Thrill of the Hunt- How to Score Big with Second Hand

I’ve been a collector of things all my life. The first time I ever visited a thrift store in the 7th grade, I was immediately hooked.  The thrill of finding a bargain that one no longer wanted both excited me and granted the satisfaction that digging for a diamond in the rough was fun and economical.

Fifteen years later and I’m still on the prowl for the newest addition for my home. Whether it’s a brass candle holder at goodwill or a shoushak rug scored at an estate sale, my most beloved pieces are from estate sales, thrift stores, yard sales, and sweet job perks. Below are my top tips for finding that gorgeous conversation piece your home is begging you for.

Paige’s Helpful Hints


Early Bird gets the Worm. I’m not joking. If there’s an estate sale I’ve been eyeing, I’m one of the first in line Saturday morning at 7:30 (Darn my competitive nature!)


The exception to tip 1 is the last day of the estate sale, arrive near the end. Most sales slash their prices significantly, you can score a sweet deal at this point!

I scored this gorgeous Italian cabbage chinaware at a local Belle Meade Estate sale, perfect for my spring and summer dinner parties


Never Hurts to Ask! If you like a piece but don’t like the sticker price, march up the nearest worker and ask if the price can be reduced. More times that not, it can! Sometimes I’ll gather a group of items I want and offer a bundle deal, which is also an effective strategy.

I discovered two of these 70s hide ottomans at a Louisville antique store. The seller was at the booth and was able to haggle them down to almost half price. They now live happily on either side of my cocktail table

This is another one of my favorite finds! I found this antique chinoiserie cocktail table at a Louisville antique store, complete with gold leaf and mother of pearl inlay. Its large scale allows plenty of room for accessories.


Don’t be afraid to visit your local furniture thrift stores. Look for upholstered pieces with good bones; a new finish and fabric can completely transform a dated piece into your favorite piece.

I bought this brass end table for $20 at my local thrift store. With a little dusting and glass cleaner it sits proudly in my mom’s living room.


Art, Art, Art. I could’ve said it a fourth time, the most fun pieces of art I own are my thrift finds and estate sale finds. Check out some of the quirky finds I’ve scored for myself and clients over the years.

    These are one of my favorite estate sale finds of all time! I found these vintage hand painted ceramic cats at a Brentwood estate sale. These would be perfect flanking a fireplace. My two real cats love to sit by them to pay respect.

Weird clown art. A great way to introduce color and possibly make your house guests uncomfortable.


ALWAYS HOLD ON TO YOUR ITEMS: If you can’t carry all your items, find a box and a worker and alert them this is your “sold” box (I usually have them put a big SOLD sign on my box because I’m extra. Put said box right by the cashier and alert them too, we don’t play around at these events). Even if you like something but aren’t 100% on it, put in there, it’ll be gone if you set it back down (trust).

Below are a few more of my favorite finds!

I scored this gorgeous vintage area rug at an estate sale in Bellevue. The terra cotta color contrasts beautifully with the cozy navy sofa.

I found this floral-patterned side chair at a local Belle Meade estate sale. I mixed them with another pair of wood chairs for a more casual approach.

Kathy gave me this gorgeous mirror and it’s one of my favorites! It sits above my sofa but would be fabulous in an entry.

Happy Hunting!

– Paige Roberts