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Seven Things I Always Buy In Secondhand Stores

Interiors Jun 14, 2019

Adding depth to your space is as easy as secondhand!

I’ve learnt a lot from Ben since we met 13 years ago – not to put expensive knives in the dishwasher, how to properly tie my shoelaces (yes, I’ve been doing bunny ears my whole life) annnndddd how to create a beautiful, lived in space that not only looks good but is a joy and comfort to be in.

One of the things about our hyper visuals obsessed world is that we tend to get really focused on how a space looks, and sometimes how it functions or feels comes second. Something I’ve learnt from ben is that what we should be focused on first is how a space feels and flows, with visuals coming after that. Which (IMHO) is something that sets him apart as a designer, his ability to make a space feels comfortable and lived in. And also gorgeous!  I wanted to share these photos with you of my favourite antique store Heath’s Old Wares, and a few tips I’ve learnt along the way.

One thing that make a big difference? The amount of detail and variety in a space. For me, that means adding things and mixing up the decor so it feels real and not like a showroom. I always remember that in Mad Men the set designers updated the decor every season based on the changing eras, but rather than overhauling it, they layered in new pieces for a more real and lived in look. I like to apply this idea to my spaces, even when designing a whole room from scratch, that layering items from different eras makes the space.

Which is where buying secondhand comes in! I absolutely love the depth that adding antiques or secondhand items to a space creates. It’s the perfectly imperfect nature that gives your space LIFE. And in case you think that you need to buy a big piece of furniture to get the effect, you don’t! A few small items here and there won’t cost a lot and add so much to your space. And the best thing? Buying secondhand is an eco friendly approach!


Bonafide basket addict right here. But you guys knew that right? Honestly, baskets have a ridiculous number of uses, and are great for storage of all kinds. They also add texture to a room without too much colour or distraction. Instead of buying new baskets, investing in older ones that you source from an antiques store is a great way to add some depth to your space and give it more personality.


Take even a cursory look around an antiques store and you’ll find mirrors of all shapes and sizes, and it’s this variety that adds serious personality to your space. You’ll remember the amazing arched mirror that I bought from a garage sale that makes the master bedroom. That was a incredible find but in the last few years I’ve found round mirrors, plenty of arched mirrors, antiques with decorative edges and so many more. They don’t cost too much and make such a big difference! 


I’m yet to fully embrace buying original artwork, I have to admit most of the things I like are outside of my price range. But that doesn’t mean you have to opt for cheap knock off prints or lifeless still life pictures. Flea markets are such great places to find artwork that has a life and a history.


You’ll find me in the ceramics section, no matter how boring and bland the secondhand store. It just pays to keep your eye out. No matter where I’ve been I’m always able to fine some amazing secondhand terracotta vases, retro cups and milk jugs and hand made mugs.


Unless you are really lucky, you’re unlikely to find an amazing rug in a secondhand store.  But this is one area I think you can definitely splurge, because they make such a big difference. The older the better! My tip? Match some tones from your rug to some of the items in the room – art, cabinets or a lamp – to really tie it in. 


I have a fascination with weird books from secondhand stores, the stranger the better. I love old covers and colourful hardback books, for reading as well as the depth they bring to a space. It might sound strange but I like to match the books  to the decor and colours in the room. 


Ok, I’m calling it. We’re currently in the year of the lamp. And in this case, go vintage or go home. Honestly. I love everything about a fringed retro lamp, an 80’s inspired ceramic shell lamp, or something with a pleated paper shade. Again, gimme something interesting. And then, you’ll make your space. Trust me. 


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