Oh yes, they are your friend. I know there are many non-believers out there but I just have to convince you to change your mind. I have scored all kinds of rad things from the thrift store: ornate framed mirrors, a glass table lamp, all kinds of decorative objects and, most recently, a lovely tufted bench to sit at the foot of my bed.
Some of these things took a little elbow grease to get their current looks: the mirror was spray painted black and I am currently attempting to reupholster the bench. But the pay off is huge. There is no way I could find most of these things brand-new for the price I paid, even when I factor in a little leg work. Plus, you will have a great bragging rights (“you got that for how much??”). Even if you aren’t into re-purposing older objects, I have found incredible bargains on basically new things, like some candle holders from Pier One (brand new with tags) and some sturdy highball glasses.
~ 2 – Hand me downs ~
Have a look around at your parents or friends places. Maybe they are down-sizing or moving or are just about to get rid of a bunch of stuff. Now is where you and your eagle eye for design come in. My parents own an awesome seventies-style entertainment unit that I have had my eye on for years. As of yet, it still remains in their house but I would love to have it sit in my studio. As well as being chic, it is always fantastic to have a piece that you feel nostalgic about. (Just a few though! No time warps allowed.) I also have a highboy dresser that I inherited. It held my baby clothes when I was little, then my mothers sewing supplies while I was growing up. Then I got inherited it, painted it dark glossy brown and it is now perfect for storing lingerie, swimwear and accessories.
~ 3 – Dumpster Dive ~
Ok, you don’t actually have to get into a dumpster. (Personally, that is where my line is drawn). But I am constantly keeping an eye on back alley treasures, much to my husband’s chagrin. I have seen everything from dressers to kitchenware to an actual Starbucks patio chair – and that is in my back alley alone! There are all kinds of things left outside by kindly neighbours just waiting for a new home or a little elbow grease. On that note, I would be leary of picking up any sofas or other soft furnishings without a thorough inspection for bed bugs. Or you can check with this website for back-alley locations to avoid. Eeep!
~ 4 – Discount Stores ~
These are almost as good to me as the thrift store. I have found Ralph Lauren sheets, oversized buddha heads, candles, books, you name it. As is the case with thrift stores, these are difficult to places to walk in to with a to-buy list. You have to visit often, purchase sparingly and keep an open mind. And if you do find something you are on the fence about, then just buy it! If you wait it will inevitably be snapped out and these types of stores usually have a great return policy. (I have learned this lesson the hard way, my bargain beauties.)
~ 5 – Sale Racks ~
Even the best stores have sales, usually around January and July. Just like in fashion, the seasons change and the old stuff gets marked down. Even at higher end stores where they don’t have a huge stock turnover, the end of the season is the best time for purchasing things like floor models. If there is something out of your price range that you are in love with, keep checking back. Sooner or later, you will get lucky.
Of course, there are a myriad of ways you can get the look for less: flea markets, garage sales, Craigslist etc. These are just a few of my favorites. What are yours? What are your favorite discount scores? Tell me in the comments!