If you’ve ever spent any time leafing through high-end interior design magazines, you may have thought to yourself, “I could never make my home look like that.” And the truth is, most people couldn’t. Those layouts are perfectly designed to draw your eye, but they aren’t exactly kid-proof or pet-proof or life-proof. They’re also just not within the budget for a lot of people. But you don’t have to have a high-dollar price tag to have enviable home decor. If you’re willing to spend a little time in order to save a lot of money, you can create a living space that’s surprisingly luxe for less when you combine new pieces with thrift store finds.
The one thing some of those slick magazine spreads lack is character. By thrift shopping for furniture and accent pieces, you can put your personal stamp on your living space. The trick first is to identify what style message you’re trying to send. By looking for pieces in that particular milieu you can recreate the coordination you see in a decor magazine, but with some fun flourishes that show off your individuality.
So, what pieces should you buy new, and which should you thrift? The main piece you should buy new is a sofa. It’s difficult to find a sofa in pristine condition at a thrift store. Because they tend to be the primary piece of seating in a living room, they’re often threadbare and lumpy when you buy them secondhand. It can also be tricky to find a thrifted sofa that fits your space. However, accent chairs are a great thrift store purchase. They’re often in better shape than sofas, and can be easily transported in your car so there’s no need to arrange for delivery or hire a truck. We also like styling a room with a chair that coordinates with the couch, but doesn’t match it exactly: it can add a touch of character and help keep your living room from being too showroom.
While we do like to mix it up, we admit that there’s something to be said for matching at times. End tables and lamps are probably both good to buy new if you plan on having one on either end of the couch. It adds a pleasing sense of balance when they all go together – mismatching them could create an effect that’s more hodgepodge than intentionally quirky. Do look to thrift stores for things like console tables and coffee tables, though. Purchasing a new coffee table that perfectly matches the accent tables is tempting, but breaking that traditional set up again adds interest to your space.
Finally, use thrifted decor touches to really add personality and flavor and elevate your space from something nice to a place that makes you genuinely happy and comfortable. Here is where your personal style really comes into play. Is your room on the small side? Gathering fun thrifted mirrors and grouping them together on wall adds a focal point, and also reflects your room and makes it appear larger. Does your home have French provincial flare? Augment that with antique books and framed pressed flowers. Did you find a great steamer trunk to use as a coffee table? Stack vintage suitcases in the corner to continue that vintage travel theme. Is your living room full of color and whimsy? Purchase brightly-colored carnival and Depression glass and display them. Your local thrift stores are filled with special, one-of-a-kind items that will help you make a statement. Your living room may not be magazine picture-perfect, but it will be even better, because it will be perfect for you.