8 Kitchen Items You Should Always Buy Secondhand, According to Home Stagers

published Mar 1, 2021
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Home stagers have seen it all. They’ve been inside hundreds of homes of all shapes and sizes, helping to spruce up the space with temporary furnishings to attract potential buyers. 

So when it comes to kitchens, home stagers know exactly which utensils, appliances, and decor can withstand the test of time and which items just don’t age well with normal wear and tear. To that end, these professional decorators are uniquely positioned to offer insights into which kitchen items you should always buy secondhand. 

Not only are thrifted items usually more affordable than brand new ones, but they’re also better for the environment since you’re reusing existing products and materials. We asked home stagers to share their go-to kitchen items to look for at thrift shops, estate sales, garage sales, and online marketplaces — here are some of their favorites.

Cutting Boards

Cutting boards are sturdy and made to last, which is why you should always keep an eye out for one — or several — when you’re thrift-shopping. Rustic cutting boards are both useful and can serve as cute decor for your kitchen, says Leah Gomberg a home stager who owns Sweet Life by Design.  

“I love a well-worn wood cutting board, always a good find at a flea market or estate sale,” she says.

Rolling Pins

Think about it: Unless someone was an avid, everyday baker, how often were they really using their rolling pin? So if you spot one — wooden or marble — at a secondhand store, it’s probably got tons of life left in it, Gomberg says. 

Cake Stands

You probably won’t use it every day, so why spend a fortune on a brand new cake stand? Plus, you can usually find some funky vintage cake stands at thrift shops, too, Gomberg says.

“They say everything old is new again — and I agree,” Gomberg says.

Pyrex bowls

There’s nothing more useful than a set of sturdy Pyrex bowls. Whether you find a few vintage bowls or a more modern transparent glass bowl at your local Goodwill, go ahead and grab it as fast as you can. Gomberg says she always keeps an eye out for Pyrex bowls at local rummage sales.

Vintage Stoneware

When they’re downsizing, people often get rid of timeless vintage stoneware — pitchers, jugs, vases, bowls — that you can scoop up for cheap. Use them to hold fruit or other kitchen utensils, Gomberg suggests.


If you’re planning to renovate your kitchen, check out local home improvement thrift stores or recycling centers for kitchen cabinets. People often donate entire sets that are in pristine condition. You can also find them from secondhand dealers, says Lauren Holmes Larry of Zen Staging with Lauren in San Antonio, Texas.  


Yep, you can even buy paint secondhand (and, no, it’s not paint that’s already been used!). Check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and your local home improvement store’s “Oops” paint shelf.

“Lots of top designers in your area get the math wrong and order too much paint. You’ll find name brands, on-trend colors, and even primers on sale on local websites,” Larry says.

Cute Decor

While it’s tempting to pop over to Target and buy the newest Magnolia kitchen decor, you’ll find much more interesting and totally unique pieces when you shop secondhand. You’ll be the only person in your friend group with that Fiestaware mug or that colorful Depression glass vase.

“Look up estate sales in your local area in very nice neighborhoods,” Larry says. “Most of the time you’re bound to find something vintage or classic that never goes out of style. You may even be able to score items for other parts of your home. Go early, make sure you have your ID on you, and be prepared to shop around.”