antiquing, thrifting, and buying new like at home goods, what do I like to buy and where // holding antique floral oil on canvas painting - home and lifestyle blogger

What I buy Thrifting, Antiquing, at Home stores, and what I donate

antiquing, thrifting, and buying new like at home goods, what do I like to buy and where // holding antique floral oil on canvas painting - home and lifestyle bloggerBlouse: Sezane / Jeans: Sezane

‘ve been raiding the antique and thrift stores a bit more often than usual – but maybe it just seems that way because of quarantine and also I am sharing more of my finds on IG stories. Buying second hand is great for the environment, it’s giving things new life instead of going to the trash and also slows down mass production – the slower the new things take to disappear off shelves then the slower the production of new things.

Antiquing and thrifting is about the enjoyment of the search. Online places are fun too – Etsy, eBay and Chairish to name a few. But there’s nothing like going into a store with absolutely no agenda and finding treasures. That’s the most fun for me! I walk out with so much more!

I wanted to share how I view thrifting and antiquing and what I like to buy. I also want to discuss the big home stores that we all buy things from too – nothing is wrong with that, we need to mix old and new and more often than not, we want a new couch and desk! The goal is to have a collected home that resembles you and looks nothing like other’s IG feed because it’s uniquely you!

antiquing, thrifting, and buying new like at home goods, what do I like to buy and where // holding antique floral oil on canvas painting - home and lifestyle blogger

Whether thrifting or antiquing, the items have already lost their value so by the time I purchase it, it is a bargain. If I want to resell it, it’s not a lot of money lost. Unlike if I purchased a new chair from let’s say, Restoration Hardware, it would be hard to convince someone to buy it for close to the same amount I spent on it or even half.

I wrote a blog post about my favorite places to shop for thrifting and antique shopping as well as dining – check it out!

My Favorite Shopping + Dining Spots in Phoenix


Thrift Stores

hrifting is buying used items at a good discount price. Some items are recently made but used, and sometimes you get lucky and find an older item that’s in decent shape at a steal of a price! Thrifting is really getting the bargain when you buy. You can visit thrift stores, garage sales, or flea markets. It’s a smaller investment usually, and sometimes you really can come across a gem!


What I like to search for and purchase at thrift stores

  • Silver plated pieces – serve ware, trays, bowls, dishes, utensils
  • Crystal and glass bowls and vases
  • Special Commemorative Plates
  • Baskets – I don’t like to spend more than $10 on a basket – and for $10 it better be one heck of a basket!

Tip on thrift stores: If you see it and you want it, GET IT. Don’t wait. So many people are thrifting and within a few hours it can be gone. If it’s a cheap and you like it, just get it!

things I buy thrifting and what I like to pick up and search for - tips on the blog

The deal is made when you buy and at thrift stores, it’s all about getting those good deals!

Christian stores, hospice thrift stores, and Salvation Army as well as Goodwill are great places to thrift. Check your neighborhood garage sales as well! And when in doubt, ask friends if they have favorite spots. I have found that thrift stores close to larger cities have some great traditional pieces – if you go out into the country you’re going to find more country items.

thrifting silver plated tips and what I like to buy and find - Diana Elizabeth blog - see the blog post
thrifting tips and what I like to buy and find - Diana Elizabeth blog - see the blog post

Also, if you find a great framed piece of furniture like a settee, consider updating it with an upholster with an amazing fabric that will express who you are opposed to a piece of furniture that’s not as great quality and made overseas! I guarantee if you thrift well, you can spend the same amount if not less on a unique study piece of furniture that even with painting and upholstery cost, may make it worth it and even cheaper than a new piece – and it’ll be one of a kind!

Antique Stores

ow this is tricky, there are many antique malls and antique stores, and not all are created equal. Some stores have many vendors who choose to display the items they find and can range from vintage magazines to nostalgic cartoon memorabilia to old furniture, crystals and brass. There are some stores that feature more high-end valued antiques. You can never judge an antique store by its name, you just have to go in and see what they have and if the vendors fit what you are looking for.


Antiquing, like thrifting, is treasure hunting only it can be a bit more pricey. Unlike thrift stores though, items aren’t as cheap. When I go into antique stores I know I will spend more and I’m OK with that because I am looking for specific items at a specific quality as well. But – you can still find bargains!

