Thrifting at Christmas

By Kate Riley December 17, 2010

I had big plans yesterday, big plans to get a lot done.  I kinda sort of got a few things done.  Presents from Santa for the kids?  Thank you Toys ‘R Us.  Party ware?  Check.  Outdoor canopy rented for overflow because there’s a storm a comin’ and I just counted 80 on the RSVP list and need extra square footage pronto?  Check.  And gulp. 

Amidst the party preparations, I made a huge mistake.  No wait, not a mistake, a strategic detour.  Between retail stores, I conveniently found myself in the parking lot of the local thrift store.  It’s been over three weeks, how could I resist?

I spotted some fab tufted velvet chairs in shockingly good shape.  I especially love the office chair to the left.  Recovered in peacock blue, it would look so much like Emily’s

tufted chairs

This headboard rocked my world.  Oh how lovely it would be refinished in gray, black or cream.  Perhaps a touch of glaze in the crevices?  Gorgeous. 

headboard 2


So many perfect end tables needing just a little love and affection a.k.a stain or primer and paint.



This classic shape just needs freshened.  Can you see it in a bold color? 

white dresser


There were a plethora of dressers and sideboards today.  Oh the potential!



Whenever I hear the word ‘plethora’, I think of when El Guapo says: “Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?”  1000 points if you can name that movie.  

I just had to have this chair. 

chair before


I’m thinking silver leaf on these legs then reupholstering the entire chair in pale velvet, and using tack strips to finish the back.  This chair is the perfect candidate for that fun trick.  You like it? 

I perused all sorts of Christmas stuff too, and as always, it’s a treasure hunt.   You thrifters know, at these stores you have your mix of The Good . . .

good stuff


with The Bad and The Ugly.




I found a few festive things all for a dollar.  This peacock striped ornament and a dozen sweet placecard holders, perfect for that Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery dinner party I’m thinking about. 

Speaking of the deep teal colors on the tree, check out this post where the lovely Taylor created a party outfit from my Christmas tree, plus a few more outfits from other bloggers’ trees.  Now why couldn’t I think of that? 

ornament bells


I couldn’t resist this sleigh that looks so much fresher after a coat of white spray paint.

sleigh before and after

I think I’ll line it with a few cloth napkins, then fill it with Christmas cookies for the party, instead of the ornaments.  Fun, right?

sleigh from side


And now I do believe I’m done.  I truly believe that will be the last ‘thrift store’ post of 2010.  No wait, that will be the last thrift store post of the second week of December of 2010.  Yep, that’s a promise I can keep.


Hey, if you’re shopping for gifts today, don’t forget so many retailers are offering Free Shipping (two of my favorite words) so check out Free Shipping Day to see all the retailers participating. 

Happy shopping and holiday weekend friends! 

Ho Ho Ho!




  1. Kate~

    OMG….love all the items @ the thrift store….I WISH we had a thrift store like that around us. I could use SO MANY of those items in my home!!! Looks like a lot of new projects for the New Year!

    ~Jenna, SAS Interiors

  2. I have recently started trying to make the most of my dollar, and came across your site. I love it! I do have a question about purchasing furniture from a thrift store. I can’t seem to get over the obstacle of furniture pieces such as upholstered chairs (anything with cushioning I suppose) is “dirty”. I don’t have a problem with things such as dressers, shelves etc..anything I can make clean w/ a damp cloth, but when it comes to chairs and such, I can’t just help but thing about the dust mites and whatever may have accumulated during the previous owner’s possession.

  3. Seriously!! What an awesome thrift store you have around!! I can’t find half of the things you show in your pictures where I live! A mi tambien me encanta la pelicula de Los Tres Amigos!!

  4. The envy i have over your thrift store is shameful!! That headboard — i want to reach through the screen and grab it for my own. Nice to treat yourself to your indulgences during the madness, isn’t it? Have a fantastic party — wish I could come and see it all :)

  5. Oh how I wish our thrift stores had just half of the goods you find. Three weeks since your last visit? Your strategic detour was well deserved. ;)

  6. Oh I want one of those buffets! I have the perfect spot! That chair will be adorable when you are through. Seems like you had an excellent trip to the thrift store.

  7. My husbad would have been ALL OVEr whatever the tacky Oakland Raiders item was. It would look great with all the Raiders ornaments & snowglobe that we’re rocking in the living room :-)

  8. Did you only buy the one chair or some of the other furniture too? Inquiring minds want to know! What a great thrift store!

  9. Why, oh, why do my thrift store not EVER look like or carry furniture like these?? Okay. Maybe once or twice have I seen a decent headboard. But definitely no end tables. And no dresser worth buying. And they are marked a little high, IMO.

  10. I can’t believe that there are so many great things available at your thrift store, the ones in my area have slim pickin’s at this time of year.

    Have a great time at your party!

  11. Jefe: A what?
    El Guapo: A *plethora*.
    Jefe: Oh yes, you have a plethora.
    El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
    Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
    El Guapo: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.
    Jefe: Forgive me, El Guapo. I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?

