It’s not that I don’t like to buy anything new, it’s just that hunting down secondhand furniture, decor, and accessories for a steal is SO much more fun to me. I see fashionistas sharing the latest clothing trends and showing how you can create a similar look with thrifted finds all the time and I enjoy doing the same thing with the home.
Seeing what’s popular in designer homes and hunting down a similar thrifted item that I can put my own spin on is a thrill like no other. I’ve done it with furniture, with frames, with lamps, vases, and trays. Nothing beats spending $50 on something that looks like $500. And with that being said, these are my 7 favorites pieces that you’d never know were from Facebook Marketplace or Goodwill.
1. The Dresser That Gave Me The Most Trouble – $50
Starting with my most recent furniture flip, I bought this very orange and very knotty pine dresser on Facebook Marketplace with the intention of re-staining it a dark color. I pulled off all the frilly details that didn’t fit the primitive cabin vibe I wanted. I swapped out the spindle legs for square legs, added a skirt, replaced the hardware, and sanded it down to bare wood. But when it came time to stain it, the wood just REFUSED to accept stain evenly and created somewhat of a striped look. After 8+ failed attempts, I came to the conclusion that I should paint it black and THAT’S when the magic happened. I sprayed a coat of black paint (Caviar by Sherwin Williams) which allowed the wood grains to still show through and since I wanted the focus to remain on the subtle grains, I felt that the knobs needed to blend in rather than stand out. Best $50 I ever spent on a dresser…despite the headache it gave me!
2. The Stool I Grabbed On My Way Out The Door – $39
When it comes to trends, little wooden or woven stools are at their peak and it seams like every designer home has one tucked in a corner, next to a chair, or in the primary bathroom. The problem is, they’re incredibly hard to come by and the ones you do find are often $300 or more. #SupplyAndDemand So when I found this little stool hidden under a stack of frames at my favorite secondhand store, I just couldn’t leave without it. And while I love a good furniture transformation, some pieces (especially antiques) are best left as-is…dents, scratches and all.
3. The Coffee Table I Waited 6 Months For – $70
Some things take time to find. A coffee table was that for me. I wanted something simple, no spindle legs, no fancy decorative moulding, solid wood, and the right size for our quaint living room. After 6 months of searching, I stumbled upon this golden oak beauty that was screaming with potential. This was one of my quickest projects with just 4 days of work time (spread out over a week). After a quick sanding, a new-to-me technique called water popping, a fresh coat of stain, and a mattifying coat of wax to seal the wood, the final look still has me drooling over the wood grains.
4. The “I Have No Idea How These Will Turn Out” Vases – $20 Each
Turns out, it’s not always about having a solid game plan before diving into a project. Sometimes it’s about trying new things as you go and thankfully that worked in my favor for these thrifted vases. This time around, the goal was to recreate the $200 antique artisan vases that I had grown to love for under $25 a piece. I noticed a common thread among all the antique vases I liked – they were moody…almost as though they were dirty. They had a bowl shape and many of them had handles at the rim. So I narrowed my search to that and from there I got a little crafty with plaster and paint to create a layered, dimensional look.
5. The One With The Biggest Transformation – $125
I don’t want to offend anyone’s personal taste because beauty is always relative, but in my opinion, this cabinet had the most room for improvement. I had been on the hunt for an entry cabinet on FB Marketplace for a month or two and this cabinet popped up for nearly $200. I offered a price I felt comfortable with, but was turned down so I saved the listing and continued on with my search. Nearly a month later the price dropped and I snatched it up! It wasn’t my cheapest find and it wasn’t even old, but it was the perfect shape and size for our home so I felt comfortable spending a little more than I usually do on secondhand furniture. Anyways, I spent days sanding off the spotty paint finish and I could just tell that the wood underneath was going to steal the show…and it does!
6. The Candlesticks I Didn’t Even Document – $0.99
As much as I love sharing my makeovers with you in real time, sometimes the projects that feel the most freeing (and are ultimately the most fun) are the ones I don’t document. Turning the camera off and doing a project just for me takes all the pressure off of creating something the world will love. These thrifted candlestick holders were that for me. A 20 minute makeover that involved a coat of hammered black spray paint and a set of gray tapered candles. And funny enough, whenever they show up in a photo or video, they’re the #1 thing I get asked about now.
7. The Pleated Lampshade That Goes With Everything – $5.99
Honestly all my lampshades are thrifted, but back when pleated lampshades were barely even a conversation, I found this empire shade with perfectly creased pleats at Goodwill and just knew it was going to be a major trend 6 months down the road. It hit that sizing sweet spot so it goes with most lamps and it didn’t have a single stain….that’s hard to come by at Goodwill.
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