Thrift Store Decorating Ideas for Cozy Home Decor

Discover thrift store decorating ideas to create a cozy home full of style, warmth, and character. Find out why you’ll want to embrace the art of thrifting with these curated tips and tricks.

Vintage soup tureen filled with fresh flowers are a great idea for a centerpiece.
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Creating a cozy and inviting home that feels like a warm hug is essential in our home. 

And while it might be tempting to splurge on brand new furniture and decor to achieve that feeling, there’s actually an eco and budget friendly alternative.

Thrifting! 

Shopping your local thrift stores or flea markets for cozy home decor is not just about finding affordable items. It’s more about curating a space that tells a story only your home can tell and reflects your personality. 

There is something exhilarating about the hunt for something you’ve been searching for, discovering a hidden gem you didn’t even know you needed, and watching your home transform one thrifted find at a time.

So, let’s explore the secrets to thrifted home decor to create a home that feels cozy and reflects your style & personality!

Thrift store finds for cozy home decor that can be found at the flea market.

Where to Begin Your Search for Vintage Finds

If you’re new to the world of thrifting, you may be wondering where to even start looking for the perfect antique pieces.

I know that’s how I felt a few years ago when I began my own thrifting adventures.

The first key to successful treasure hunting is knowing where to start your search.

Local Thrift Stores

The most obvious starting point for any thrifter is your local thrift shops. 

These antique stores are often filled with a diverse array of furniture, textiles, and knick-knacks just waiting to find a new home. 

Whether it’s a chain thrift store or a small, family run shop; you’re likely to uncover unique pieces with plenty of character.

The Flea Market

These bustling events are treasure troves of great finds. 

From vintage furniture to retro dishware, you never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon. 

Make a day of it, enjoy the atmosphere, and hunt for pieces that resonate with your style.

Online Thrifting Platforms

Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, or dedicated thrift websites are a great way to search for second hand pieces in the comfort of your home. 

These platforms offer a convenient way to search for specific items and connect with sellers in your local area. 

Estate Sales & Yard Sales

Keep an eye on local estate sales and yard sales for unique finds at unbeatable prices.

Thrifted finds from yard sales in a neutral farmhouse living room.

Estate sales often feature a range of items, from furniture to decor, while garage sales provide a chance for discovering hidden treasures.

Both are excellent opportunities to haggle and snag amazing deals.

Robyn of Robyn’s French Nest shares easy ways to decorate with yard sale finds for budget-friendly cozy decor. 

Consignment Shops

Consignment shops are another fantastic option for quality thrifted home decor. 

These stores often curate their collections, ensuring that items are in good condition and stylish. 

While prices might be slightly higher than traditional thrift stores, the quality and variety can be well worth the investment.

Tips & Tricks or Successful Thrifting

Now that you know where to start your thrift store shopping, there are a few tips & tricks I’ve learned throughout the years to guarantee a successful shopping trip.

Here’s a few things to know:

  • Define Your Style: Take some time to define your personal style. Are you drawn to vintage charm, bohemian vibes, or a more traditional look? Knowing your preferences will help you navigate through the vast array of items.
  • Know What You’re Looking For: Create a list of specific items you’re searching for to help keep you focused, but be open to unexpected treasures.
  • Check for Quality: Thrifted items may have some wear and tear, but prioritize quality. Examine furniture for sturdiness, check textiles for stains or damage, and ensure that items are in good condition.
  • Be Open to DIY: Look beyond an item’s current state and consider its potential! A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or reupholstering can work wonders. DIY projects not only add a personal touch but also turn thrifted finds into unique statement pieces. 
  • Enjoy the Hunt: Thrifting is an adventure, and the joy often lies in the hunt for that special something. Take your time, explore every aisle, and relish the satisfaction of finding unique pieces that will turn your house into a cozy, personalized home.

10 Thrift Store Finds to Search for to Create a Cozy Space

With the knowledge and tips for successful thrifting, now it’s the fun part…shopping!

Let’s talk about a few specific items that are fairly common to find in thrift stores and how they can turn your home into a cozy space.

Vintage finds on open kitchen shelf with white pitcher and wicker basket.

Wicker Baskets

Baskets are not just for storage. They’re versatile decor pieces that can literally be used in any room and exude coziness. 

Look for woven baskets in different shapes and sizes. 

Use them to store blankets, organize magazines, or even as decorative wall hangings. 

