Thrift Store Secrets:: Chairs

seatinggreen chairs: local antique store $75 each

No matter how big or small your house or budget are, you need to have some seating and most homes could use a few more places to sit–especially secondary seating (download my free furniture guide here if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

One of my goals at each of my houses is seeing how much seating I can sneak into a room, because it’s important to us to invite people in, we want to make sure we have a comfy-ish place for people to sit.

But have you noticed how some chairs these days are almost the price of a sofa!?

Here’s how I beat the system: second-hand chair shopping.

Below I’ll share the place and price of each of some of our chairs–most we use out in our barn/gathering space and some we use in the house, at the end I’ll share a few tips.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-24-37-ampink chair: antique store $50

where to buy chairsvelvet chair or the right: salvation army $35 –I’ve had it for 7 years! (see before here)

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-23-09-amblack cane chairs: Goodwill $2 each

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-22-52-ampeacock chair: salvation army $35

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-22-40-amgreen velvet Ethan Allen chair: local thrift store $29

seating on the cheap

drop dead gorgeous handmade blanket thing–I know it’s not a chair but this is worth sharing: local thrift store $8!! I think it would be $550 at Anthropologie…


I use it to cover my old sofa that has a weird greenish tint compared to the rug.


my favorite chair, broken leg and all: thrift store $12 slipcovered...


…and ended up on the cover of my book because sharing the imperfect with the right people is always worth the risk.


pink chair: value village $12 // yellow chair local thrift $10 // blue chair: goodwill $20

where to buy chairs

this chair went with my dining room set but I didn’t need it, so I painted it white and put it in our bedroom–wood armchairs are crazy adaptable to almost any room

dsc_0225the copper twins: salvation army $40 each

I’m always on the lookout for chairs when I’m thrifting or shopping yard sales. A few rules I follow:

  • Only buy chairs in impeccable condition. Almost every second-hand upholstered chair I buy looks like it’s never been sat in. Otherwise I pass it by. Be sure to inspect all sides and under the cushion.
  • Don’t purchase a chair so you can recover it unless you KNOW you want to do this. Normally, I want to be able to use a chair it as is. Velvet is easy to clean and is my favorite because it’s so timeless.
  • Look for colors that go with your existing decor, for me that’s neutrals or happy greens, pinks yellows or blues for in the barn.
  • Consider interesting styles in solid colors–chairs can add a lot of personality to a room.

These days I’m only buying chairs for our barn–so they are basically outside in a glorified porch. If you are looking for chairs for your house and worried about bedbugs and other things, do your own research, it’s not something I worry about when buying for the barn.


how to shop for chairs at thrift stores--the BEST tips!







  1. My love language is good chairs. But I am pining away, because not only are new ones so expensive, as you said, they are rarely the quality of old ones!
    You had tremendous good luck in your chairs! All your tips are great!
    I don’t have chair envy… I don’t have chair envy…

    • I do professional upholstery with old chairs for vintage markets and have sworn off anything modern. Horrifying to take apart and put back together. Cheap squishy cardboard, super soft pine wood, foam and feedbag plastic is all that modern chairs are made of today.

  2. Kim@Irishman Acres says

    That green velvet one with an ottoman!!!! That would be INSIDE, gorgeous!!??

  3. This is the nudging that I need. We’re trying so hard to “practice hospitality” and minimalism and budget keeping. Thanks for the tips on what you look for in a second hand piece.

  4. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at that picture of the white slip covered chair (that’s on the cover of your book), and I JUST NOW noticed that it’s missing a leg.. because you told me. It really doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! :)

  5. Love you site – but “losing”, not loosing. :)

    • Kimberly Presgraves says

      I see people do this all the time…drives me nuts llol…lso when your is used and not you’re and vice versa..l love the page and her tips are wonderful.

  6. I don’t think that you and I shop at the same thrift stores–I never see good stuff like this! :)

  7. I adore that green velvet one and the matching pouffe thingy! Do you find that chairs get damp in your barn? I have an outdoor room and a garage where I stored some chairs and they’ve gone a bit smelly – do you have any advice, to stop them doing that?

  8. Love how you named them “The Copper Twins”! I so admire the way you share the imperfect–that reality is what keeps us coming back to this space. Thanks for all that you do. <3

  9. My mom’s peacock chair! It stayed around until the late 90’s. It was very uncomfortable to sit it, though. She loved that thing.

  10. that pink chair with the black & white pillow!!!

  11. score score score.
    I think your”blanket” might be a tablecloth. score again.

  12. I am so in love with velvet, but my husband used to work in the restoration business and said it’s impossible to clean. How do you clean it up? I would love to be able to have some velvet in my house.

  13. Courtney Moore says

    Come visit me and England and thrift shop with me! I bet you would find all sorts of gems! Thank you for sharing with us all!

  14. Shared! Shared! This is AWESOME stuff man! Thank you!

  15. Are there some specific places in Huntersville or Charlotte that you recommend? Thanks for sharing!

  16. I agree with you on your thrift store finds. If you buy chairs new at places like Home Goods or Wayfair they are not comfortable. Nice comfortable chairs are quite expensive. So thrift store is the way to go, but find them in usable condition, as you say. Otherwise recovering is expensive.

  17. The green velvet Ethan Allan chairs are to die for. What a fab find.

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  19. I see so many wonderful chairs but often times a quick sit reveals that they are like sitting in toilets and it is why they are gotten rid of so always give them a test sit!

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