This information is provided strictly based on my own experiences. If you know of a better deal somewhere else, I would love to get your feedback so I can add it to my list. If there is something that is not included on my list and you have information for me, please send me an email and I’d be happy to include it. The items listed are items that I find myself looking for on more than just one occasion, so knowing the best deal saves time and money.
- Mirrors – Ross is the place to buy mirrors. I’ve seen nice looking, quality mirrors 30×24 for only $14.99. I’ve even seen fairly large ones for $30.00. You just can’t beat their prices. I’ve shopped at Wal-Mart before for a mirror and was disappointed when I later found out that the mirror itself was not a glass mirror but some sort of plastic. It still served my purposes but I think you get better quality for the price at Ross. I also like the way their mirrors look compared to other discount places I’ve shopped.
- Pictures – I like Ross for these as well, most of the time. They can be tricky to find if your looking for something specific as their selection is pretty random, but if you look regularly you can find some great things for a good price. I also think Home Goods has some nice deals on good art.Tuesday Mornings is hit and miss as their selection varies but my Sister in Law got a huge beautiful picture to hang over her couch for only $25.
- Clocks – If you’re looking for a nice large working clock for decor purposes (or even a small one), Ross has some really nice looking, sizeable clocks. I purchased mine for only $15. The smaller clocks were only about $7. Not only does it look good but it works great too.
- Picture Frames – I almost always get all of my picture frames from thrift stores or Ikea. My favorite thrift store is Salvation Army, but for pictures, I find that my local Goodwill has a better selection. You have to be careful with Goodwill though. At least the one near my house seems outrageously priced in some areas. I go to Goodwill on their half off days, and get there right when they open so I have first pick of their frames. With half off their frames you can find an awesome assortment of picture frames. If I like the look of a frame but it’s not the right color, I usually paint it myself. I have white paint on hand for this reason. Not only do you get a good price on picture frames this way, but you also create a much more interesting collage of frames. Most people know already about Ikea‘s $2 frames. These are excellent to work in with your other thrift store frames. Dollar Tree also has a few reasonable looking frames. You have to sort through their shelves but for $1, you can’t go wrong.
- Decorative pieces – For candle holders, pottery, vases and other various decorative items I frequently cruise my local Salvation Army. Their prices are amazing, and people are always cycling through their decorations and have no place to store old items so they donate them. I don’t think I’ve purchased anything from a retail store to decorate my shelves in years (other than the Dollar Tree). The thing I like the most is that you can find some truly original pieces that no one else is going to have. You can also buy items to use for DIY projects. So, going back to the Dollar Tree, they also have some great things. I’ve found some really cool looking branches/sticks that I’m currently using next to my candleplace in our living room. During the holidays they have some really pretty ornaments too that can be incorporated into DIY projects and decor. If you’re looking for nice glass candle holders, they have some good looking ones as well as some vases. I like to stop by and browse every week or so, just to see what new things they have in stock.
- Candles – I know some people can be picky about their candles, but I generally buy my pillar candles from the Dollar Tree since they carry a nice vanilla scented candle. If you just need a few pillar candles around the house to add some extra warmth and a nice mild scent, definitely take a look at their selection.
- Furniture – I like to start at the Salvation Army, just to see what they have. Now that painted furniture is in style, there are several pieces you can throw a few coats of paint on and they look really cute. I always look at the details of the furniture piece regardless of how ugly the wood or hardware might be. If you can see past that and visualize the piece in a different color with different knobs/hardware then you can imagine what it could become. I recently found an adorable side table with beautiful woodwork detail, solid wood, but it had a terrible finish on it and was very dirty. Because a typical person wouldn’t be able to see past the obvious, it was marked down to $30. I’m still working on painting it, but I can’t wait to add it to my living room when it’s done. I’ll post pictures soon. I have to advise against buying furniture at Goodwill, unless it’s on their half price sale day. I think they overprice their furniture. But that has been my experience. Ikea is also a great place for furniture, but if you are looking for some more original pieces I would definitely start at a thrift store. We purchased our living room couches off of Craigslist. We were able to get a great deal on an entire living room set that was only gently used. I’m not a big fan of Craigslist as a general rule because I feel like people often charge much more than their used furniture is worth. However, if you keep your eye out, you can still find some great deals.
- Shelving – I have purchased all my shelves from Ikea since they moved to the Denver area a couple years ago. You just can’t beat the price for the amount of shelf that you get. I have their shelves in my dining room to display our dishes, and I have them in our family room for family pictures. Their shelves are very simple so if you’re wanting something with more detail, this isn’t the place to get them, but if you’re looking for strong shelves that provide lots of space, these are the best. I purchased the shelves in my dining room for only $14.99/each. The huge ones I have in our family room were only $19.99/each and they’re about 6′ long.
- Lanterns – These have been big for awhile now, and the good thing about them being so popular is that you can usually find them at thrift stores. I’ve seen them at both the Goodwill and Salvation Army. By now you know my opinion of Goodwill so I don’t think I need to be redundant here. Ikea also has some awesome deals. Their huge lanterns are only $15. I’ve seen lanterns much smaller at Target for $30. Ikea also has varying sizes and styles of lanterns that are all reasonably priced. They make great decorations and there are so many ways to display them and use them.