Interior Designers Share Things Not to Do When Thrifting

  • Insider requested interior designers for some of their ideal thrift-shop guidelines for household furniture buying.
  • Remembering to deliver a tape measure and physical color swatches will make thrifting even easier.
  • Never underestimate the hard work it could acquire to restore a damaged item or get an odor out of fabric.

Thrift outlets can be excellent sites to come across the excellent piece of furniture or decor, but it is quick to waste income on minimal-high quality products if you never know how to store good.

Insider requested specialist interior designers to share faults men and women make when browsing at secondhand suppliers, as very well as their suggestions for thrifting like a pro.

You should not skip wonderful frames just for the reason that of ugly artwork

Wooden picture frames painted white stacked vertically

High quality frames can be fantastic thrift-shop finds.

Jessica Ruscello/Getty Images


Cara Newhart, an interior designer and the host of the “Make House” podcast, instructed Insider that you should never ever skip getting a substantial-high-quality body just because the art isn’t your type.

“Even if you do not like the artwork, you can help save the body and swap it out for a print that’s a great match for your place,” Newhart reported.

Thrift retailers are good destinations to rating affordable frames, which can make it simple to set with each other a gallery wall on a funds.

Under no circumstances fail to remember to measure household furniture prior to you purchase

The interior designer Veronica Sanders explained to Insider that it can be very important to evaluate your house before heading to the thrift shop.

“Not measuring the proportions of your place is this kind of a frequent error,” Sanders reported. “Compose them down so you can examine the size of the household furniture with the room you have offered.”

Bear in mind to convey a tape evaluate so you can evaluate the proportions of any future purchases. 

You should not undervalue the price tag of repairs

Underestimating the funds or time needed to make seemingly simple repairs can be a expensive thrifting blunder.

“I might steer clear of getting parts that will need to be thoroughly reupholstered, fully refinished, or otherwise produced around except if you have the income or major Do-it-yourself competencies necessary,” Newhart said.

On the other hand, minimal repairs these as tightening a loose screw, refreshing chipped paint, or swapping components are generally effortless.

Don’t pay a visit to only 1 thrift store

Each individual thrift keep has various inventory, so really don’t restrict your procuring to just a person. 

“Never ever make the mistake of contemplating that one particular thrift store has anything you need,” Sanders mentioned. “You could be lacking out on the excellent piece at an additional retailer.”

If you’re intent on searching down the extremely very best purchases, consider hitting a number of consignment outlets in unique elements of city or going to a local flea market.

Skip everything that has a odor

Floral-pattern and yellow couches in front of wooden paneling on blue wall and golden chandelier hanging down

Move on any furnishings that has an odor.

Andreas Schlegel/Getty Illustrations or photos


The interior designer Kimberley Seldon of Kimberley Seldon Layout Team explained to Insider she suggested skipping pieces with a visible scent.

“Depart items with classic materials that stink of mothballs or any other scent,” Seldon mentioned. “You are going to hardly ever get rid of the smell.”

Whilst it can be feasible to entirely reupholster some items in new cloth, the expense can outweigh any discounts attained by buying secondhand.

Never check out to match artwork far too correctly

Attempting to match thrifted artwork with your current decor can lessen the visible influence of the secondhand piece.

“Though it is tempting, never match a piece of thrifted artwork to your furnishings or wall coloration,” Seldon stated. “It’ll make your order feel to vanish.”

Alternatively, Seldon advised thrifting a new frame that beautifully matches the type of your art.

Under no circumstances try out to haggle working with negativity

If negotiating is welcomed, exhibit your enthusiasm for a store owner’s goods prior to venturing to make a deal.

“Unfavorable reviews like, ‘You can’t be really serious,’ or, ‘It isn’t really really worth that considerably,’ are unlikely to outcome in a deal,” Seldon said. 

Secondhand-merchandise and consignment dealers may spend a fantastic deal of time and vitality getting items, so prevent insulting their wares.

Never attempt to remember hues from memory

Designers know that it is really virtually unachievable to correctly don’t forget hues, so make confident you have a physical sample of any hues you happen to be seeking to match.

“Generally store with fabric or paint swatches to make your choices a lot easier,” Seldon explained. “And, of class, bring a tape evaluate.”

If you forget about your tape evaluate, you can get imaginative with what you have on hand — a dollar bill is about 6 inches prolonged.

Embrace big, daring pieces of furnishings

If you are stuck involving two items of home furnishings, deciding on the greater one may possibly build a bolder look.

“When in doubt, go major,” Seldon stated. “If you are selecting in between two sizes, and both equally in good shape your house, select the much larger a single.” 

In individual, Seldon advised deciding on more substantial region carpets — which can build the illusion of a more substantial area — as perfectly as decorative pillows, artwork pieces, and lamps.

Really don’t pass over top quality wood pieces

Wooden chairs with other school chairs and fabric-covered chair

Higher-top quality wooden furniture can be really hard to come across.

BUKET TOPAL/Getty Images


Thrift suppliers are often filled with particleboard or faux-wood home furniture, but they’re also a wonderful spot to find promotions on high-excellent pieces.

“A great, durable piece of wood home furnishings can be tricky to find, so when you stumble upon a gem, it might be worth the splurge,” Sanders reported.

In accordance to Sanders, old wooden dressers, coffee tables, and stools can be provided new daily life with a fresh coat of paint or stain and a do-it-your self cushion.

Keep away from buying by on your own if you really don’t live alone

Going thrift procuring for furniture or decor can guide to family pressure if you share your place with roommates or a husband or wife.

“You may possibly like that shiny-red couch, but it may perhaps be a complete eyesore for your spouse,” Sanders mentioned. “It can be excellent to get second opinions and enter from people you live with.”

Bringing your housemates along is even extra critical when procuring for significant-ticket merchandise or cumbersome pieces that might be challenging to get rid of or resell.