Want to personalize your home with one-of-a-kind secondhand gems? Our collection of must-shop vintage decor features items that are readily available at thrift stores, including books, frames, lamps, and more.

Thrift stores provide the perfect opportunity to find beautiful home decor without the expensive price tag. You can always rely on them to have an abundance of certain items, including timeless mirrors, picture frames, light fixtures, and more. Sometimes, you'll find the perfect piece that can go straight into your home; other times, you might need a little creativity to transform a secondhand accessory into the decor of your dreams. But with a little upkeep, any thrift store find can be customized to fit your home’s aesthetic.

These nine thrift store essentials are almost guaranteed to be found on your next vintage adventure. Go shopping with an open mind and keep your eyes peeled. Make sure you scan shelves from top to bottom; sometimes the best finds are just out of reach. Whether your new accessory becomes a gallery wall or finds a spot on your fireplace mantel, there is a perfect place in your home to showcase your newest vintage finds. 

staircase gold frames horse figure
Credit: George Ross

1. Frames

With a little inspiration, old picture frames can dress up any room. When shopping, look for designs with character. Don't worry too much about scrapes, nicks, and chips. If you don't prefer the wabi-sabi style, these minor imperfections can easily be fixed with a bit of TLC and a coat of fresh paint. Collect frames in a similar palette to create a cohesive gallery wall, or leave out the artwork and layer frames in various shapes and sizes for eye-catching mantel decor.

Plants with flower vase on chest of drawers
Credit: Adam Albright

 2. Vases

Vases are a staple at any thrift store. Coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors, they are a simple and easy addition to any display. Find one that matches your color scheme and add flowers or pampas grass for a traditional look. Vintage vases are a great way to accessorize open shelving, too.

eclectic breakfast banquette with rattan chairs
Credit: Helen Norman

3. Baskets

Baskets come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and weave patterns, and they can be found secondhand for only a few dollars (or less!). When choosing baskets for your home, consider your needs. If you need wall art in your kitchen, choose bright baskets to hang over a banquette. Or, if you need more storage in the bedroom, look for large, wide baskets to stash extra linens and pillows.

dining wood table chair china dishes
Credit: James Nathan Schroder

4. Dishware

Many thrift shops have an entire section designated toward dishes. Before you buy secondhand dishware, cutlery, or glasses, decide on a theme or destination for your display. Do you want all cream-colored plates for a dining room wall display? Or vibrant red serving pieces for holiday decorating? Bypass any chipped pieces and look for patterns or colors that suit your style.

vintage painted light pink dresser dormer bedroom snake plant
Credit: John Bessler

5. Lamps

Whether it's the full fixture, just the shade, or only the base, there are so many ways to refresh a secondhand lamp. Use an oil-based paint marker to embellish a plain ceramic or glass lamp base. Flower decals, rope, embroidery floss, felt, and other crafting supplies are other ideal tools for transforming a boring lampshade.

Editor's Tip: When purchasing a lamp base, most stores will let you plug it in before you buy to make sure that it works. Just ask at the register.

books and artwork on desk
Credit: David A Land

6. Books

Nearly every thrift store doubles as a used book shop. Cookbooks, self-help books, and bestsellers of yesteryear fill shelf upon shelf. With some creativity, old books have the power to become beloved home decor. Find decorative pages that you love and add them to frames for DIY artwork. Or collect old volumes with interesting spines in your favorite color palette to complete your home office or living room.

several shapes of mirrors on wall
Credit: Dana Gallagher

7. Mirrors

Instead of buying a new mirror, head to your local thrift store and find one with character. Try arranging multiple vintage mirrors on one accent wall, use one in your closet for getting ready each day, or hang one above your bathroom vanity. If you can't find a mirror you love, find one with a frame you like and paint it a different color.

warm rustic living room with poufs and fireplace
Credit: Dane Tashima

8. Wall Art

Thrift stores are art galleries in disguise, without the expensive price tag. Beautiful vintage paintings can often be found at thrift stores and are perfect for creating the eclectic gallery wall of your dreams. Decide on a color palette and start thrifting artwork for your living room, bedroom, or hallway.

Flower pot and tray on dresser against wall with mirror
Credit: Jason Donnelly

9. Serving Trays

Serving trays are a decorating must-have that can be used in various ways. Whether you place a tray on a coffee table or dresser to gather various items or place them in drawers for better organization, vintage trays are extremely versatile. Plus, they can double as wall decor. Next time you go thrifting, be sure to grab at least one to upgrade your home decor.


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