Visiting a thrift store can be a great experience if you need to furnish a room on a budget, if you know what to look for. Walking into a thrift store can be overwhelming – a shopper immediately experiences sensory overload: a crowded room packed to the brim with clothes, home goods and furniture, usually accompanied by a not exactly pleasant (yet not really unpleasant) odor, and probably some bad music as well. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like you could possibly want anything in this store…. Yet keep these tips in mind and look around for a great find!
Remember, nothing looks good in a thrift store. Everything is crammed close together, entirely out of any sort of context. So take your time and really look at the objects you’re seeing. Look specifically at the lamp, not at the whole shelf. Would it look nice if it were alone, on your coffee table? If you cleared all the nick-knacks off that desk would it be a good workspace?
Be sure to choose good quality items. Sure, thrift store prices are cheap, but spending five dollars on a rickety old chair isn’t going to do anyone any good, even if it does only cost five dollars. If you’re buying a chair, sit on it. If you’re buying a lamp, see if a clerk will let you plug it in. Is the furniture solid? Does it creak when you lean against it? Does it wobble?
Think, could you improve the item? If you’re handy with a paintbrush or crafty with a needle and thread you could give a whole new look to an old piece of furniture. Don’t rule out that ugly green-orange end table, instead think about what it would look like if it were painted a different color. Would you be willing to try to reupholster a chair that was ripped or stained? Just some simple actions to clean-up a piece could really make a difference in how it looks.
Finally, be open and patient. Thrift stores have limited stock, and their products change daily. If you don’t find what you’re looking for a first, it doesn’t mean that the same store won’t have something better the next week.
Remember thrift stores the next time you buy furniture! If you have the right eye and the patience, you can redecorate a room on any budget.