to your home so I thought I’d share some of my favourite thrift store home decor finds with you today. Make a mental note to keep an eye out for these pieces before your next visit!
I don’t know if I’ve met many baskets in my lifetime that I didn’t like, but if we’re being honest, thrift store baskets always stand head-and-shoulders above the rest when it comes to character and charm. I find that I end up trying unique shapes and sizes when I get baskets at the thrift store that might not normally try using when I’m paying full price for baskets from a regular retail store. I also usually give my thrift store baskets a little paint makeover and the results are always surprisingly beautiful, especially when you consider that most thrift store baskets come to a grand total of about $1.99.
Here’s where you can find the post on how I paint my thrift store baskets.
Old windows are great for filling blank walls and instantly creating a farmhouse kinda vibe. Depending on where you live, these can be either fairly easy to come by, or nearly impossible. We live in a rural area with quite a few 100+ year old farmhouses, so they aren’t too difficult to stumble on, but I still get quite a few local people asking me where they might find them. I’ve had a lot of luck finding them at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore as opposed to a regular thrift store, so definitely have a look there if you have a local ReStore where you live. I found the one here for $5 a few years ago and it’s just one of those things that looks just perfect no matter where I use it in the house. Side note: I like the old windows without the glass if I can find them that way because then I don’t have to deal with weird reflections in photos. 🙂
(That cute “Be Kind” sign came from my friend Julia at Out of the Woodz Home, by the way!)
My eyes were recently opened up to the magical world of thrift store mixing bowls and I don’t think I can ever go back. While they aren’t really technically decor, you can display them if you have open shelving, or use them to display fruit on your counter. I’ve always felt a little frustrated by the fact that most mixing bowls that I see in stores are kind of sad-looking compared to the works of art that I see people like Martha Stewart using, or they’re just really crazy expensive and I found pretty great loophole when I started scoping out the mixing bowl section of the thrift store. These milk glass-y bowls makes me so happy every time I go to use them, which is quite often because they’re the best.
Another recent discovery of mine. Not only are the tea towels at the thrift store usually brand new-ish, they’re often pretty old and really high quality. They just don’t make them like they used to! Look for high quality Irish linen tea towels if you really want to experience what a great tea towel feels like. I often find lots of great tea towels in different colors and patterns that I wouldn’t normally buy and set them aside for a pop of color in recipe photos… then I usually realize I really like them and start using them as my regular tea towels anyway.
This category has been a real problem for me because there are just so many of these that pop up in my local thrift store. I love these for camping, picnics, soccer games, and just sitting around the fire pit in the backyard. You just can’t beat a good quality wool blanket for warmth and coziness and I have to admit that my collection is really starting to outgrow the little cabinet that I’ve been keeping them in. I like pretty much any old wool blanket, but I give myself bonus points for plaid ones. 🙂
Cute Little Tables
OK, so the reason why I say that you should never pass a cute little table up is that I’ve actually left a cute little table in the store quite a few times and I’ve always regretted it. Always.
Every. Single. Time.
Each time I’ve returned home after leaving a little table behind, I’ve always immediately seen the perfect spot for it in my home or realized just how great my need for tiny tables is. Lesson learned: You really can never have enough little tables around the house. I especially love using tall plant stands as tables because they hardly take up any room and they’re the perfect size to hold a mug, a phone, and a pen, which is usually exactly what I need in a side table. 🙂
These are similar to old windows in that they’re great empty-wall-fillers and they just bring an instant hit of rustic-ness to any space. Plus, they just seem to look good almost anywhere you use them. I tend to like to keep a few extras around just in case a room looks a little bare in a photo I’m trying to take. I’ll just plunk an old shutter leaning against a wall somewhere and it seems to always do the trick. I have a couple of old shuttery closet doors in the garage right now that I’d like to paint and use on the side porch as well, because it can look kind of bare out there with all the white we have going on, especially when we don’t have any seasonal decor happening. I find tons of these at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore as well so definitely take a look there!
This idea is a little more aligned with my own personal taste, and might not necessarily be what most people think of as farmhouse style, but since I’m a bit of a part-time chinoiserie fan, ginger jars make me very happy. You can find all kinds of ginger-jar-shaped pieces, big and small, in the knick knack section of the thrift store. They’re often some pretty garish colors when you find them second hand, but they look amazing with a coat of white spray paint. I had a few of these a few years ago and, again, they just seemed to look right no matter where I put them… and then they broke. I’m starting to rebuild my collection now and this little guy is waiting to be painted white in the spring!…or maybe not because now that I look at this one again, it’s actually quite nice the way it is. 🙂 But some ginger jar somewhere will be getting some white spray paint!
Blue and White Dishes, Vases, etc.
Although this stuff has been having a trendy moment for the last few years, I’m pretty sure these will always be classic pieces. I’ve had times where I’ve displayed them, like now, and other times where I’ve just kept them tucked away in a cupboard, but I’ve never regretted adding to my blue and white collection.
Not only are old books fascinating to read through, a lot of them are really beautiful and look great in a farmhouse style setting. They’re often just the little bit of character that a vignette on a coffee table or a little shelf needs to give it a little bit of personality. I have a few really old books that were passed down to me from my family and you’ve probably seen them pop up in my photos quite often. I’m hoping to grab a few more during my next thrift store trip if I can keep myself from being distracted by the cookbooks when I walk through that section of the store!
What are some of your favourite farmhouse style thrift store decor finds that you’ve come across? Do you agree with my list or have I left off something essential?
Don’t forget to pin this post to Pinterest so you can review it before your next thrift store trip!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.