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My Secondhand Decor Shopping Tips & Tricks!

Upcycled furniture Sep 28, 2020

Everyone has ‘that friend’ who never fails to score amazing pieces when they go secondhand shopping. Time and time again, they walk away with the goods. You may start to think they have the *MAGIC* touch, but actually, they just know what to look for, and how to think creatively about what they see.

As you guys know, I’m addicted to discovering secondhand decor finds. 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. I also love how I love how secondhand stores are simply overflowing with pieces for upcycling! Honestly, I can think of no better satisfaction than finding a diamond in the rough and making it into something beautiful for the home. It pays to roll up your sleeved and look. In honour of this week being National Op Shop Week, I dropped into my local Vinnies to take a look around.



My biggest tip when op shopping is to think creatively. People often think there’s some secret magic to finding great things in secondhand stores. But to be honest there’s no real secret, I just try to look beyond the superficial things (like that ugly frame, or coat of paint) and understand if the bones of the item is good, and I always think creativity about how something can be pulled apart or completed overhauled.


Baskets have a ridiculous number of uses, and are great for storage of all kinds. They add texture to a room without too much colour or distraction. I always find interesting and unique baskets in op shops, and if you don’t like the colour or tone you can always upcycle them by painting or sanding them!

You’ll find me in the ceramics section, no matter how small the secondhand store. As you guys know my #trashtoterracotta upcycle project has been around the world and back, and op shops are the perfect place to source for this. Consider pieces that could be painted, or even stacked or glued together to create sculptural designs.

I have a fascination with quirky books from secondhand stores, the more unique the better. I love old covers and colourful hardback books, for reading as well as the depth they bring to a space. A tip from me? Lots of ugly slip covers are hiding really pretty books that are perfect for styling.

I absolutely discovering interesting glassware in secondhandstores. This amazing array at my local vinnies deserves some attention don’t you think? I like to keep an eye out for unique shapes, cut glass, thin delicate styles and ones that would display nicely on shelves.

You don’t have to dig too deeply to find lots of frames in secondhand stores. And don’t be put off by dated art or old prints, you can easily remove what’s in them and add your own. Or even paint over the top for a upcycled art piece.

Last but not least, I LOVE finding furniture when I am in secondhannd stores. Vinnies have some great pieces, from newer items for more unique antique styles. Some are perfect ad they are and other make the perfect base for my next weekend upcycle. Love it!

My last piece of advice? Come early and come often to get the best items. Soon you’ll be ther person all your friends thinks has the vinnies touch. And don’t forget to donate anything you’re done with!

This post is in collaboration with Vinnies Queensland.

Shop Collective Gen


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