Thrifting for Apartment Decor- Where, How and What?

For me, one of the most exciting things about getting my own apartment was being able to decorate a space of my own. I’ve always loved finding a good deal, and thrifting is a great way to get home décor on a budget.


My favorite places to thrift are actual thrift stores (will vary depending on your city), yard sales, estate sales, Facebook groups, and sites like Craigslist. I’ve also gotten a thing or two from the basement of various family members, with their permission of course. If shopping on Facebook or Craigslist, remember to meet the other person in a public place, or bring a friend if going to their house.


I get pretty serious about thrifting – this is a game folks, and I’m always aiming to win. I recommend waiting until you find your apartment before shopping for it, so you’ll be able to map out where things will go.  All games need a game plan, so here’s how I like to prepare for a fun day of thrifting:

1-Make a List

Scour Pinterest for some ideas, and then make a list of some items you’d like to have in your apartment. Remember that each item doesn’t have to be exactly like the photo you found.

2- Set a Budget and Get Cash Out

Even though thrifting is significantly less expensive than buying new, it can still add up. Make sure you set a budget beforehand, and get that money out of the bank. While most stores accept debit and credit, yard sales obviously won’t. If you can swing it, I recommend getting out a little bit more cash than you think you’ll need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a yard sale and found an item I HAD to have, but didn’t quite have enough cash on me. You can always try your hand at haggling, but if the item is actually worth what they’re asking you don’t want to lowball them.

3- Bring an Appropriate Vehicle

Make sure you have a vehicle that accommodates your purchases, even if that means borrowing your mom’s SUV.  I once found an awesome dresser that I wasn’t even looking for, but the price was right and I had to have it. Have you ever tried jamming a dresser into the back seat of a car? It doesn’t work.


So, what are some things you should be looking for? I mentioned above making a list of items you want, and here are some of my favorite items to thrift:

Furniture: Desks, kitchen tables, coffee tables, bookshelves, night stands, bed frames, etc. Remember that almost anything can be painted. Some of my favorite thrifted items pictured below looked completely different before I painted them. Look for the shape and general quality of the items, not necessarily the color.

Glassware: I love finding old glassware. I’ve found some really beautiful vases, platters, pitchers- even drinking glasses. I fully believe that almost anything can be washed and sanitized, so there’s not much that’s off limits for me in the glassware department. My favorites are carnival glass and milk glass.

Electronics: I’ve found a few useful electronics through thrifting over the years, but remember to check the item thoroughly. Check for fraying cords and damage, but also check to make sure the item actually works. Don’t be afraid to ask the store clerk, or the person holding the yard sale to plug the item in.

Picture Frames and Wall Art: I love finding cheap picture frames. Collage walls are a popular trend I’m seeing online lately, and you can paint frames to match whatever theme you’re going with. Also, with a little bit of chalkboard paint, a picture frame can become a chalkboard for your entry way. I also love looking for interesting art, and one of my favorite thrifted items is a painting we have hanging in our kitchen.

Odds and Ends: I’m always on the hunt for random décor items to use for centerpieces, bookshelf styling, etc. See this photo below? That white tray was an old wooden calendar holder that I found at a thrift store. I painted it white and added some handles, and now it’s a tray. A lot of the items I display on it were also found thrifting, and I change them out regularly to keep things interesting.

I hope this little guide inspires you to embrace the upcoming yard sale season and do some shopping of your own. Let me know in the comments if you find anything good, and Happy Thrifting!

Related Posts

Author My First Apartment

Posted by

Dedreanna is a Canadian lifestyle blogger at She moved to her first apartment in a new city 6 years ago and has moved twice since. During her time in her first apartment, she wrote for www.myfirstapartment,com, and is now coming back with more experience than ever. She loves DIYs, home decor, trips to the beach, and having adventures with her husband and son.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (2)

  1. Avatar Michelle

    Glassware and picture frames get me every.single.time. even when I’m not trying to thrift!

    Great article. Thanks for these tips.