Tips for Home Décor Shopping on a Budget

I can clearly remember standing in a large consignment store with my River Ranch client a few months ago. We had just walked through the store doors when I heard her say, “There is so much stuff in here. I’m overwhelmed already.” At the time I didn’t understand what there was to be overwhelmed about. I mean, we had an awesome furniture and accessories list. There were rows and racks of goodies to look through. What could possibly be overwhelming? This is the best day ever!

I get it. Antique malls, thrift stores, charity shops and even estate sales can seem overwhelming. You’re there because you’re trying to be financially responsible, you’re looking for things that are vintage because you want a layered look, you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, you need something like right now not six weeks from now so ordering is not an option, there’s not a “real” store within an hour’s drive…so there you are in the store looking at so. much. stuff.

But friends, let me tell ya it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned when shopping for thrifted and unique finds. These simple guidelines help me decide what I should bring home and what I should leave behind.

Before you even walk into the store…determine your needs and write them down. Listing your needs will help keep you on track when you find THE most amazing French Country dining room table and you want it SO bad. Yet what you actually NEED is a console table for your lake house.

Wall Art

You can almost always find a wide range of wall art at antique malls, thrift stores, charity shops or estate sale. Look for unique frames, artist’s renderings, paintings, photographs or mirrors because you never know what you’re going to come across.

What looks like this in the store…


can look like this at home…

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Vintage Dishes

I have a weakness for vintage dishes and I know a lot of you do too. Over the years, I’ve picked them up as cheap as 50 cents and as expensive as 30 dollars per piece. Vintage plates are great for both entertaining and to use as art in a gallery wall.

What looks like this in the store…


can look like this for brunch at home…

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time you’ve probably already know I will forever sing the praises of baskets. Not only can they help keep your family organized, they can carry bread to the hungry, sweet treats to new neighbors and picnic food to the beach.

What looks like this at the store…


can look like this at home….

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There’s just something about books old or new that make a home feel collected. I almost always buy books that have the same color binding just because it makes it easier to group them together on everything from bookshelves to mantels to coffee tables. Once you know which color combinations you want to use throughout your home, it will be easier to spot which books will work best in your decor.

Here’s a look at books in the store…


and using combinations of those same books at home…

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Fabric and Linens

Before you give me the ewww, CoCo…I’m not saying you should buy bed linens or pillows from the thrift store. I’m talking about curtains that can be washed and turned into pillows, vintage hemp, linen or bolts of fabric that can be used in upholstery projects, blankets that can be dry cleaned and used as table runners or monogrammed napkins or quilt pieces that can be gently laundered. Smells and stains can be very tricky to get out so make sure you look over each piece carefully prior to purchasing.

In the store it can look like this…


and at home, it could look like this…

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Ironstone and Transferware

As you guys know, I’ve been collecting ironstone and transferware for a long time. Ironstone is not plentiful in this area so I’m always on the hunt for it. My most treasured pieces have come from antique stores and estate sales or other vendors.   This is when it really pays to let your local antique mall know what you’re looking for so vendors can keep an eye out when they’re shopping as well.

Here are a few random items I picked up while I was on vacation…


and this is how I used them when I got home…

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Unique Home Accessories Items

Think stacks of silver platters, wooden spoons you want to use in your kitchen vignettes, containers that can be used as vases, lamps, trays, breadboards or bookends. These are things can be decorative but also functional. The things that help give a layered look to your bookcases, cabinets and tabletops.

It could look like this in the store but at home…


it may look like this…

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Solid Wood Furniture

More times than not, I find my best pieces of furniture at antique stores, estate sales or well curated charity shops. It’s very rare I find quality pieces of furniture at thrift stores that don’t require a lot of extra work. If the piece is laminate/particle board, wobbly, the drawers stick when you try to open them or they smell…pass it up. Just keep on walking, honestly, it’s not worth it. You may wind up paying a bit more than you had planned but the quality will be better and will probably last longer too.

In the store, it looks like this…


but at home with a little bit of love it can look like this….

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Just a gentle reminder, it takes time to create a home you truly love. As you’re shopping, look for those pieces that make your heart sing, grab a can of paint and transform furniture that needs a fresh look, declutter your existing spaces, let go of things you were just settling for or using to make do. Start being intentional with your decorating choices and you’ll begin to see a change in the way you enjoy your home.


I hope you guys have the happiest day. I’ll see you on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram tomorrow and back here on Friday to share a few things I picked up on the treasure trail last week.

Many blessings,



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  1. Hey CoCo – these are all fantastic and smart tips! In fact…our hearts did a little pitter-patter for the dish aisle photo at the thrift store LOL. Cheers and hugs for a wonderful day!

    1. Can you believe that’s what it looks like girls? Sometimes you really have to dig in there and you’ll only find one or two of your pattern but it’s totally worth it. I’m still on the look out for violet transferware, don’t worry, hugs, CoCo

  2. Michell jackson Sosnoskie says:

    Please come visit our farm and shop canton tx I can take you to some of the hidden junk gems around town or stay in our airstream in dallas and junking is all around us. Look me up on FB . Love your look !!!

    1. You’re in one of the best places to junk in the country, Michell, I’m so jealous 🙂 I’ll see if I can find you on FB because I know you’re bringing homes some fabulous finds. Have a fun day, CoCo

  3. Can I go shopping with you, please? Those dishes, oh my!! Love all of it. Wonderful tips and uses of your finds. Thanks for sharing.



    1. I appreciate it, Brooke, thank you! Of course, you can come shopping with me any time you’re in town 🙂 We’ll hit all of the hot spots. You have great taste so I know we’ll find some treasures, hugs, CoCo

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