Do you have a thing for big old grandfather clocks or restored chests of drawers in solid wood? Well, you are not alone!
Locked up in our homes during the pandemic, many of us picked up new hobbies and tried out new things to cope with the gloom, stress, and boredom. Along with the viral Dalgona coffee trends and the banana bread challenges, another trend that got popular was that of redecorating the house, especially with second-hand and vintage gems.
While thrift is commonly associated with clothing and accessories, it has been a long-standing favourite with collectors of antiques and connoisseurs of heritage decor. Thrift shopping for furniture might sound like a foreign concept or something that’s ‘cheap’, but as you will discover, it is creative, earth-friendly, cost-effective, and a whole lot of fun!
Thrift shopping for furniture might sound like a foreign concept or something that’s ‘cheap’, but as you will discover, it is creative, earth-friendly, cost-effective, and a whole lot of fun!
Home Makeover With Thrifting
Don’t we love our Bollywood! Even those of us who rarely watch movies tend to identify with an iconic song or dialogue the moment we hear it! While movies entertain, they also influence and inspire people to recreate fashion looks, copy dance moves, and more. One such iconic source of inspiration for many was ‘Wake Up Sid!’- a refreshing, coming-of-age tale that resonated with an entire generation.
There are many heartwarming moments in the movie, but one of the things that struck a chord with many was the female protagonist Aisha’s home – a tiny dilapidated apartment converted into a beautiful home with a little help from her friends and charming thrift furniture! It inspired many to recreate her dream home, and the negative perceptions around second-hand furniture started changing, especially amongst the youth.
Ten years and a pandemic later, this is a trend that is here to stay!
Source: Dharma Productions
If you’re planning a makeover for your home, shifting into a new one, or even building a new workspace, opting for thrift furniture over new pieces is both, a pocket and a planet-friendly option. Let’s take a look at some of the basics of choosing thrift decor for your spaces.
- List And Plan Your Requirements
Overconsumption of any kind is wasteful. So, before you start scouting for second-hand furniture, know your requirements. It is a good idea to measure the space and dimensions needed, so you can pick furniture that will fit seamlessly in your spaces.
Secondly, take stock of the kind of furniture you need, based on your lifestyle and preferred aesthetic. For instance, if you lead a minimal life, you may not need a large pre-owned dresser just because it’s a great deal. Rather, a smaller chest of drawers may just suffice and save you some space around the house. This attention to detail can go a long way in optimising your budget too.
Similarly, if your vibe is more ethnic or vintage chic, you can opt for antique furniture or classic mirrors and beds from specific thrift shops that deal in such pieces. Usually, older furniture is also made of sturdier wood and can last you generations!
- Take A Fresh Look At What You Own
Thrifting is sustainable, but there’s nothing more eco-friendly than making the best of what you already own. So, before you get set to go out and shop, review the things you currently own – you would be surprised to discover how many of them are reusable and can be repurposed.
Often, a simple job of refurbishing old furniture can do the trick and make your home look as good as new! It also allows you to be creative. For example, old, vintage trunks look great when repainted and used as extra seating or storage spaces. You can also add a glass cover to these and turn them into coffee tables for your cozy nooks and corners!
Another trick that we love and recommend is to reuse old table-tops as bookshelves or old shoe racks to display your plants. If you enjoy getting creative with your pre-owned things, you can also go ahead and upcycle some of your old sarees and bed covers, turning them into new cushion cases and lampshade covers!
- Spread The Word
Before you begin hunting for thrift markets and stores in your city, let your friends and family know that you’re open to decorating with pre-owned furniture. This way, if someone has something you need, you can always try a furniture exchange or simply choose to take it off their hands! Similarly, if you’re transitioning and have some pieces to spare, passing them down to a friend is a great way of reducing your waste too!
Thrifting from within your peer groups is also a great way of encouraging sustainable practices amongst those around you. Besides, with this, you can also be assured of quality, as your sources are reliable, trustworthy, and well-known to you.
- Do Your Research:
Once you have clarity on what you need to start building that dream home, start researching the different marketplaces for thrift décor, both online and offline. Not every source may have what you need, so it is always a good idea to explore multiple options before you make a purchase.
For example, OLX and eBay are popular online portals to buy and sell pre-owned pieces. They often have listings of both antique as well as lesser-used contemporary furniture.
Visits to the popular thrift bazaars dealing in vintage goods are often a rewarding experience too. While Chor Bazaar is a popular Mumbai favourite, almost every Indian city has its equivalent. The Ravivari market in Ahmedabad, located at the Sabarmati riverfront, is famous for its vast range of pre-loved, as well as vintage products, while Jew Town in Kochi is known for one-of-a-kind antiques and trinkets And Amar Colony furniture market in Delhi is a treasure trove of unique pieces that can even be customised.
Another helpful suggestion is to look for resources in sustainability groups such as online thrift forums or zero-waste WhatsApp groups. Since these groups are full of like-minded enthusiasts, you can expect to find strong leads that are usually reliable.
- Get Creative With Your Style
Now, for the most fun part – Customisation! Get experimental with your thrifted pieces by personalising them to suit your aesthetic and personality. You could repaint them to match your home’s colours or even re-invent the look of certain pieces with the help of a skilled, local carpenter.
Take a creative cue from the classic Audrey Hepburn movie – Breakfast at Tiffany’s! The iconic protagonist Holly’s apartment had a quirky seating arrangement – a bathtub converted into an open couch, that became quite a rage back in the day.
Thrift furniture opens up opportunities for you to be creative and individualistic. You can put together an interesting look with unique, eclectic pieces that make a style statement and are conversation starters. And one of those conversations can be about how you are reducing the impact on the planet by extending the lifecycle of items.
While these basics are a good start, here are a few more dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Avoid buying pre-owned bed linen or upholstery. Opting for fresh sheets and covers is always a more hygienic option and a worthy investment for your home.
- While buying heavy furniture, always go prepared with the transportation, budget, size limitations, etc. sorted out to make the process efficient and smooth.
- Be careful about thrifting for baby products. While you can always reuse well-maintained clothes, an age-old practice in Indian homes, as well as furniture like car seats, strollers, and baby cots, avoid purchasing pre-owned pillows, covers, and blankets for your baby for reasons of hygiene.
- Lastly, be ethical with your listings. If you’re planning a furniture exchange or listing down your old pieces for sale, ensure that these are still in good condition for their new owner to use.
Amar Colony, Delhi (Source: So.city)
Source: Film And Furniture
Sustainability, upcycling, and product lifecycle might seem like new-age ideas, but the fact is that thrift has always been a part of our culture and lifestyle. After all, don’t we all have that one beloved vintage bed or heritage dresser passed down over generations?
The beauty of investing in thrift isn’t limited to just its low-impact benefits. Every pre-owned piece carries a story, a life of its own. In that sense, to shop thrift also means becoming a part of this story. It’s almost poetic, right?