Thrift Shop Flips to Furnish Your Home on a Dime

Peter Chambers

Feb 16, 2023

thrift shop flips

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We’ve all seen the trash to treasure shows and read the articles about people taking something they bought for a few dollars and turning it into something truly fabulous. However, unless you have an eye for flipping furniture, the reality can be a lot more difficult. Finding thrift shop flips may feel out of your wheelhouse but may be worth the time and effort if you’re trying to furnish or redecorate your home on a dime. 

Top Thrift Shop Flips for Your Home

The home furnishings industry has seen unprecedented growth in the last two years, combined with supply chain issues. Home Furnishings Business estimates a 21.8% increase in retail furniture sales last year. 

Not only does furniture cost more than in the past, but you may have to wait months to get a new couch or table, depending on where you shop and what the warehouse has in stock. Reusing what’s already been manufactured is also better for the environment, reducing carbon output and protecting precious natural resources.

Some of the top things to buy and flip include higher ticket items or things that take a long time to receive after ordering. 

1. Chairs

Anyone needing chairs may have noticed the limited supply in stores. The cost has risen due to the increased prices of lumber and fabric typically used in both dining room and living room chairs. 

In addition to costing more and having to wait longer to get chairs, you may find the quality isn’t what it once was. Items are often made overseas where the quality standards aren’t always as stringent as buyers might like. 

Fortunately, you can find chairs at thrift stores and flip them with some paint and new fabric. If you choose the right type of paint, you can also give fabric a fresh new look without it getting tacky or crunchy. 

2. Retro Accents

Retro mid-century modern furniture is currently a popular trend in home decor. If you want to avoid a premium price for new vintage-look pieces, you can find the real deal at thrift stores. Look for bold colors and clean, simple lines to spot 1960s and 1970s styles. 

You might go for a nice clock that just needs a good polish or new mechanism on the back. However, you’ll also find Formica tables and other looks distinct to the era. 

3. Tables

Are you in need of a new dining room table but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a set? Thrift stores are an excellent place to purchase a table to go with those chairs you just revamped. 

Look for pieces with good bones. Solid wood is easy to refinish or paint, for example.  You can even use paint to create a barnwood look. Consider topping with tiles and sealing or some other unique treatment to flip a table from old and drab to repurposed and fab. 

4. Couches

Homes and Gardens puts sofa costs in three categories. They mention there are new sofas under $1,000 that are mass produced. The highest costing couches can run in the thousands and are typically custom builds. 

While spending $500 or $600 on a cheap couch might not sound too bad, it also doesn’t sound great. After all, you’ll get what you pay for when it comes to sofa quality. It might be a better use of your funds to buy a secondhand couch and pay someone to reupholster it in a fabric of your choosing. 

You won’t have to wait for an order to arrive, the cost will be less and you’ll have exactly what you want. Older furniture is typically built better.

One thing to be aware of when buying any type of furniture secondhand is the possibility of bed bugs. Make sure you inspect the piece carefully. You may want to consider treating it before it enters your home. Some local pest removal companies treat it with high heat to destroy any possible bugs before you take the couch into your home. 

How to Use Thrift Shop Flips for Your Home

Whether you buy a few unique pieces and repurpose them or you choose to deck your entire house in older pieces, the key is to understand what makes a solid piece of furniture that will last decades. Look at the construction, materials and current condition when deciding. After that, it’s just about finding the furniture you love and getting a great price on it. 

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