The ideas really come from just browsing the aisles in a thrift store. It takes an hour or more sometimes, as I literally look at and pick up each and every piece that catches my eye. I turn it over, turn it on its side, and think of another decor item that it could possibly be turned into with a few updates.
The Kodak Carousel pendant lights are by far my favorite thrift flip I have ever made! I have them styled in my master bedroom with warm Edison bulbs that make the room feel warm, inviting, and cozy. I’ve always loved DIY-ing a good pendant light from an unexpected item—a tomato garden stand, fishing net, and baskets, to name a few others I’ve done. I also like to make a list of decor items that I need or I’m hoping to make soon and then look for pieces at the thrift store that could become those decor pieces.
A lot of people hear “thrift shop” and think “no, thanks” or feel overwhelmed. How has that changed for you over the years?
A few years ago that was ME! Being in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, thrift shopping for clothing has been something my friends have enjoyed for many years, but I could never get into it. I thought “no, thanks” because my old perspective on thrift store items was—it’s trash, stuff that someone didn’t even want, and I don’t know where it’s been or how [I would] ever clean it enough to bring into my home.
Ever heard the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? (Or woman’s!) This is so true when it comes to thrift shopping. What I love most about thrift shopping is you can often find special, unique, sometimes vintage pieces that you can’t find at a retail store at a great price.
What are your top tips for people who haven’t really thrifted to get into thrift shopping for home goods? What should they keep an eye out for?
“My top tips if you’re just getting into thrift shopping home decor would be—browse a thrift store with an open mind, and don’t expect to find something great every time. If you don’t find something on one visit, don’t write off thrift shopping as not for you or think that your thrift store never has anything good.
“They get new donations daily, so you never know what you’ll find on a different day. I make a thrift-shopping day out of it, where I go to all the thrift stores in my area and usually will find at least one or two things I love—if not more. Also, many thrift stores have special deal days where items are discounted, so I would also recommend shopping on those days as well.
“Pieces I always keep an eye out for are: unique pottery, baskets without handles for storage, wooden furniture that can be refinished, and hardcover books in colors that match my decor. I also have a video on my Guide to Thrifting on my YouTube channel.”
How did you get into thrift shopping and DIY-ing home goods and accessories? What was your first big project?
“About five years ago, my boyfriend, Romeo, was getting into thrift shopping for vintage clothing for his online clothing business, and he kept asking me to go with him, but I often said no. Then one day I went and strayed from the clothing section to look around the home-decor aisles.
“I found a beautiful lamp for a dollar and a hardcover book, The Art of Macramé, published in 1972, for 50 cents, and I was hooked. I started going with him to thrift stores all over Los Angeles a few times a week. Then I started to find pieces of furniture that I could upcycle, unique decor pieces to style bookcases with, and even gently used ceramics for the kitchen. My first big upcycling project was a dresser I found for 30 dollars for my friend’s bedroom makeover.”