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Style Tips: Thrift Store Character

by | Feb 8, 2013 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Style Tips

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Style Tips: Thrift Store Character

If there is one thing you can do to make a house a home, other than be surrounded by family and precious memories, it’s to add unexpected character to show some personal style.  Having all the basic furniture and expected accessories, like chairs and lamps, will only take you so far.

While I definitely think you can go overboard with accessorizing and end up with unnecessary visual clutter, a bit of unexpected personality adds the layers I feel are essential to an authentic and beautiful home. And finding fun affordable items from thrift stores is a great way to decorate on a budget and add your own personal style to your home.

Do you want a home that is unique? Think beyond what is trendy. Go out on a limb a little or think outside the box…or, heh, heh, heh…inside the crate!

I’m going to have fun with this thrift store find, I can picture all sorts of fun uses for it. Mason jars and tulips in the spring? Red geraniums on the porch in the summer? Right now, I’m loving it filled with books by the fireplace.

What are your latest quirky thrift store finds?


  1. Rene'

    I have to hold myself back from over accessorizing. But I don’t buy things for the sake of having things to hang on the wall. They usually hold a memory of a trip, or were previously owned by someone I love.

    • Melissa

      Yes, that’s a great way to filter what you decide to use! I love to use accessories that have meaning.

      Although sometimes I just love the character of something and if it is useful, beautiful, or just reminds me of things I love, I will use it!

      • Rene'

        Don’t get me wrong…..I am addicted to Homegoods:)

        • Melissa

          Haha, me too. They are a great resource for fun finds, I agree totally. :-)

  2. Vee

    Mine was the toast rack I found last weekend. It came in very handy for blog fodder, though I’ll never use it for toast again. once was more than enough. Your basket is a sweet find and especially so with its green paint.

    • Melissa

      I have one of those toast racks too….cute but do I really need one for toast? HA! :-)

  3. Barbara (WA)

    You caught my attention in the first sentence because recently I viewed a home that I absolutely loved. Then I realized I loved the finishes but that there wasn’t a bit of personality in the home, like no one lived there!

  4. Carrie

    I really like this crate! So many good uses for it. :) I haven’t been thrifting or shopping lately but I did get a great 5×7 rug FREE from someone in my mom’s group. :)

  5. Melissa

    Very cute! I found something similar at the thrift store recently as well. I painted it white, filled it with rolled up hand towels, and it now sits our bathroom. I paid $2 for it and absolutely tickled with out turned out. I’m sure I will find a new purpose for it soon. :)

    • Melissa

      I love that idea! Towels! Yes!!

  6. Delores

    I went overboard accessorizing with thrift store finds. Last weekend I found a wicker covered ice bucket, silver plate martini shaker, a tartan covered flask, leather covered flask, and a couple of etched bottles. Oh, and the tray to corral it all together. On my blog today…..Love your little green rack. So many uses!

  7. Linda Stoll

    green depression glass sherbert dishes – $3 each!


  8. Alison

    Do u have twelve hours for me to tell u about all my favorite finds???? Lol
    Love that crate!

  9. J

    i have found some neat things lately: a wooden pig that i used to make a butchery diagram, and ceramic faux crab shells. Just the right amount of quirkiness!

  10. Ang

    A $10 coffee table that I started painting in this blizzard… it will be sage-y green under antique white with the usual distressing
    And I scooped up a plaid wool throw that had some ugly monogramming on it for like $3, took me about 15 minutes to remove the monogram and it is so nice the Beagle keeps searching it out to snuggle on/under! That dog has great taste!

  11. Krystin

    I love thrift store shopping for home decor stuff, or anything really! My favorite find lately was two adorable vintage tea pots. Amazing colors and shapes!

  12. Maria

    I love your newest addition. And the color is lovely, too! :-) Also, your new site design is beautiful, Melissa! You did a wonderful job.

  13. Marilyn

    Nice basket–and thanks for the book shot! :-) I love thrift store shopping. I even found some of my kid’s Christmas gifts at the thrift store.

  14. Cindy

    Great find! I love unique pieces, those that speak to me.
    Have a GREAT weekend!

  15. Jo Connor

    I am totally addicted to storage of any sort but particularly wooden boxes. Unfortunately here in the UK they tend to be expensive even in charity shops. I try to hold myself back and fail so my friends are tasked with disciplining me and saying “Do you REALLY need that?”.

