Antique stores and thrift shops are packed full of used items, some of which have value -- and some which have none at all. These stores can be a treasure trove of potential home decor. If you love old things, you probably walk into an antique store and immediately begin thinking of all the decorating possibilities the merchandise presents. But how can you determine which items are a bargain, and which aren't worth your time or money? Ask yourself these questions.
Is it beyond repair?
Unless it is a collectible, things that are broken beyond repair are not a bargain. Sometimes, even collectibles aren't worth anything once they have been damaged. I don't look twice at broken merchandise in stores full of dirty, used things. Do you think you can fix up a particular item and present it in your home? Great. If not, keep looking.
Will I really fix or modify it?
Or will it sit around until it ends up in the trash? Some people do a great job when it comes to fixing up antiques or modernizing them to use as home decor. Others have the intent and the ability, but lack the time or motivation. Do you typically follow through with your intentions, or do antique store finds usually collect dust in your home? If the latter, skip it.
Do I have a place for it?
Even though I am an Interior Design graduate, I rarely buy new decorative pieces for my home, simply because I need to have the perfect place for them. If I find something I truly love, I will make a place for it -- otherwise, I only shop for items that fit into the blank spots in my house. Do you truly have a place in your home for this particular antique? If so, then go ahead and buy it.
Would it fit in with the rest of my decor?
Chances are good that, if you really love a thrift store find, it probably meshes with your style and would work with the rest of your interior decor. However, there are several other considerations to make: size and scale; color or finish; and period style, amongst various others. It should have something in common with some of your other decorations, whether that is color, pattern or something else. If it doesn't work with your decor, maybe it is best left for someone else.
Is it worth the asking price?
Some things are not even worth a dollar or a second look. Is it broken beyond repair? Not worth it. Will you really fix it up and find a place for it in your home? Does it work with the rest of your interior decor? If you answered "no" to at least two of these questions, then it probably isn't worth the asking price. If the price is simply too high, don't be afraid to ask for a discount -- it never hurts to ask.