Over my years of thrift and secondhand shopping, I’ve come to seek out certain things that I always look for and will almost always buy to enhance the cottage style I love to create! It might surprise you to know that clothing isn’t one of them… I do normally make a quick pass through the plus-size tops and pants, but since those items seem to be either in short supply or poor repair at the shops I visit, I hardly ever buy anything in that department.
My go-to categories revolve primarily around my home rather than myself. Here are the things I’ll almost certainly buy to achieve my “vintage floral cottage” style, if they are in good condition and the price is right:
Vintage china, especially Limoges and English transferware. This is my favorite category. I’ve found complete sets as well as stray pieces of some very beautiful vintage and antique patterns. Since very few people collect dinnerware that you can’t put into a microwave oven, it’s almost always really cheap.
Silk florals. I use a lot of silk flowers in my decorating, and I have found many, many wreaths, swags, and “stems” in beautiful condition that fit my style for very little money.
Flat sheets and draperies. I often find stray flat sheets in very pretty floral patterns. I don’t worry about what size bed or window they’ll fit – they are a great way to get a large chunk of pretty fabric that can easily be repurposed.
Folk art. Amateur paintings, pottery, needle work, and even hand-made wood items carry with them a story about a person trying to exhibit their creativity. I love furnishing my home with “other people’s art” (OPA).
A great bargain on something vintage, antique, or collectible. Having been in the antiques and collectibles trade for some time, I’ve developed a pretty good eye for items that I can potentially re-sell and how much I can likely get for them. If I see something that I think is an amazing bargain and I’m confident I can re-sell, I’ll buy it.
Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite things to look for when secondhand shopping?