What I like to buy at antique stores

  • Wall art – paintings and mirrors
  • Blue and white porcelain
  • Furniture
  • Vases
  • Unique pieces that are from a specific time period
floral painting antique shopping tips on the blog

Antiquing tip: When it comes to larger purchases – like the item is over $200 or it’s a large item like I’d have to replace other furniture, or take up big wall space, I take a photo so I can think about it. I take a photo, measure it with my measuring tape (if you don’t have one, ask the front desk, every antique store has many to let shoppers borrow), and I text myself the measurements and the price tag. Then I come home and I sit with the photo and look at the space I envision it. If I can’t stop thinking about it and worry it might disappear, I know I have to get it the next morning. But most of the time, my photos don’t get revisited and I’m so glad I wasn’t impulsive. When you know, you know, and if you don’t know for whatever reasons and you need to double check, take a photo and sleep on it for 24 hours.

And if time passes and I don’t think about those items any longer obviously it’s not meant to be. I also consult a few friends and check to see their thoughts and here’s what I’ve learned – if I’m meh about it, it shouldn’t go in my home and my friends feel the same, it’s like they know! It’s like we know it’s not worth the spend even if it’s a bargain.

mid century modern chairs antique tips and shopping places in phoenix - see the blog post
antique and thrift stores - what I buy and look for on the blog

Always be prepared to overlook flaws because the items you look at will be old. I was hesitant about a wood mirror but my friend Farrah who is an antique lover and owns many French antiques said it’s to be expected. But remember, it doesn’t mean it has to be beat up. If you can’t live with the crack or broken leg on a chair, then shop new. That’s ok!

But when you are antiquing you are probably already keeping that in mind and want the piece to look like a heirloom that has been around for 100-200 years because in fact, it has. Just call it patina and love it! You may have one of the last ones left in the world.

antique Chinese chair - antique store tips

wood oval antique mirror - antique mirror tips

I ended up buying the mirror for $289 and I swapped it with a mirror I had on the wall for a while that still had the price tag on it – $99!! I was shocked I even paid so much for a new basic oval mirror. Sure this antique mirror is 3x more, but for an extra $189, I think anyone would agree this mirror is worth it so I say live with a blank wall and save your pennies for that amazing piece.

Home Stores

tores like Home Goods, Target, IKEA, Wayfair, big box retailers, and even the ones we love like Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs and Restoration Hardware to name a few – well we have to shop there right? Of course!

I have a PB card for the rewards, because I shopped Pottery Barn a LOT, I was also a RH member. I don’t shop them as often as I used to, but mainly because my big pieces of furniture are still with us – the couches and rugs. Those were investments! Some pieces you do have to buy new – our dining room table is RH and our couches and rugs are mainly PB. But we throw in the antiques – like a vintage sideboard from One Kings Lane.

When it comes to discount home decor stores (Home Goods, TJ Maxx), I will buy pieces at good prices that I know I may donate a few years later. To me these big box retail stores like Home Goods tend to be similar to fast fashion for me, they are fast home decor and I enjoy it while I can! I still find things I love despite the cheaper price tag – it’s like thrifting but new items!

What I buy: Couches, glasses, tables, dishes, and rugs. I think thick wool rugs are a win at these stores, they are plush and great quality. These are pricier items that will stay around for at least 10 years in our home. You can check out outlet stores like PB Outlet or RH Outlet for some deals.

For bigger ticket items like a couch from Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, I must sit on the furniture. I will rarely buy a chair without having sat in it before – unless I really really love it and cross my fingers it will be comfortable when it arrives. I look at these big pieces of furniture pieces as investments.

What I sell/donate

can’t overlook that things need to be purged as often as I am bringing items home every week, right? We do have a lot of closets and storage space and drawers almost too many though that I could fill it all and be a hidden hoarder. But I can’t let myself go down that road. Like France Tan said in his Masterclass about fashion, I will apply it to clothing.

To summarize, hold onto and buy items that represent who you want to be. If you have an object that is too modern or too boho and that’s not you anymore, then donate it.

I typically purge a lot of clothes often to a single mom friend and it brings me joy knowing she really uses and appreciates my things. When it comes to housewares, I bring a box to the thrift store before I shop. I think it’s always a great idea to drop off some items before you shop, if you plan on going there anyway and it means you are making some room before you bring more objects into your home.
antiquing, thrifting, and buying new like at home goods, what do I like to buy and where // holding antique floral oil on canvas painting - home and lifestyle blogger

Diana Elizabeth will sometimes pop into a thrift store because she’s bored – she is on the road and thinking a small detour might be fun, and it always is.


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


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