Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thrifting 101:Thriting for the Home tips from Amber from The Owl's Den

Amber is over from The Owl's Den, a blog easy to fall in love with.  I adore her style and I think we are kindred spirits when it comes to thrift, and judging by her food posts, we also share a love for good food.  She doesn't know this but I went to grade school with her doppelganger who was just as cute as she is.   After reading the post, I thought it fit so perfectly with my Thrifting 101 series I had to add it.  I'll let her tell the rest...

Hi Green Eggs and Hamm followers I’m Amber from The Owl’s Den and I’m so excited to be writing a guest post for my thrifting idol. As you can already tell, I love thrifting particularly for furniture and décor for my apartment. In fact, most of my living room consists of thrift store finds with each piece costing around $10. However, just like shopping thrift stores for clothing there are things to look for when buying furniture, so here are my top ten tips when shopping thrift store for your home.

small credenza $10

1.  Look At The Displays

Half the time that golden piece is displaying a tacky lamps or other items. This is actually how I found my small credenza. Check out the item for a price tag and if you don’t see one simply ask how much. Most of the time if they do not want to sell the item there will be a sign letting you know it is display only.

2. Don’t Dismiss Ugly Things

If the piece has great bone structure but has an ugly paint job or fabric don’t dismiss it as junk. If you have the time and resources to fix it up then get it! This is great for D.I.Y projects and it helps to bring more of your personality into the room.

3. Smell It First

Sounds odd but just like buying clothing be sure the piece does not smell bad. This is real important for furniture made from solid wood. If there is any evidence of the item being in a smoker’s house chances are when the wood naturally expands that smell will be more potent.

4. Bring Measuring Tape

There are obvious items that you do not have to measure but if you are trying to fit things through doors or placing them in between spaces, it is important to measure before buying. Consider measuring the height and depth of the item too. A vintage side table might be too short to use as a nightstand or the depth of that retro credenza may not be big enough to hold your television or game system on top. Keeping a note pad with original measurements helps keep from getting height and width numbers mixed up.

 Chair $7

5. Sit On It

Just like any furniture store, you want to make sure the chair or sofa will work for you. Something that you think looks great may sit way to low to the ground or is too big to sit in. Even if you plan to get it reupholstered, you do not want to spend that kind of money on a piece that is awkward to sit or get up in.

6. Know Your Thrift Stores

Certain thrift stores cater to certain types of items. Most stores do carry furniture and décor but some have more variety and greater prices compared to others. It is important to figure which ones do and do not carry the style you want so you can use it to your advantage. This makes searching for a certain piece of furniture a bit easier.

7. It’s Okay To Replace Things

When it comes to vintage decor and furniture sometimes the frames and knobs can be plain tacky. If it is worth the cost and the piece can easily be removed buy a new frame or knobs for it. You can always check out the dollar store for a wooden frame or updated knobs at a lower cost.

8. It’s Okay To Buy New

Thrift stores sometimes carry newer items (marked down from popular stores) but no need to feel guilty for buying new. When you find something with the sticker price still on it that just makes it more exciting that you found the item at such a great deal and condition. You are not turning your back on the thrifting world if you buy it unused.

9. Come In The Right Vehicle

If you’re just looking for small home décor then driving in a small car is fine but when you are searching for bigger pieces make sure you have a vehicle that you can carry it home plus the proper straps to hold it down on its voyage to your house. We brought ol’ Red with us when I was looking for items in the bedroom and we lucked out and found an antique dresser. Also see if they offer delivery, this came in handy when I underestimated the size of my small credenza and my tiny car.

10.  Don’t Be Discouraged

Just like any shopping adventure don’t get discouraged if you don’t come home with your golden piece. Depending on what state your from and the atmosphere of the store certain items are known to be popular than most. As far as I noticed in the south not too many thrift stores know how popular Danish Modern is so you don’t stumble upon it too often and when you do it is at a steal. Keep looking and revisit your favorite thrift stores and you’ll eventually stumble upon your dream item.

 Danish Modern Coffee Table $12

It may seem a bit scary (don’t get me started on my phobia of buying thrift store couches) but after buying great solid pieces at a fraction of these newer “pressured wood” items it makes it hard to go back. I hope these tips help you overcome any fears and help you with your next budget make over or furnishing your first apartment. So go out and thrift on my friends!

xo Amber P.

It's Amy, I told you she is awesome!  Great tips too.  Now show her some love and go visit her blog.  I need that coffee table!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Thanks so much for letting me write an article for your blog :) It was so much fun! That is so neat that I have a doppelganger running around lol. I've only had two people say I remind them of someone and sadly one of the people were on Maury so I'm not so sure I trust the person judgement.

    xo Amber P.

  2. Yes, your twin is a doll btw. She is gorgeous, still, hasn't aged a bit and she is my age and has 4 kids! Thank you soooo much for doing this. Seriously, you are a sweetheart and I adore your blog and your style! You are welcome here anytime!

  3. Thanks for these great tips. You certainly know what you are doing as you have a lot of great finds. I am a new Pinterest follower of Green Eggs and Hamm. Vicky from Mess For Less

  4. i adore this post! i love the idea of looking at the actual pieces that other things are displayed on. i have been looking for a shelving unit for the washroom and i think i will have a new eye now. =) bonus points for the doctor who screenshot!