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7 Tips for restoring thrift store decor

No matter how rich or poor, everyone can benefit from a little thrift store shopping.

t I love going into stores like Savers and finding hidden gems, such as the beautiful shabby chic kitchen table where my family now eats.

t I knew, going into the thrift store, that I wanted to find a white shabby chic table and I was lucky to come across this piece. The table came with four beautifully padded chairs and three leaves that allow us to make the table different sizes. In total, I spent only $300. I was blown away because one of the chairs for my high-top table cost $200. This awesome deal allowed us to make the switch from a high-top table to a beautiful shabby chic low-top table, which is way more family-friendly and more enjoyable to use.

t To become a thrift store shopper you need to develop an “eye.” Sometimes you can find gems that just need a little fine tuning. With the help of a little paint and material you can take an item from drab to fab.

t Here are some tips to keep in mind when picking out and refurbishing your thrift shop pieces.

1. Take some measurements


Photo credit: stocknroll/iStock/360/Getty Images

t If you know you’re looking for a specific item, make sure you come prepared with all of the measurements of your space. While you’ll want to make sure the furniture will have enough space once it’s in the room, make sure you also measure other, less-obvious, spaces (the front door to your home, the clearance of your staircase, etc.). Remember, getting your furniture into the room is just as important as what it will look like once it’s inside.

t And don’t forget to bring a tape measure to the store with you so you can check the measurements against the space in your home.

2. Curves matter


t So the piece may have a few bumps and bruises. Maybe it’s painted a shade of purple that would totally clash with your red curtains. Maybe there’s a stain from a coffee mug. Though it may be hard to imagine, the key to selecting the piece is in the architecture. If you love the shape of the furniture, chances are the other elements can be reinvented to suit your aesthetics.

3. Check the foundation

t Particularly when selecting load-bearing furniture like chairs, tables or even mirrors (the frame supports the weight of the glass), make sure the piece is still structurally sound. Loose screws can be tightened, but only if the wood itself is in good condition as well.

4. Use your imagination

t Imagine the furniture in the context of your home. Sometimes it’s difficult, when the piece you’re considering is in a store, surrounded by a mix of other items (in all different styles and colors), but try to visualize the piece sitting beside your things. How does it look in your space?

5. Consider non-traditional uses


t Items like doorknobs, mason jars, picture frames and shutters can be transformed into lovely, shabby chic decorations. Check out these articles for inspiration:

6. Sand down any rough spots


t A smooth surface will give your new piece of furniture a clean, polished look. Before applying primer and paint, scrape off any old paint and sand the piece down. Check out how interior design expert Candace Soriano transformed this vintage desk into a gorgeous shabby chic piece.

7. Prepping for paint


t Primer is the key to a smooth and even finish on your piece of furniture. Use a roller to coat the large surfaces of the piece, and then a paintbrush for the edges and more difficult-to-reach areas. Wait until the primer is completely dry before painting. If your goal is a distressed or shabby chic look, you can skip the primer altogether.

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