9 AT Editors Share Their Favorite Secondhand Finds

published Mar 7, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Blair Donovan, Maddie Bilis; Design: Apartment Therapy

Thrifting is like hunting for treasure, and you never know what you might find. For some, it may be a cool, vintage TV-turned-TV-stand from the 60s. For others, it may be a $15 bench that just needs a little facelift. No matter what you’re in the market for, if you find something you want, you should buy it because life is way too short not to be surrounded by things you love — and AT editors get it. Here are some of their favorite secondhand finds.

A Lacquer-Looking Dresser

Blair Donovan, AT’s Shopping Style Editor, bought her bedroom dresser from Dobbin St. Vintage, a vintage furniture store that she follows on Instagram. “I wanted an ’80s style lacquer-looking waterfall dresser,” Blair says. So she messaged the account asking if they had something similar. A few weeks later, they found the perfect one. The owner sent her pictures of the dresser that had available and Blair knew she had to buy it. She says, “I got it for a fraction of the cost than I would have anywhere else.”

A Large Media Cabinet

I am absolutely obsessed with this entryway table I bought from Atlanta Used Furniture. While store-bought furniture seems more budget-friendly, a lot of newer “wood” tables are cheaply made and don’t last long. I love how big and well-made this table is, and how fun it is to style. While I have no idea how old this table is or who owned it before me, it was in perfect condition when I bought it and I couldn’t be happier. I feel like it’ll last a lifetime.

Credit: Erin Derby

A Big Collection of Art

If you’ve seen the house tour for Danielle Blundell, AT’s Executive Home Director, then you know that she’s got great style and one very cool art collection. Did you know that lots of her art pieces have come from her family? “A lot of the art in my home is from my grandmother’s house,” Danielle says. “And a great number is from godmother and godfather.” The picture of zebras, for example, is from when her godfather went to Kenya. The flowers piece if from her grandmother’s home, and the painting of the old man is from a trip to Vietnam.

Credit: Megan Baker

A Pair of ’50s Teak Chairs

Megan Baker, AT’s Home Projects Director, and her fiancé live in a 60-year-old home in Madison, Wisconsin, that they’re slowly (and beautifully) making their own. “Our house was built in 1956, and I love being able to fill it with pieces from that era — those things feel at home here,” she says. One of Megan’s latest, and favorite, finds is a pair of 1950s teak chairs that she bought an estate sale in her neighborhood. Both chairs came without cushions, so Megan had a local upholsterer make new ones in this pretty mossy color. Now, this is one of her favorite reading spots in their home, especially since they added the lamp (which is also, you guessed it, vintage).

Credit: Maddie Bilis

A Desktop Date Keeper

When you’re out thrifting, it’s easy to find yourself buying cool clothing and large pieces of furniture. What about the little tchotchkes, art, records you walk by along the way? For Madeline Bilis, AT’s Real Estate Editor, this little date-keeper she got when she was in college is her favorite secondhand find, and it’s better than a store-bought calendar. “It can move numbers for days of the week,” She says. “I always keep it on my desk.”

A Giant Bird Painting

If you can expect anyone from AT to have cool stuff in their house, it’s the House Tours Director, Adrienne Breaux. Her colorful home in New Orleans is full of books, art, and vintage finds. One of the largest pieces of art in her home also happens to be her favorite. “This amazingly giant bird painting has become the centerpiece of my zoom background, color palette starter, the first start of my bird collection!” Adrienne says. The best part? She got it for just $50.

A Vintage Pair of Birkenstocks

When you’re thrifting, and you find the perfect pair of shoes, you 100 percent have to buy them. Sarah Everett, AT’s Staff Writer, found a vintage pair of Birkenstocks in an antique store years ago that were just her size, so she couldn’t leave them behind. “I don’t know why there was this random pair of shoes, but they were $10 and they fit so well,” Sarah says. Not only does she still have them, but also intends to wear them until she literally can’t. She says, “They’re definitely crumbling, but I still won’t get rid of them.”

Credit: Samara Vise

A Faux Rattan Dresser

Tara Bellucci, AT’s News and Culture Director, lives in a beautifully colorful Boston rental. Bellucci’s favorite secondhand find is a vintage faux rattan dresser from a thrift shop in Boston called Boomerangs. Tara says, “I was poor, but I told myself that I needed to drop $250 on this.” While it’s big and heavy, Tara was so committed to this dresser when she found it that she paid for a Zipcar to get it home and called a friend to help her get it up the stairs. “It’s the most annoying thing to move,” she says, but it was absolutely worth it.

A Piece of Wood Made Into a Table

Sometimes, it’s the most unexpected items that end up adding the greatest value to your home. For Nicoletta Richardson, AT’s former Entertainment Editor, it’s this coffee table in her living room. Her husband Sam’s grandpa found an old, worn piece of wood at a thrift shop years ago that he decided to bring home with him. “He didn’t know what it was, but it was from a WWII cargo ship,” Nicoletta says. So one day, her husband turned it into a coffee table that can stay in their family for years.

This post is part of our Thrifting Package, a celebration of all things secondhand. Head over here to read more about everything from how to restore a thrifted item to the best thrift shops in the U.S.