  16. Melissa Boyce

    My favorite thrift find is a queen sized Pottery Barn red quilt (and two shams) I got for $20. It’s got awesome fat red and light tan ticking fabric on the flip side which is the side I use, and it’s incredibly heavy. It’s faded and worn, just the way I like it! The price tag fell off when I was bringing it to the counter so they wouldn’t sell it to me. I was so mad! I had to come back the next day while the “linens” person repriced it and she actually marked it down from $25 to $20. Whoo hoo!

  17. Carol

    I like using things in ways they weren’t intended – like books in your little crate. But, I edit and rotate things throughout our little cottage to keep it simple. We have little rooms so I have to go small.

    Love your little green basket.

  18. Carlton Hobbs

    Lovely post. I get great enjoyment from those finds in small antique shops, and at barn or garage sales. Used sparingly, they create a lovely atmosphere and I am happy to have reused something that might have otherwise ended up on a landfill.

  19. Elisa

    This is a great idea for containing books. I think flowers will be quite the stunner in it too! I can’t wait to get my thrifting on!!

  20. Lexie

    I have had wonderful finds at thrift stores, vintage pyrex sets in perfect condition, staffordshire sets of china untouched by time, handwoven apacha quilts, English china teapots , Oil paintings from Carmel California artists of California seascapes that are stunning, antique books, complete sets of pure crystal glasses. Staffordshire Old Salem English Village china sets. They complment my antiques and family herilooms beauitfully.

  21. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    A $15 leather ottoman made in Malaysia; yesterday, I posted about cleaning and restoring the leather. Your crate is nice and will serve in many ways; nice find!

  22. emma

    Yours is a lovely blog, and this is a great post –
    I agree with Carol – I love using beautiful things in ways that they’ were not designed for – I’ve got a wooden veg box by the back door that I keep packs of chicken food and gardening things that I need to have to hand in – having it in the kitchen & using it in this way means that I get to actually look at the box, and it’s simple and beautiful :-)
    Look forward to reading more – Emma.

  23. MarieRoxanne

    I am now trying to accessorize the new condo I bought and second hand stores are the perfect places to do that.
    I don’t buy just anything… I have to LOVE it, and I go in without money and cards to “window shop”first, then if I truly LOVE something, I will go and get the money and come back and get the item. If it’s gone within that 30 minutes, then it wasn’t meant to be mine!
    But if I really, truly love something, I will ask the owner/cashier to hold it for me until I get the money.

  24. Faith

    My favorite find was old windows on the side of the road – FREE! One found its way to my mantle and frames a backing of old coffee-stained sheet music (bought stacks at a yard sale for .50). Right now the window has a red, white, and black bunting and heart vinyl clings for Valentines. It will change next month to green. I love to decorate it for the seasons. Love your little crate. Love the color. So versatile. Don’t forget to show us the other ways you use it.

  25. Rebecca

    Thrift store finds are my thing for sure. I love selling as much as buying. It is fun when another person is excited to buy something that you had deemed worthless. It makes me happy to know it will go on to a second happy phase of its life. My favorite thrift store finds always have to do with mid-century modern glass. I keep my eyes open all the time, and have learned a few things about the makers, colors and the prices. It is exciting when I can get a good value on a collectible.

  26. teresa

    Love thrifting….latest find- As $18 dollar 1940’s school house chair. Looks like it came from Restortation Hardware…sweet!

  27. Lisa

    Love your find. Gonna keep my eyes open at more thrift stores for myself and my clients. I did find a great ships lantern once that we have at our cottage on the ocean!

  28. SHannon

    I love thrift stores, but I can’t say I ‘ve had the best of luck with anything other than clothing (which is where I do most of my shopping). I am lucky to have a great mod style store in town that sells great pieces from the past. It is my ‘mecca’. I adore it. I love odd and quirky pieces. I love using pieces for things other than their intended use. That’s the fun in design.

  29. Danette Dillon

    Great find! My most recent find was a pair of shoes, but I’m looking for a metal storage unit for the television. Maybe I’ll find it this weekend. Fingers crossed.

  30. Morena

    I love to shop at thrift stores. My favorite finds right now, though, come from my dad’s estate. We’ve been slowly cleaning out his things since he passed away over 2 years ago, and items he held on to like an old typewriter and an old scale are beautiful to display and also remind me of him.


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