Decorating with Thrifty Finds {a Décor Challenge}

Scouring thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales (oh and don't forget the side of the road!) to decorate on a BUDGET!

It’s no secret that I love scouring thrift stores, yard sales and estate sales (oh and don’t forget the side of the road!) for amazing finds, but I usually bring them home, transform them and send them on their way. Sweet Friends, today for our Décor Enthusiast Challenge, which is all about decorating with thrifty/vintage finds, I thought I would take you around my downstairs and share the thrifty pieces I have decorated my own space with!

Let’s start with the entry, shall we?

When you first come in to our house, just to the left is this table:


It was a $20 estate sale find, only now it looks more like this:

Decorating with Thrfity Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I just couldn’t let this go. See more of how I transformed it HERE.

And that gorgeous mirror I found last Fall for around $25 at the thrift store, except it looked like this:


Still gorgeous, but I couldn’t resist taking a brush to it…

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

The tray, which I use to stage pieces all the time, came from the booth next to mine at the antique mall for $12, and the old math books were an awesome thrift store find:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I love old books. I always think that if you love it, it will all go together. All of these elements separately are very different, but I love them all, so I think they work together!

Next up is my desk chair which is at my desk in the living room, just beyond the entry table:


It was a $40 thrift store find that got a major facelift:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

That was my number one post in 2013, and believe it or not, it wasn’t that hard to do! See more of that post HERE.

Just beyond that is this vignette I wanted to share because it has more old books:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

One is my husband’s grandfather’s bible, and a reader and common prayer book from the late 1800’s. The common prayer book has a ton of writing in it and I am fascinated by it!

The tray was a thrift store frame that I added bead board to years ago.

To the right of this little table is our TV. You might remember this sign I shared in the Fall:


I mean…this one:

This beachy sign was made from old fence pickets. Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

How about free? Doesn’t get more thrifty than that! See how I made it HERE.

Just to the right is my mantel where you’ll find this gem:


This clamshell extravaganza was a $2 estate sale find that I added a piece of metal grate to. Now it makes the perfect backdrop for my seasonal wreaths:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

The garland was a DIY project you can see more of HERE made with shells my son found, starfish I had from an old garland, and cut up sticks from the yard. Some of the mantel décor were thrifty and estate sale finds too.

Just to right of my mantel is this pretty cabinet:


Ok not so pretty there! Looking at that photo, even I wonder why I dragged it home.

But it looks much better these days:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

This is actually a sewing machine cabinet. I store my machine and all of my notions inside of it. (That’s why I brought it home!)

In the center of our living room is our recently slipcovered sectional, and in front of it you’ll see this $10 thrift store coffee table that once looked like this:


I updated it to look like this:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I used a vintage tile as my inspiration for the top. You can see how I did that HERE.

On the backside of one side of my sectional lives this table that usually becomes a catch-all for toys:


I found it on a Facebook yard sale site for $50. If you’ve priced kids’ tables, you know that’s a fair price. (They aren’t cheap!)

It fits in a little better now though…


At the back of the other side of my sectional lives this country charmer:

Sofa Table Before

It was a $10 yard sale find. I had NO intentions of keeping this one. I just wanted to paint it and send it on its way, until I staged it at the back of my sectional during March Madness:

Give a plain table a cool update with pattern! Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

And that was that. I forgot to take an updated pic of this piece, but it still lives there. See the whole post and how I did the pattern on it HERE.

Next up is this area between my living room and kitchen:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

That chair was a $50 yard sale find. The chenille throw on back of the chair was a $5 yard sale score. The mirror was made by mounting a smaller mirror onto plywood that I painted stripes on and trimmed out. (You’ll find that project HERE.) The Beach Cottage sign was a picket from our old gate. (See how I did that HERE.) The basket under the table was a $1 yard sale find, and the table started out like this:


This is a sewing machine table I found at a yard sale for $20. It was my guinea pig when I was first testing out DIY chalk paint.

In the kitchen, I have my “island” which is really a $15 rolling cart I found like this at a yard sale:


A new paint job is just what this piece needed…

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

See the original transformation HERE.

The pitcher and wire cloche are thrifty/estate sale finds too:

Adding Farmhouse Charm to the Kitchen from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Those pics are from another décor enthusiast post, “5 Ways to Add Farmhouse Charm to the Kitchen“.

I also have this stool/chair in there that I bought at Lucketts in 2013:


I gave it a little grain sack stripe treatment, and now it’s an extra seat in the kitchen.

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

My kitchen is always so clean…sure it is…


A little real life. 🙂

On the big island, I still have this sweet wire storage basket:


I updated it for my “Farmhouse Kitchen” look, and still love it.

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Continuing to my dining room, which I have shared several times, you will see this set:


I could not walk away from it when I saw it. It was reduced to $85 since it had been on the floor longer than 30 days. Lucky me!!

Of course it looks more like this now:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I painted it to match the hutch that I bought in the very late 90’s that I almost sold at my annual yard sale, before I had the bright idea to paint it (my first ever chalk-painted piece). They work pretty well together.

That is where I house all my miscellaneous thrift store ironstone.

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Pieces like this are fun to change out seasonally:

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

You can see the Evolution of my Dining Room HERE.

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I’ve taken you in a circle around my downstairs, and all that’s left is the powder room.

I have a couple of thrifty things in there too like this thrift store basket that I redid for a previous décor challenge:

It now holds extra TP…

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I loved this so simple makeover! See more of it HERE. The primitive stool it’s sitting on was also a thrift store find.

I also have some vintage blue mason jars in there at the moment that I’ve found at yard sales and such…

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

The little table was one I bought already painted, long before chalk paint was even a thing. It’s the perfect size for this small space.

