SOUTHPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Charlotte Smith is fixing up her historic Connecticut home and documenting all of it on her blog ‘At Charlotte’s House.’
“We have five children,” Smith said. “Feeding them is a priority, so I want the house to still be lovely and designed but we don’t have a lot of budget to put towards that.”
That’s why most of the items in her home have been found at thrift stores or flea markets.
“It’s all about the hunt,” Smith explained. “You never know what you’re going to find.”
So if you too want to try your hand at thrifting, Smith has a few tips to help you on your next outing. To start, when shopping, don’t go for the obvious items. Instead, be on the lookout for hidden treasures.
“If I’m at a flea market, I always look for that vendor that has boxes that are overflowing,” Smith said. “I want to dig through the boxes. They haven’t done it so there might be something amazing at the bottom of that box that is mine.”
Smith’s next tip is to think outside the box.
“Imagine an item as a totally different purpose than what it serves,” she explained.
For example, Smith was able to turn a basket into a lighting fixture and the inner workings of a piano into a piece of art.
“Have fun with it,” she said. “There are no rules.”
Smith even turned a headboard into wall décor in her daughter’s bedroom.
“When it comes to interior design, just try it,” Smith said. “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Her third tip when thrifting for your home is to ignore the color of an item.
“Anything can be spray painted and changed,” she explained.
Smith transformed an old cabinet into an ombre lavender masterpiece, and a drab buffet table into a coral statement item.
Her next tip is to look for collections.
“One item might not feel all that special,” she explained. “But when you gather a group of them, all of a sudden you have sort of interesting statements.”
Smith also says that when it comes to buying vintage goods, know the difference between quick fixes and the items you should avoid.
“Furniture, let’s start there,” Smith explained. “If it’s wobbly and a leg is cracked, if there’s any sort of shimmy to it, that’s probably a job for an expert and I would avoid it. But if you don’t like the fabric on the chair, you can change the fabric.”
Lastly, think twice about what you wear while shopping.
“If you intend to negotiate or bargain, you shouldn’t be wearing your fanciest,” Smith explained. “So if you have that Chanel bag that you got from Grandma, leave it at home.”
For more tips from Smith, visit her blog AtCharlottesHouse.com.