Save Some Money (and the Earth) with These 6 Second-Hand-Chic Ideas

You want your home, office, and even your car to reflect who you are and what you value. It’s also nice to be able to set an example for others while you’re at it. We also don’t want to sacrifice the beauty and comfort of our well-planned homes in the process of making a difference in the world. Luckily, we don’t have to.

If you’ve wanted to green up your shopping process and keep a little more green in your bank account, there are some great ways to become a believer in the power of smart thrifting, second-hand shopping, and reusing and revamping freebies. If you’re new to the world of antiques and vintage furniture, then try some of these fun ideas that will make a splash in your home design, but not your budget.

We’ve come up with some of our favorite tricks to incorporate some vintage pieces into your fresh and innovative space.

1. Tile That Table!

One thing you’ll notice while shopping for pre-loved furniture is that the original owner’s love often shows. This means that tabletops may be scratched, gouged, or even stained. Don’t let this deter you from falling in love with the perfect able. Instead of walking away, make it your own.

Coffee tables, dining tables, side tables, and even dresser tops can all be brightened and updated with a tile top. Here’s how:

  • Add molding or quarter-round border
  • Then add a fixative inside the border
  • Then place tiles evenly with a tile spacer
  • Let them dry
  • Grout, wipe down, and enjoy!

2. Paint, Paint, and More Paint

When it comes to interior design, color has a huge impact on the space, from how it affects our thoughts, to how it can lighten our moods. Don’t be afraid to paint your new furniture or pieces to better fit your intention or mood of your room.

To properly paint a piece of furniture:

  • Wear a dust mask and gloves
  • Sand down the entire surface
  • Prime the piece
  • Use latex or oil-based paint and a paint brush
  • Apply several coats and make sure they’re fully dry before starting your next
  • Apply a clear or topcoat for added longevity

3. Hygge Pillows from Granny Sweaters

We love, love, love the colors and textures of hygge. You can embrace it too with what we like to call “granny pillows.” Next time you’re near your local thrift store, stop in and find a few neutral sweaters.

  • Remove your pillow from its case.
  • Use the case as a pattern or guide.
  • Flip the sweater inside out and trace the size of the original case with a marker.
  • Sew the sweater to the same size, leaving a gap for the pillow to squeeze in.
  • Sew the gap closed and snuggle up

4. Frame Something Fresh

It’s amazing how many vintage frames you can find at second-hand shops. Pick a few up and create your own art to display or try a pressed flower composition.

To create a pressed flower composition:

  • Go flower picking or buy some fun flowers. Smaller, daintier flowers are often better.
  • Cut the stems at an angle.
  • Arrange the flowers on an acid-free paper.
  • Put the arrangement in between two pieces of paper, then into book or press.
  • Let them dry for a month or so, then frame and display.

5. Shine Light a Little Light on Vintage Mirrors

Mirrors don’t just add light and space to a room, they can give you the perfect metallic touch! Pick up a bunch of mirrors and create a gallery wall that will stop guests in their tracks.


  • Center the largest mirror above a piece of furniture.
  • Arrange the other mirrors about 4-5-inches apart from the first one.
  • Don’t be afraid to play with different shapes, metal-tones, and styles.


6. Baskets You Won’t Want to Toss

As far as I’m concerned, you can never have enough fun and interesting baskets in your decor. You can find baskets in almost every second-hand shop. It’s almost absurd how much people pay for new baskets at home decor stores.

To breathe new life into old baskets or to create a more dramatic effect try:

  • Paint several baskets with a matching geometric pattern
  • Create a gallery wall with a basket display
  • Try making one into a fun a rustic lamp shade
  • Use a basket as a pot for your houseplant

As you replace your furniture with some fresh faces, don’t let your second-hand pieces go to waste. Try selling your furniture online or using an app. If you find you have a talent for curating and redesigning second-hand pieces, open an online furniture boutique. Register a retro or hip domain name to showcase your creations. Create your own style and inform your customers of the power of going green, then get to selling.

When it comes to finding the perfect thrift store or antique finds, be creative and have some fun. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your style. You’ll be surprised how many neat ideas you can come up with when you don’t buy new.


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