9 items (under $20) you should buy at a thrift store for a sophisticated apartment

Let me start by saying I don't live in a luxury high rise. I don't have granite countertops or stainless steel appliances, but I have managed to create a very sophisticated space, in which I live. With a good amount of inspiration, some patience and $20 you can do the very same thing and I am going to teach you how.

When I shop I thrift stores I have a $5 limit on pieces. If there is an item that costs more than $5 and I really want it, I buy it. No need in stressing or making a major life decision about it, but I am careful not to do this often because it defeats the purpose.

So here are 9 things you can actually buy from a thrift store to create a bit of sophistication in your home.


Birdcages won't be screaming from you at the door, but if you look hard enough you will find one tucked away beneath a few frames or perhaps in a back corner. I found this birdcage for $4 a thrift store a few month ago. I blogged about it HERE 
After I found the birdcage, I knew a simple coat of black paint would freshen the piece up quite a bit. I have yet to style it with anything, but as you can see from the above photo, it makes a great statement.


When people think of a sophisticated space they don't consider old books. They equate old books to shabby chic. However, a set of black encyclopedias can really add a lot to a book shelf or a coffee table.

I spotted this image on InstaGram a few months ago. What is being featured here are the bookshelves, but all black books must not be overlooked.  You can easily find black encyclopedia books for around $1 at your local thrift store. If you are fortunate, you may even run into a complete set donated for a really good price as well.

3. Boxes 

You can find unique amazing vintage boxes and trinkets at a thrift store for just a few bucks. Most people who shop thrift stores aren't trying to create a sophisticated home, so most of the time they leave the really good pieces behind. Most of these boxes are around $5 in my area.

Tweet: DESIGN TIP: When traveling to a different city or state, locate the nearest thrift store and pick up one accessory for your apartment. Not only will you have something beautiful in your space, but you will also bring in memories of that special trip. 


Everybody and I mean everybody walks over wallpaper in the thrift store as if it isn't even there. I have seen wallpaper from many top manufacturers. As a matter of fact, if you are following me on INSTAGRAM you will see that I covering my entire apartment in grasscloth wallpaper that I found for $2 a roll!

When you see wallpaper you like, buy it. Wallpaper, just like encyclopedias, are considered old fashion. Yes. A lot of them are outdated, but occasionally you will come across some really great ones like this.
I stumbled across a MAJOR stash of Ralph Lauren wallpaper for $5 a roll and yes I bought it all. Although I have not used this wallpaper in my apartment, I am highly considering saving it for my future home.

Tweet: DESIGN TIP: Having wallpaper professionally installed in a rental space defeats the purpose of buying it at an inexpensive price. Consider using thumb tacks to hang it. 

5. Lamps

Let me warn you about the lure of buying lamps from thrift stores. Although they can be an amazing purchase, stay away from lamps with ugly shades. Most shades will run you approximately $15 plus if you are picking them up at a home store. Combine that price with the cost of the lamp of $10 you will have spent $25 on a lamp that you could have easily bought brand new with a returnable receipt from any department store, unless you just want something with vintage flare in your home.
Lamps are really an easy way to change up the look and feel of your space. If you buy a great transitional lamp you can easily spray paint it any color you want when your mood changes. 


Thrift stores are notorious for having an abundant supply of picture frames. Collecting cheap frames and adding a coat of black or white paint can really stretch you dollar. Since frames come in so many different sizes the possibilities are endless.

Be careful not to display a lot of frames at one time or it can become crowded and looked forced.
Tweet: DESIGN TIP: You don't have to display all of your finds at one time. Pick up a storage bin and store them away and bring out just a few to enjoy. You can switch them out when you want to change up the vibe. You can also bring certain pieces out when you a


If you like to entertain and have friends over for drinks or cocktails you will already know that elegant and sophisticated glassware can be expensive. However, if you are fortunate you can find some really great pieces at the thrift store.

Look at THESE that I picked up a few days ago.

Inexpensive glassware can make for a very sophisticated appearance in your bar area. If you don't drink alcohol a bar area is still a great thing to have for parties and especially for brunch.


Trays can really be the finishing touch to a space and thrift stores sometimes have really great ones you can pick up for just a few dollars. If you find a tray, but you dont like its color, always remember you can change the color with a can of black, white or gray spray paint.

What are some sophisticated items you have found at your thrift store? Do share!
Don't forget you can find me on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST