Lately I’ve been drawn to all sorts of quirky accent pieces, so I was thrilled when I took a day trip to Frederick, Maryland, with my mom last week and visited several of the amazing antique stores in the area (I seriously could’ve spent the entire day exploring each nook of every store–there were so many great places–and for that matter, prices!). One thing that I’d been searching for forever was a cute little stone bust to place on my dresser. I search Etsy every now and then and just never had that much luck finding the right style/price/size. It didn’t occur to me to look for one during our trip, though, so I was ecstatic when my mom spotted this little lady for only $18. She didn’t even know about my failed Etsy searches, she just knew it was something I would like! I ended up just leaving with the bust and the glass vase (a recycled bottle) shown above, but I easily could’ve taken more things hope with me (#willpower).
I thought I’d share a few of my tips for when it comes to antiquing/thrifting–some of these are ones I should really keep in mind myself a little more than I usually do!
1) Buy strategically. You can interpret this in a few ways. I have some friends who are the most indecisive shoppers ever and will leave things on hold in stores almost every time they run an errand. (On the contrary, I’ve never been like this and scoop things up IMMEDIATELY when I see them–although I’m getting a little better about debating whether or not I really need something). Obviously in thrift store situations, you can’t keep items on hold, and you also may not be able to return them (again, I’m not a huge returner, but I have a lot of friends who are, and sometimes it’s nice to have that as an option). If you’re concerned about whether a piece will fit in your space, measure before you leave the house and bring your tape measure with you, because there’s (probably) no looking back once you buy that chair/nightstand/rug!
Going along with this, if you like something a LOT, you should scoop it up and purchase it that day (or minute, really!). The worst feeling ever is when you’re deliberating getting something, go back to the store the next day, and find out that the item sold. (I swear this makes me want the item even more than I probably did at first glance!). That said, don’t just buy something because it’s a good deal. If you aren’t normally into a particular style or have no use for an item, don’t get it just because it’s cheap. Unnecessary clutter is no fun and will just make your life more stressful!
2) Think about DIYs. I’ve mentioned this before, as there’s so much that paint and new fabric can do to completely transform a piece. That said, don’t get something that you’ll likely never take the time to fix. I’ve definitely been guilty of buying what I think is the perfect piece to paint and then never doing it. Again, you don’t want to accumulate clutter! If you’re not normally a DIY person or just don’t want to spend extra time and money making over a piece (even if it is a good deal), leave it behind.
3) Consider multiple purposes. Maybe a crystal or silver dish would also make the perfect jewelry holder, or a cute vase could double as a jar for makeup brushes. Get creative–I love seeing how people put different items to use in ways that are a little more untraditional. Cake stands look adorable when they’re used to hold perfume bottles, for example.
4) Ask about the item. Obviously you can’t really do this at a place like Goodwill, but if you’re at a smaller, one-of-a-kind store, the workers may know the story behind a certain piece (and I’m nosy, so I like knowing where something originally came from!). When I was at Miss Pixie’s a few weeks back, I found the cutest wall art that looked New Yorker-esque and asked one of the sales clerks about it. It turns out that he had actually framed the pieces himself and they were from an old UVA yearbook–I never would’ve guessed had I not asked, and now I have a cool story to tell about the piece I ultimately brought home with me!
5) Need more tips? Check out this post I wrote awhile back about thrifting furniture, and this one about some of my favorite thrift and vintage stores in DC.