Try these 3 simple updates to your thrift store finds

Hello and welcome to my Thrifted Home series.  If you've been tuning in, I hope it has been both informational....and entertaining for you!   Earlier this week I posted some helpful criteria when choosing "thrifted" items. That post was titled "5 Tried and True Thrifting Rules to Live By" .  If you'd like to see that, just click this link:  

So, you've found some great items at your local second-hand what?   Not all second-hand store items are create equal.  Some are great as is, and others need serious attention.   You might not always see the hidden potential in an item when it is sitting in a sea of random objects, let alone visualize how the item could work in your home. This post will provide suggestions for how to update thrift store "finds" so that they will add nothing but awesomeness to your home.  Little did you know that something so ugly could become a focal point for a room in your house! 

To start, this is how I define "update" when I'm speaking about thrifted finds: 

"Changing an item in some way, in order to make it visually pleasing; change that allows personal style to be displayed and makes a statement."       

There are countless ways that updates can be done, but here I am sharing three basics: 

1.  Paint it:  any object that has a paint-able surface would be appropriate for a new coat of paint (or two!).  Examples include picture frames, wooden boxes/containers, decorative shelves, any piece of furniture, and even wicker decor.   Below is an example of an item that was quite unattractive before, but, looking beyond the ugly and recognizing the item for its positive attributes paid off: 

Possibly at some point in time, this picture was considered pretty cool....or maybe not.  This item's solid frame and intact canvas surface made it stand out in the clutter, and I knew it was a keeper.  I had actually already painted its frame black before this picture was taken, which means you are missing the serious ugliness of the frame before I got my hands on it.  I love horses, but it was time to say good-bye to them and their wagon....and hello to a fresh new look.....

If painting a huge canvas is not very appealing to you, below is another example of how a simpler, less time-consuming painting update can give a dull piece new life.... 

2. Re-upholster it:  Examples of items that can be re-upholstered include foot stools, chairs, benches, and ottomans.  I will typically examine the piece underneath, to determine what type of re-upholstering project is necessary.  If it is a matter of removing upholstery staples, old fabric, and cushion, and replacing with new "parts", then this makes it a more appealing buy!  Some pieces are more complex, and essentially require the skills and equipment of a professional upholsterer.  Below are examples of chairs with excellent structure, that were in need of a make-over.  With new fabric, cushion, a screwdriver, and a staple gun, these chairs were updated and ready for their reveal....... 

3.  Remove something from the item:  sometimes I find myself looking at an item and wondering why the unnecessary "pieces"? For example a gigantic flower strapped dead center to what would be a fabulous basket or magazine rack (underneath all those giant petals!)   If those pieces can be removed, by all means, go ahead and remove them!  Examples would be baskets or "wicker" decor.  You might see "tassles" or "handles" on these pieces, which are typically attached with wire.  Cut that wire, get rid of the tassles, and you've got yourself a perfectly functional hamper.   Something as simple as removing a lid on something provides a whole new use for a piece.  Not looking for covered storage but want something to put your magazines or pillows in?  Get rid of the lid!  In the picture below, the basket had an awkward lid on it that didn't even fit the basket.  I could have sworn it was attached with telephone pole cable. After a mild struggle, I cut that thing free and now I can put pillows in it.  Simple.  Great result.  Bottom line:  Try to look beyond random "attachments" and ask yourself how the item could be used if you got rid of the crazy "ornaments" wired to it. 

There are so many ways to update old decor.  Today's post barely scratches the surface but at least provides you some common strategies that can help you look past the ugly and consider an item for your home.   

Coming up next week.....more examples of updates to thrifted decor, and the best part.....seeing rooms that are great examples of the "thrifted home" at its best! 

Check out these related posts:

Thrift Tip

5 Tried and True Thrifting Rules to Live By