Vintage Demijohns

Demijohns, with their rustic charm, make for excellent year round decor accents. 

Vintage demijohns on dining room table with candle holders and vintage linens.

These large vintage bottles were traditionally used for wine or olive oil. 

Repurpose them as vase alternatives for dried flowers or branches. Place them on shelves, tables, or even on the floor for a touch of old world charm.

Kelly of The Tattered Pew shares some great ideas on how to decorate with wicker demijohns and the best places to shop for them. 

Candles & Candle Holders

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere with thrifted candles and candle holders. 

Look for unique candlesticks, votive holders, and pillar candles. 

Vintage candle holders add antique charm to home decorations.

Mix and match styles to add visual interest. Group them on a tray or arrange them on a mantel for a warm and inviting ambiance.

Cindy of Country Road 407 has some fun & unique ways to use candles and candle holders in her home decor. 

Old Books

Vintage books are not just for reading, they’re fantastic decor elements that add depth and character to your space!

Natural elements and vintage books in a cozy space for fall.

Hunt for vintage hardcovers or books with interesting covers and spines. 

Stack them on coffee tables, use them as bookends, or create a makeshift side table by stacking a few sturdy volumes. 

Musical Instruments

Thrift stores often have a variety of musical instruments waiting for a new home.

Vintage musical instruments add charm and character to home decor.

Look for violens, trumpets, or even smaller instruments like harmonicas to add a unique touch to your home.

Ann of Dabbling & Decorating has some really neat ideas on how to incorporate vintage musical instruments seamlessly into your decor.

Vintage Dishes & Ironstone

Thrift stores are treasure troves for unique dishware which is one of my favorite things to search for.

I love to mix and match vintage plates, bowls, and cups to create a charming and eclectic table setting.

Vintage soup tureen filled with fresh flowers are a great idea for a centerpiece.

Always keep an eye out for ironstone which is a type of collectible stoneware. It is known for its durability, strength, and white or off-white color.

Ironstone was first produced in Staffordshire, England, in the early 19th century. It gained popularity as an affordable, practical alternative to porcelain and is perfect for everyday use or on display.

Vintage Thermoses

Retro thermoses are more than just functional, they can be fun additions to your decor.

Look for thermoses with charming patterns or classic designs. Their nostalgic charm adds a touch of vintage coziness.

Vintage thermoses in Christmas decor on a fireplace mantle.

Kristen of White Arrows Home has an extensive thermos collection and shows how to style them in your home for each season.

Linens

Elevate the coziness of your home with vintage linens like embroidered tablecloths, lace doilies, or cozy throw blankets.

These add a touch of nostalgia and comfort to your home, and they’re versatile enough to use in various rooms.

Download Your Free Homemade Christmas Gifts eBook

Apothecary Jars

Apothecary jars are not just containers; they’re elegant decor pieces that will take you back ages ago.

Look for jars with interesting shapes and sizes. Fill them with dried flowers or even scented potpourri to create eye catching displays on shelves, mantels, or tabletops.

Apothecary jars in the kitchen filled with pine cones and dried orange slices.

Wendy of WM Design House has 15 great ideas of how to style apothecary jars in the kitchen.

Wooden Bowls & Trays

Rustic wooden bowls and trays are not only practical but will also add to the cozy aesthetic.

Use them as stylish catchalls for keys and knick-knacks, or display them on tables filled with decorative items.

The natural textures of wood will contribute to a warm and earthy feel in your home.

Upcycling Thrifted Decor

Sometimes you’ll find a unique piece that needs a little updating or maybe the item doesn’t fully align with your personal decorating style.

Don’t worry!

With an open mind and a bit of creativity these items can be transformed into personalized pieces that seamlessly blend into your home decor. 

Christmas decorations in the kitchen with fridge magnets with vintage plates.

The key though lies in seeing the potential in each treasure and allowing your creativity to guide the transformation process. 

By infusing a touch of personal style through DIY projects, you can turn thrifted treasures into unique items that reflect your taste and story.

The Look of Vintage for Less: Antique Inspired Packing Tape Transfers

If you’re looking for an easy way to get the look of antique advertising pots or crocks without spending a fortune, here’s an idea for you!

Cindy of DIY Beautify shares a simple way to transform ceramics or glassware to look vintage with easy and inexpensive packing tape transfers.

