Hi, everyone! Eddie Ross here, the East Coast Editor of Better Homes & Gardens. Even if everything else in a room comes together beautifully, it’s that final layer of accessories that’s often the most daunting. Pulling together parties that feel fresh and inviting isn’t always easy either. In my new book Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds, I share secrets to discovering things that will infuse every bit of you into your home without spending a fortune.
Flea markets are goldmines for scoring one-of-a-kind finds, but thrift shops give me the fix I need when there isn’t one in town. You never know what you’ll see, so I go as often as I can. Plus, it always feels good to help a good cause. I once found an entire shopping cart of treasures after a single spin through a Goodwill in Connecticut. Here are five tips to getting your thrift on.
1. MOVE ON UP
Visit stores in nicer neighborhoods and surrounding towns. Disposable income often generates disposable high-end merchandise. A trio of Lladró swans I plucked from an upscale thrift shop swim across a sea of wrapping paper, their backs billowing with lilacs.
2. LOOK FOR STRAYS
If you don’t see a complete set of glasses or dishware, make sure you check the shelves above and below—strays have a way of wandering off. One of these zebras had a mind of its own before I spotted it three shelves down.
3. FIND THE GOOD
Look past unsightly finishes, fabric and hardware on vintage furniture. That’s the stuff you can fix. If a piece is sturdy with good lines, buy it. I loved the upholstered legs and slim silhouette of these barrel back chairs from a thrift store. Even the look of the original fabric was cool—it just needed an update. Bonus: Look for single bolts of fabric donated after decorating projects. Sometimes it’s enough to cover an entire chair!
4. SHOP SEASONALLY
People clean out their houses and make donations as the seasons change. Another time to shop is after the first of the year, when people make room for holiday purchases. The faux malachite obelisk on my mantle is one of a pair I found at a thrift shop in High Point, North Carolina during spring market.
5. GIVE BACK
Finally, donate your own unwanted things from time to time—it keeps the cycle going for everyone. Every time I drop off a box to my favorite stores, I can’t help but go back for more!
Thrifting is a way of life that fuels the modern mix. Soon you’ll need your fix, too.
Bonus: We’re giving away five copies of my new book, Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds.
Enter for a chance to win by telling us your favorite flea market find that you’ve discovered in the comments!
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED
Accessorizing Tips, Budget Decor, Decorating, Decorating Basics, Decorating Expert Advice, Flea Market, Flea Market Finds, Style Spotters | Tags:
Decor, decorating, Flea Market, Flea Market Style, Secondhand Finds, Style, Thrifting, Tips, Vintage
Whether you live coastally or not, wicker has made a huge come back. Once thought of as a seasonal material, is now being used both indoors and out, year round. Wicker has a unique & casual texture that blends seamlessly with any material. It can be found just about everywhere these days but if you want a real bargain, hit some yard sales or flea markets this summer. This woven material is so versatile, you can use your gently worn wicker finds as is or paint them for a fresh look.
Through the years I have collected my fair share of wicker. My personal instinct is to go neutral, either white, natural or dark brown. Sticking with neutrals, allows me flexibility to change things around and move pieces from room to room.
If neutral isn’t your thing, then go bold with your wicker. You can paint a single piece for a pop of color and repeat the tone with other accessories in the room or paint a set, even a grouping of chairs for continuity. Tip-if you can’t find that perfect color in a spray paint, try using a paint sprayer, that way you can customize your color.
If a softer palette is more your speed, how about a beachy blue? It’s slightly more bold than a neutral and still gives you plenty of design flexibility, plus what a style statement!
There may have been a time when you passed up that ornate wicker headboard at a yard or tag sale but not after seeing this bit of inspiration below. A perfect example of how a bold choice, both with color and design can create that wow factor.
In your travels this summer, you will most definitely find an array of baskets of varying sizes and colors. Keep in mind they can also be painted and better yet, even made into a light fixture .
For more insight & tips into painting your wicker finds, click HERE.
Have a beautiful week,
Hello, friends! I’m Amy from Gather & Build—a home design and lifestyle blog.
I started blogging during the renovation of my home, a 1940s cottage loaded with charm and every bad thing: mold, asbestos, lead-based paint, and the ickiest paneling to ever grace a wall. When Refresh magazine approached me about featuring my home in the premier issue, I did what any normal person would do: I read the email four times just to be sure. And said aloud to nobody in particular, no way. No way. No. Way. What?!?
Months after the photo shoot, my story (and home) made it to new stands. It felt like an eternity. Let me be real with you. When your house is going to be in a magazine time moves like molasses—the way time moves for a six year old waiting on Christmas.
It was worth the wait. Surprise, Amy, your house is on the cover!
When it comes to decorating, my style is influenced by vintage and repurposed trends. I like a little bit of history in my decor—something with a life of its own. A trend emerged in my flea market finds: I like tools—as in hammers and such. I like the idea of taking something that has been exceptionally useful and giving it an opportunity to be beautiful.
Here are five vintage tools that have found a prettier purpose in my home:
1. Old Paint Brushes
The more the merrier—I’m on the hunt for a few stands to add to the collection.
2. The Carpenter’s Ruler
This ruler holds an old photo of my sweet grandmother and my four-year-old self. Bless our hearts. A few other ideas: It could hold a hand-written note, a family recipe, or a postcard.
3. Tool Boxes
I found these tool boxes when I was renovating. I particularly love the zinc lid on the top box. I stacked them to use as a side table in my living room. They’ve also worked nicely as a sofa table. They make great storage. Christmas decor hides in mine. My pup, Patsy Cline, approves.
4. Vintage Levels
I love these because most of them have a gentleman’s name scribbled on the side. Of course, I want that side to show. I wanted to use mine as a point of interest but I’ve seen them used as ledges. I like that, too.
5. Metal Trays
This particular tray was an interior tray in a large metal tool box. It’s great for housing rotating arrangements of flowers, candles, and art supplies.
This is one of my favorite spots in my house—the hallway with its red door and yellow light fixtures which are repurposed acetylene tank tops.
The yellow lights didn’t make it into the shot in the magazine but the clipboards in my stairwell did. I cannot explain how the photographer captured this but he did! It was quite an angle!
Grab a copy of Refresh to see the whole house—as in, all but one bedroom!
You’re invited to make yourself at home at my blog for another dose of inspiration. I’m working on a new house project and I’d love to share ideas with you and hear your ideas—my readers weighed in on so many design decisions during this house project.
Finally, I have so much appreciation and respect for the Refresh team—thank you for letting me put pen to paper and tell the story of this house myself. I’m grateful for the opportunity, flattered by your trust. You all are rockstars and you’ve succeeded in creating a beautiful and helpful publication—a thousand thank yous.