Are you creative? Love decorating? Into saving a buck? AND… Love the thrill of the hunt, too??? Then, thrift shop decorating is for you!

Tip #1- Abandon any preconceptions you might have about thrift stores

Today’s thrift stores aren’t unclean low-end shops

Thrift stores vary by chain and by store. But while many people may think of them as being scary places of questionable quality and safety, many stores are bright, clean and extremely professional.

Sure, there ARE quirky moments a thrifts, where you might meet some unusual folks. But hey, that’s all a part of the character and experience– you’d have the same sorts of interesting adventures at a professional football game in the stands, except, er, without the beer.

Here are some popular misconceptions I’ve heard:

–“Thrift stores are only for people of low income”: Not true! Thrift stores are for anyone who is willing to look for a bargain.

–“Pre-used things are not sanitary– I only buy new.”: Most thrift store items are easily cleaned. And think of it this way– when you go to a restaurant or a hotel, you are eating off dishes and cloth napkins, and sleeping on sheets, with likely more people pre-using them than you ever would at a thrift store.

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Tip #2- Buy What You Love

Brand or manufacturer takes a backseat to choice, style and quality

Thrift store newbies often feel a little overwhelmed when they first start thrifting. There’s SO much stuff, how do they know what’s “good”?

Thing is, unless you’re planning to resell, you’ll serve yourself better if you focus less on what is trendy or is supposed to be a big name, and more on what catches your eye and what you really enjoy seeing. It’s your home after all. The thrift storesare a great way to allow it to reflect YOU.

So scour those thrifts and see– what speaks to you?

— What commonalities do the things you choose have?

— What colors do you focus on?

— Do a little research online, at places like Ebay and RubyLane, where you can get more information on an item.

— What time period does it seem to from?

Tip #3- Look for Furniture With Good Bone Structure

A lick of paint and new fabric can transform thrifted furniture. Looking around the furniture section of your local thrift, it’s not a bad idea to keep an open mind. Because what might now be an end table or chair in an ugly finish and yesterday’s upholstery can become a real stunner with a little bit of thought.

How? Look not so much at the surface elements, but look at the shape of the furniture.

— What if it weren’t that pea green or dated oak finish?

— What if the seatcover weren’t naugahyde?

— How do the legs turn?

— What style of furniture is it– traditional, modern, 70s retro?

— Now ask yourself what styles do you like?

A fresh coat of paint– whether it’s white, black, or any hue of the rainbow– can make an enormous improvement in a piece of furniture. Top it off with a couple of coats of a clear non-yellowing polyurethane, and it’ll hold up to wear.

And for things like dining chairs, reupholstry is really easier than you’d think. A $10 investment in a staple gun makes adding new fabric a snap.

It’s all in the bone structure! Start to look for tables and chairs with good lines, and you may never see thrift store furniture the same way again.

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