Antique inspired advertising pots are a great way to epicycle white ceramic vessels.

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Vintage Plate Fridge Magnets

If you’re like me and have a bunch of small vintage plates and butter pats in the cabinet, then you might love this unique way to use them.

DIY thrift store decor with vintage plates for holiday decorations for the home.

I created refrigerator magnets using a few of my vintage plates and adhesive magnets.

It’s such an easy DIY and will elevate the look of your fridge in minutes.

Thrifted Lamp Makeover

Rachel of The Ponds Farmhouse has an amazing makeover of a lamp she found at Goodwill for only $7.00 that she turned into a Pottery Barn dupe for a fraction of the cost with just a little spray paint and other supplies.

Thrifted decor with a DIY dresser and other natural elements to create a cozy home.

You can also find another 29 mind-blowing thrift store decor transformations in this blog post from Rachel. 

Embracing Vintage Style in Your Home Decor

Alright, now that you’ve shopped, collected, and infused your thrifted treasures with your creative touch; it’s time to incorporate vintage style into your home.

Here are some tips to help you curate a cohesive and inviting vintage inspired space and then we’ll look at some examples:

Tips
  • Create a Focal Point: Designate a focal point that showcases your favorite vintage finds. A focal point grounds your decor and sets the tone for the entire space whether it’s a carefully curated gallery wall with thrifted frames, a vintage mirror, or a unique piece of furniture.
  • Layer Textures: Enhance the cozy vintage feel by layering various textures and materials. Incorporate soft fabrics like lace or chenille alongside rougher textures such as weathered wood or distressed metals. This layering adds richness and visual appeal to your decor.
  • Vintage Inspired Color Scheme: Embrace a color palette inspired by vintage aesthetics. Soft pastels, muted tones, and warm earthy hues evoke a timeless charm.
  • Repurpose Vintage Finds: Give new life to your thrifted treasures by repurposing them in unexpected ways. Turn vintage crates into wall shelves, repurpose old doors as statement headboards, or transform a vintage ladder into a charming bookshelf.
  • Collect & Curate: Curate your vintage collections thoughtfully. Showcasing your finds with intentionality adds a curated and personal touch to your space.

By blending the old with the new and infusing your unique style into each element, you’ll create a home that feels timeless, inviting, and authentically yours.

Vintage style is not just a design choice, it’s a journey through time that tells your story in every carefully chosen piece.

Thrift Store Decor Ideas for the Holidays

Joanna of Joanna Anatasia Lifestyle & Design shares simple tips on how decorate your home with vintage and handmade pieces for the holidays.

Holiday home decor in the kitchen with beautiful antique finds.

How to add a Vintage Look in the Kitchen

Learn how to style open kitchen shelving using new and old decor to create coziness in the heart of the home.

Kitchen shelf decor with vintage inspired decorations for cozy home decor.

Beautiful Vintage Charm in the Dining Room

Add character and vintage charm to your dining room with easy to follow tips from Renae of Peacock Ridge Farm.

Vintage charm in the dining room with items found from local thrift shops.

Final Thoughts on Thrift Store Decorating

Thrifting opens a world of possibilities to create a cozy and personalized vintage inspired home.

Here are the key takeaways when it comes to the art of thrifting and decorating your home:

  • Thrifting Locations: Your local thrift shop, flea markets, online platforms, and estate sales are hold treasures waiting to be explored.
  • Shopping Tips: Define your style, have a wishlist, inspect for quality, and be open to DIY projects to make the most of your thrifting experience.
  • Thrifted Finds for a Cozy Home: Explore a diverse range of items, including baskets, demijohns, candles, books, dishes, ironstone, musical instruments, vintage thermoses, and apothecary jars.
  • DIY: Transform vintage finds with easy to complete DIY’s.
  • Incorporating Vintage Style: Infuse your space with timeless charm by curating focal points, layering textures, embracing vintage inspired color schemes, repurposing thrifted finds, and thoughtfully collecting and curating your treasures.

With these insights, your home will not only reflect your unique style but also narrate the tales of timeless charm found within each thrifted and transformed piece.

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I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

xoxo, heidi

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Vintage soup tureen filled with fresh flowers are a great idea for a centerpiece.
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4 Comments

  1. Heidi, what a beautiful informative post, thanks so much for joining us for “Thrifting with the Gals.” It was such a fun year and looking forward to 2024. Happy Holidays!

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