So there you have it…my house is full of thrifty décor! But you already knew that. 🙂

I enjoyed looking back at all the transformations and I hope you did too!

My Décor Enthusiast Friends are also sharing thrifty décor in their own homes. Visit the links below the graphic to check them out!

Decorating with Thrifty Finds from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Restoration Redoux

Artsy Chicks Rule

Our Southern Home

Refresh Restyle

Duke Manor Farm

Want to share your own thrifty décor??  You can!!

Take pics of your favorite thrifty decor and share them with us on our Decorating Enthusiasts DIY Forum on Facebook! We created this forum not only so you could participate in our fun decorating challenges, but also so that you have a judge-free zone to share your projects any time, ask questions, and hang out with other creatives just like you!


I’ll be back on Tuesday sharing another one of Jack’s makeovers:


Till then, awesome Friends! 🙂

UPDATE: No need to wait! See the plans Jack had for this cute plant stand HERE now!



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  1. Maley Homann says

    I have been thinking about re-decorating with a beach theme — thank you so much for the inspiration! LOVE it all…

  2. you do the most amazing transformations! i am in awe.

  3. That was a fun trip down memory lane. I still love all of your decor makeovers – it’s why I read your blog! Love the starfish mantel banner thing. I don’t think I’ve seen it before. I’m off to check it out. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Cecilia! I truly appreciate you following along with me!! XOXO

  4. Your home is absolutely gorgeous! I love everything that you’ve done and the fact that you thrifted so much of it gives me hope! I had one of two favorites out of all the makeovers you’ve done but now it’s almost like they’re all my favorites! Can’t wait to see Jack’s Makeover! He does such great work too!! You’ve become my favorite blogger out of all of blog land 😀

  5. Beautiful work Christy! Was your dining table top solid wood or a veneer? I need to refinish mine, it’s a thin veneer and we can’t buy denatured alcohol in Canada – looking for tips on how to get the poly coat off so I can restain it.

    • Thank you, Anne! Mine was solid wood on top. I used Minwax antique furniture refinisher to remove the stain on mine, but I don’t think it works on poly? Good luck, my friend!

  6. Oh my, you have been busy!!! I can’t believe how many projects you have done and they are all fantastic!! Loving your work and so glad I found you! Thank you for sharing!:)

  7. Love them all!!! and Yes, haha, our decor is practically interchangeable!! lol xoxo

    • Thanks, Girl!! Most of these are OLD makeovers, but it’s still fun to look back! XOXO

  8. I love your posts, and you inspire me to try my hand at thrift shop makeovers. I can’t wait to see Jack’s piece!!

    • Thanks, Carla! I love the high I get from finding a treasure. Of course today I stopped by two thrift stores (cheated on my thrift store diet) and found nothing boo hoo, but really, that’s part of the fun! 🙂

  9. chris aka monkey says

    your home is my dream home, alas at 67 i don’t think it is going to happen so i just stare at yours and drool xx

  10. Marcie Lovett says

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home, Kristy! I really enjoyed seeing how you’ve used all your “thrifty” finds and had fun looking back at the old posts.

  11. Nancy Massi says

    Absolutely lovely! But I have to ask–how do you keep the white furniture so clean? In my house, the slipcovers wouldn’t last a day before they’d need washing 🙁

    • Thank you, Nancy! When I made my slip covers I made sure the seams were well done because I just knew I would be washing these weekly, but honest to goodness, I have only washed a few of the seat cushions a handful of times since I made them! If a little smudge or something gets on one of the cushions, I cheat and flip it over. Then when that side gets something on it, I wash it. BUT, I don’t have pups…that may be a game changer, and my kiddos are not aloud to have food in the living room. So it actual manages to stay pretty darned clean! 🙂

  12. Oh, I love your style SO much! Your house is STUNNING. Your decorating is the most “to my taste” of any I’ve ever seen. I love it all. So pretty, light, perfect contrast, handmade rather than cookie cutter, comfortable, family friendly, not cluttery but not bare… I love it. I really love that you do it yourself. Sooooo cool! Someday even I may “get there” with help like this! : ) Thanks for the tour!

    • Thank you thank you thank you, Becky! I’m so glad you enjoyed the tour, and your sweet words are always so appreciated! I do love a hand-made touch in my spaces, but mostly it’s a result of wanting pretty décor, but not having the $$…such a blessing! XOXO

  13. You have done exceedingly well with all of your finds and purchases. Your place looks amazing. I am soooooo jealous! LOL! A very cohesive look and very well executed. Thanks for sharing. You have proved you can have a fabulous looking home for very little money but a lot of flair and imagination.

  14. I love, love, love everything that you do! Sharing and pinning!

  15. Beatific, beautiful, beautiful!!! My all-time favorite is the dining room suit!!!

  16. I’m new to your blog — and absolutely love everything you do. What great inspiration you have given me! I knew we would be fast friends…..

    • Welcome, Sharon and thank you!! If you love thrifty finds, repurposing, and upcylcing, you’ve come to the right place! 🙂

  17. I love, love, love all your transformations!! You definitely can see the diamond in the rough and transform them like no other. I’ve never used chalk paint… and am planning on using your ‘recipe’ to try that. I’m understanding that no sanding or priming is needed with chalk paint? And, is there another wax that can be used instead of the Annie Sloan? I’m anxious to try a small table or something as I have a dining room set that I’m dying to paint but not as my first project. Love your home, love your creations and love your blog!

  18. This is great! I love looking for thrifty finds too. Usually, I don’t find anything of great value to repaint, but within one week I found some really unique pieces. At least 2 of the 4 are pretty valuable! I just posted a re-do of my daughter’s dresser, but I hope you’ll follow me for updates on the crazy deals I found!


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