    Looove that movie!

    I wish my thrift store had nice furniture like that and not outrageously priced

  12. I love all of your finds. you inspire me. I went out on a search for a chair that i could paint and recover for my daughters room but i had no luck.
    I haven’t found any thrift stores like yours, as a matter of fact i haven’t found any that have I’m in raleigh, NC. Anyone have any suggestions? we moved this summer so maybe i just haven’t found them yet.

  13. You struck gold my dear. What a great thrift store! That was a fab headboard! You made me want to go check out some today.
    Have a Merry Christmas.

  14. What great finds in your thrift store. The ones near me…not so much. Too bad your thrift store is across the country from me.

  15. Such great finds! What an awesome thrift store to have around!

    And I want to hear more about your murder mystery dinner party! I’ve been wanting to have one of those forever, but it’s hard to find couples with a guy who’d be up for it… More of my friends need to get married!

  16. 1. One of the best movies EVER!
    2. Your thrift stores are WAAAAAYYYYY better than mine!
    3. Your Christmas decor is so spectacular, I can’t stand it!

  17. I WANT your thrift store!!! Never ever have I seen such nice furniture at one in the entire state of Oklahoma. And I have looked in most towns I have traveled through. Sooooo jealous!

  18. If there was a thrifty store of that caliber around here I would be in trouble. I have to hunt high and low and use my imagination to find anythihg. The furniture you came across is phenomenal. Are the prices reasonable or are they similar to what you would pay in an antique store?

  19. So funny, but I was just thinking today that I had not been thrifting in several weeks and I have been dying to go. Think I may make a couple of “detours” this weekend too :)

  20. “Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.” Love it!

    But what I really love, are all those pretty pieces! I wish we had a good thrift store like that in AZ. I have a rough time finding ones like that!

  21. That is a fantastic looking thrift store!!! Mine leans more toward the stuff in your “ugly” pictures, but sometimes I find some gems.

  22. I am so envious of your thrift store! I don’t think we have anything like that around here. The end tables and sideboards get me every time.

  23. I wish we had thrift stores like a lot of you mention on blogs. Our usually only carry clothing, books & a few household items … especially the Goodwill Stores!

  24. When my son was 2 yrs old. The 3 Amigos was his fav movie. He would watch it over and over! One Sunday am in church, he was on the pew next to me..stood up and just as the pastor took a breath….he shouted “You scum sucking pig, you son of a motherless goat”! Yeah…..we quit that church not too long after that! lol (for other reasons, but still…….). Love your thrift stores. We dont have any that come near that quality where I live!

  25. UUUGGGGHHHHHH DROOL!!!!!! I ADORE Thrifting! I don’t think I’ll ever buy another peice of new furniture as long as I live.! I’m faving this!!!

  26. I so would have bought that chair too. I can’t wait to see what you will do with it.

    I am so admiring your decor. Love the colors. Our family has decided no decor this year (yes, really I wrote a post about it today) and we are still merry and bright.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  27. I love reading your blog and seeing all the wonderful ideas or transformations. I am amazed at what a fresh coat of white paint will do. I am finding a sleigh!! So cute. :)

  28. Ha, ha, the “infamous” Three Amigos!

    Hey people, can you imagine how good people’s houses look in Kate’s town if this is what shows up in their thirft stores? Chew on that and weep.

  29. Happy Jealous…that’s what I am. Happy for you that you have rediculously amazing thrift stores where you are that have all these AMAzing finds, but jealous because here in Oklahoma, we seem to lack in the thrift store jack-pot!
    Merry Christmas!

  30. haha!! Hubby and I say “plethora” all the time just because of that “Three Amigos” line.

  31. I hate being gone and then come back and have tons to catch up on. A bright spot though…your blog. The movie is “The Three Amigos”. LOVE IT!!! Anyway, I did a thrift run yesterday and got a few things myself for holiday decorating. Love hunting like that. I wish my store had some of that furniture yours had. I would def. had left with the headboard and the one dresser. Is it sad that spraypaint and other peoples tossed items make me happy? lol

  32. THE THREE AMIGOS!! I love that word Plethora! I use it all the time and always think of that movie and repeat the lines when I have friends who don’t know that word. ;o)

  33. Your thrift store is amazing. It puts many of our furniture stores to shame around these parts! The amazing potential of all of those dressers…..*sigh*.
    ANd thanks for the giggle….Three Amigos – I need to see that again soo ;)
    Happy Friday!!
    XOX – “Dusty Bottoms”

  34. Thanks SO much for the shout-out Kate!!! You just boosted my holiday cheer ten-fold! I hope you’ll enter my giftcard giveaway! One day left!

    Taylor (

  35. Okay so where is this fabulous thrift store…may need to take a road trip!! We are renovating our home and am looking for some great pieces like the ones you posted! Beautiful beautiful pieces! good luck with your party!

