Today I am excited to have my very creative and thrifty cousin Annie guest post about her love of thrifting vintage and antiques for the home! She is also sharing some practical tips on how to thrift and the first steps to using these items you love in your home decor.
First off, here is a little bit about Annelise, Annie to me 😉
Relation to Rachel:
Things I’m passionate about:
My job in orthopedics, all things homemaking: cooking, gardening, baking, crafting and most recently, a little home decor side biz I’m getting organized to kick off this winter!
Why I love antiquing and vintage wares:
I will always remember being really little and joining my mom on hunts at Betty’s Antiques—this 2-story warehouse in Fort Wayne with rows and rows of antiques. I think some of my first vintage purchases were pretend kitchen supplies—little aluminum cake stands, miniature utensils and plates, glass bottles, coin purses. Looking back, I can see how I have always been drawn to finding functional pieces that are anything but ordinary. Vintage items seem to celebrate the details even in everyday items like scissors and trash cans—believe it or not, these are some of my favorite vintage finds!
So while Betty’s Antiques is long gone, my passion for the hunt remains. Today, I’m sharing some of my best tips for curating vintage pieces to add charm and character to any home. I hope you finish reading this piece with the confidence to go out and scour all your local antique and thrift shops for what will surely become some of your most treasured items.
And now to the good stuff!
Three reasons I love vintage:
- There is so much more variety in antique stores than “big box” stores, so finding just the right piece is so much more likely!
- Well worn, lived in and patina’d items lend such a comforting and personal touch to spaces that may otherwise feel like a perfect scene from a magazine–so polished that family members and guests are afraid to “mess it up”.
- My stuff is unique! Trends come and go, and it’s easy to spot popular pieces from specific seasons at Target that everyone you know fell in love with and bought for their home. Keeping a healthy mix of vintage among your favorite trendy pieces ensures your home will make a memorable impression and won’t be a carbon copy of anyone elses’ space.
Okay so curating a balanced collection of vintage and new items can be daunting. You want things to blend well and have a similar vibe so it’s not clear where Target and Betty’s Antiques start and stop. My best advice here is buy what you love (as long as it’s a good deal) because truthfully, mixing old and new is an art and sometimes you don’t know what will look good til you try it. If you always have a modest stash of gems you’ve purchased, arranging just the right vignette is always easier. Mixing textures, sizes and shapes is a good rule of thumb so try to keep an open mind to all kinds of items because you never know when that cherished chartreuse porcelain horse head (yes I have one of these!) will show itself at the local thrift shop, and he’ll certainly need a friend or two on the mantle to help him really stand out!
That brings me to some practical tips for the newbie thrifter.
Getting some great finds off the bat is what really helped get me hooked on “the hunt”. The other fuel to my addiction is my mom who initiated me into antiquing at the age probably 3 😉 Anyways, after years and years of hunting thrift stores, antique malls and flea markets, I’ve compiled a few frequent finds that are not only plentiful in every shop I stop, but also very easy to incorporate in your home.
- Mirrors: I counted on a recent hunt at some local antique stores 9 amazing mirrors at very reasonable prices. The great thing about mirrors is that they always show great patina, so they bring a definite vintage vibe, but they’re also a functional piece that can find it’s home just about anywhere. Entryways, hallways, bedrooms, and mantles are all homes to some of my favorite vintage mirrors.
- Textiles: Throw pillows, bedspreads and bed skirts, and tablecloths. These are more functional items that lend a “lived-in” warmth to your home unlike any other. The best places for these items can be Goodwill, or even garage sales! Some of my latest finds have been a few bed skirts ($3-5/each) for spare bedrooms, and 2 matching bedspreads with the dreamiest fringe for a twin daybed with a trundle bed I found on Craigslist. I have thrifted multiple tablecloths throughout the years and have even considered using the fabric for curtains or pillows a time or two!
- Books: Why books, you ask? I mentioned before mixing textures, sizes and shapes is key in any display. Vintage books are the perfect way to accomplish the added height you need, add a bright pop of color to balance a room, or even just set out on a coffee table for added interest. The best spots for these are thrift stores where you know older people tend to donate (typically tied to churches—Salvation Army would be an example of these). The books our grandparents and great grandparents used to read may not hold our attention, but they’re certainly more beautiful than what you can find these days! I’ve found many a bright turquoise, mustard yellow, or olive green hardback book for less than $1!
Hunting for well-loved pieces is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend, or for an impromptu ½ day off work. I antique with my mom, or friends I’ve found share the same passion for vintage charm as I do, but a lot of the time, I’m by myself. It’s a great outlet for me to express myself, and I’ve often considered starting a side business to help decorate people’s homes. The key to a successful trip is not expecting bargains or finds every time, and being willing to stop at local places frequently. The more you hunt, the better your chances, and I’ve found that some of my best finds come from the least suspecting places.