I Thrifted Most of My Bar Decor — These Are My 7 Favorite Finds

published Jun 17, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
photo of bar set up
Credit: Photos:Jessie Quinn; Design: Apartment Therapy

When I walk into my home, I want it to have a more lived-in feel with lots of personality. To achieve this, I source a lot of my home decor from thrift stores and antique malls. Then, I carefully blend them with some newer items from Anthropologie, Wayfair, and Target — plus all the knickknacks that I tend to accumulate whenever I travel — to create an eclectic-meets-modern style. You’ll find evidence of this in every corner of my 1960s-era apartment, but especially the bar, which is home to some of my favorite thrift finds. 

Living in an older Los Angeles space means I won the storage lottery, including a built-in next to my fireplace that’s perfect for a bar. Over the last couple of years, I’ve kept an eye out for pieces that can make this corner feel functional yet unique, much like my personal style. Whether you have a bar cart or wet bar, or you DIY’d a bar area, it’s so easy to thrift stylish, budget-friendly, and even one-of-a-kind accessories for your own home, too. Below, I broke down my favorite vintage bar decor and how to fully stock a bar with secondhand items. 

Cocktail Shakers 

Vintage cocktail shakers add a practical-yet-decorative touch to your space. My bar has a lot of golden tones, so I found a brass cocktail shaker to match at the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall in Palm Springs. It’s shaped like a pineapple as a nod to my grandpa, who loved Hawaii and Mai Tai cocktails. 

Credit: Jessie Quinn

Vintage Glassware 

When it came to my glassware, I wanted to create a balance of old and new. I sourced most of my highball, wine, and tumbler glasses from Target, my Champagne flutes at Z Gallerie, and my coupe glasses at HomeGoods. Then, I bought a set of Libbey Glass Company Country Garden Amber Cooler Glasses from Gem Finds Vintage (I also have the matching pitcher, which I sometimes use as a flower vase) and sprinkled them in for a more diverse feel.  

If you love the look of colored glassware or want to curate a fully vintage display, thrift stores and antique malls are filled with stunning styles. I’ve also found entire sets of restaurant-style margarita glasses at Goodwill. 

Decanters 

Decanters are another fun way to dress up your bar. I don’t use mine functionally, but added a few to my shelves to offset all of the glasses. My green vintage decanter came from a vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and the smaller opaque glass bottle with the heart stopper was a find from Revivals in Palm Springs (my favorite thrift store). 

Antique Bottle Openers

Even though they’re small, antique bottle openers can instantly add a fun, personalized touch to your bar — whether upright leaning against a liquor bottle or lying down flat. I thrifted a super-heavy brass golf club bottle opener, but if you want something just as unique and don’t have the time to hunt for it, I recommend browsing Etsy. There are so many quirky options that double as decor, like this dolphin, this bird, and this pink cowboy boot.

Ice Bucket 

Similar to decanters, ice buckets are another surefire way to add style to your bar space. Mine was a gift from my parents, and while I’m not sure where it came from, it has a vintage feel to it that blends well with my other decor. You’ll likely be able to find some simple styles at local thrift stores, but I’ve discovered that antique malls are the best places to shop for designs from various eras (like this mid-century brass ice bucket and this West Bend penguin ice bucket).  

Bar Tools 

Don’t pass up bar tools while you’re thrifting, too. I have something similar to this brass set from Target, but you can also find some cool vintage ones from local antique malls, flea markets, and even some vintage stores. Know that they don’t all have to match, either — especially if you’ve collected individual pieces over time.

Credit: Jessie Quinn

Bar Decor 

For the most part, I let my glassware steal the show, but I have a few vintage decor pieces that tie everything together — and my favorite is my old-school gumball machine. I use it to display fun seasonal decor, like candy corn in October, mini pine cones in November, and glass ornaments in December. I’m not a big wine drinker, but it would store corks perfectly, too. 

I also have a thrifted ceramic Scotch barrel that was once a decorative bottle, but I use it as a vase for paper flowers. After picking it up from a local Goodwill, I did some research online and found that it comes in port, gin, rum, and sherry. They’d look so cute clustered together on a shelf with dried wildflowers! Next, I want to find some pretty vintage bottle labels.

Risers and Baskets 

Because vintage barware has a naturally weathered look, it can sometimes feel like clutter — especially with a fully stocked bar. When I first started decorating my bar area, I struggled with the tabletop area because it didn’t feel as intentionally styled as my shelves. To remedy this, I found a shallow basket (I bought mine new from Target, but you could totally thrift one) to anchor everything I had on the counter. If your space allows it, you can also use wooden risers, a wicker tray, or even a cake stand