  36. Your sleigh is super adorable and I can’t wait to scope out what you will be doing with that chair. Merry Christmas!

  37. Ditto on the thrift store jealousy. I live in the North Bay area and haven’t stumbled upon these yet….are you willing to share?

  38. Oh my, I just bought a chair just like the one you got at a barn sale! Supposedly it’s French, either way I love it and it’s perfect in my new me cave!

  39. i’m looking for a reading chair EXACTLY like that gray tufted one!!! if only i didn’t live on the other side of the country :'(

  40. Kate, you make me laugh!! I’ve been driving past my usual thrift stores for weeks now and I’m trying to be good. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who can’t resist the temptation. Thanks for the giggle and good luck with your party. Merry Christmas!! P.S. I just love that sleigh. I wonder if my local thrift store has one for me?? (*grin*)

  41. Love love love the sleigh. I have one similar that is looking for some color! And the movie is “When Harry met Sally.” Score!!

  42. First off, the movie is The Three Amigos! Yessssssss! Love that movie!

    Love the awesome finds and wish my local thrift store had awesome dressers like that! We need a dresser, but I’m over the store bought stuff. I want to do something cool with an oldie but goodie, and it will probably be much better made than the crap I’ve been finding.

    And OH MY GOSH! A Murder Mystery Valentine’s Day Party?!?! How awesome!!!


    Potential furniture refurb and a Steve Martin/Chevy Chase/Martin Short reference spells a good post to me. Keep up the good work!

  44. I LOVE the three amigos!! its probably one of my favorite movies! and how did you manage to resist the temptation of such a heavily laden thrift store?!

  45. FABULOUS! That sleigh is adorable in white. I can’t wait to see what you do with the chair! I absolutely love reading your blog–most of the time I catch up on my favorite blogs on the weekends, but I make sure to check out yours every day.

  46. Ha, I was just thinking yesterday that I had a plethora of ornaments and immediately thought of El Guapo and laughed that I was such a dork. I LOVE those dressers and sideboards; they actually made me gasp. And of course, love the Three Amigos!

  47. You find the best things at your thrift store! And that chair that you picked up, I totally see it with solver legs;-)

    Have a great weekend girl!

  48. That Oakland Raiders wreath made me seriously laugh. And I love The Three Amigos – it’s one of my favorites. 1000 points to YOU for quoting it! :)

    I do go thrifting around the holidays. I actually have bought some thrifted gifts – although it was at a little shop run by the sweetest woman ever – and not a regular thrift store. I got my friend a vintage donut cutter (like an old biscuit cutter with an added smaller hole in the center) and some measuring spoons and cups. Seems like new measuring sets never come with all the “between” sizes like they used to.

    That headboard is gorgeous! I absolutely hate my bed and am on the lookout for something with pretty lines like that.

  49. The movie is…. The Three Amigos!!! Boom! Got 100 points! I think that movie is absolutely hilarious! You get 1000 points just for posting a quote from it! ha ha! I love the potential that you see in items! It’s very inspiring!

  50. Dang I just realized/read someone else gave you 1000 points for quoting the movie! Guess you got a lot of points today, and I guess I’m not very original! ha ha! :)

  51. Three Amigos! Ha ha! What’s so funny is that I used that word *just* today and thought the *very* same thing – that I always think of that movie when I use that word. Thanks for the laugh. :-)

  52. Ok where is that thrift store because I am not finding items like that at mine in the East Bay?!?!

  53. Hi Paige!
    I agree, I think most of the upholstered stuff is pretty dirty too, so I typically replace the foam. One time I bought a Drexel Heritage sofa that came from an estate sale. It still sits in my house, but I had that professionally cleaned. 95% of all of the other rejects are not appealing for the reasons you mentioned! That’s another reason why I’m drawn to the wood pieces.

  54. I love your thrift store posts!! All of these items have amazing potential, and I can’t wait to see your “new” chair transformed!

  55. The dresser on the right? It originally had a lyre-shaped mirror on top. We have one upstairs in my daughter’s room. We rescued it from my in-law’s farmhouse. Well, we had to ask for it after my BIL went up there and took tons of stuff. I still wonder why he thought he could go up there and take anything? There are a few pieces in their home that I see and wonder if those were up there also! Anyway, it’s a great piece…I believe circa 1920’s.

  56. You make me giddy with ideas for my own home. If that was your reasoning for this blog then…done and done! I LOVE THIS BLOG!

  57. I love the tufted velvet chairs but I worry about the expense of getting them reupholstered. (Someone quoted me $700 for an armchair!) Is it feasible to DIY it?

  58. Three Amigos! I do believe this is the second time I’ve gotten one of your quotes (French Kiss I think was previous). 2000 points for me. You have a beautiful home and a fantastic eye. I love getting inspired by your work. Kuddos and Happy Christmas.

  59. hahahahaha THREE AMIGOS as it’s already been said. I always associate that movie with the word “plethora”.. and for the longest time I remembered the line as being a plethora of sweaters not a plethora of pinatas. I even posted that on facebook last week, but no one else was as amused as I was :)

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