50+ Thrift Store Makeovers

50+ Thrift Store Makeovers

If you like before and afters this post is for you.  If you head into a thrift store and have no ideas what to look for, this post is for you.

Last week I shared my latest thrift store finds and  retail therapy.  I’ll find inspiration  for my projects at flea markets, dumps, a farmhouse, an abandoned restaurant, the salvage yard, auctions,  curbside finds (especially pallets), from family and friends but this list is all about the thrift store.  It’s everything I find at  thrift stores and what it becomes.  

Metal tiered stand, 4 level tiered server, upcycled server, recycled server, desk organizer, cupcake server,

A couple of pieces in this tiered server are from the dump, but the cooking pans are thrift store finds.

Metal tiered stand, 4 level tiered server, upcycled server, recycled server, desk organizer, cupcake server,

Put all the pieces together and they become this tiered server.

Mirror Medicine Cabinet diy, Vintage Medicine Cabinet, Wall Cabinet, Shelves, Medicine Cabinet ideas, Medicine Cabinet redo

For this project I was going to use the existing medicine cabinet and build around it.  When that didn’t work out, it ended up just being a mirror makeover.  The remainder of the medicine cabinet got thrown away.

Medicine Cabinet diy

All’s well that ends well with my new medicine cabinet.

Driftwood Hurricane Lamp diy, Driftwood projects

I was looking for a cylinder vase when I spied three. 

Hurricane Lamp Slipcovers

Those hurricane lamps or cylinder vases became these driftwood lamps, moss  vase, and shell covered vase.

Hurricane Lamp ideas

And because those covers just slip off, I was inspired to make a couple more covers…honeysuckle vase and a sweater vase using a thrift store sweater.  If you click on the sweater vase you’ll also find 15 more recycled sweater ideas.

Driftwood Lamp diy, no wiring required

Wiring a lamp really isn’t that difficult, but if you want a super easy project start with a basic thrift store lamp.

Driftwood Lamp diy, no wiring required

Under this driftwood lamp sits that silver thrift store lamp.

Primitive folkart Angel

You might not want to pass up those plain stainless steel spoons.

If you pound the heck out of those spoons and chop the handle off, they now become beautiful angel wings.

Assemblage Art Junk Fish

Or, those same spoons are now fish gills and the handles make a nice back fin on a fun and funky junk fish.  The yellow knobs were also from a bag lot at the thrift store.

Easy Cake Stand diy

Thrift stores have tons of silver plated trays and candlesticks.
Easy Cake Stand diy

Combine the two for an easy 5 minute pedestal server.  Add a few more minutes if you want it painted.


Painted Black and White Salt and Pepper shakers diy

Pick up the next salt and pepper grinder you find but make sure the pepper grinder is still grinding.

Painted Black and White Salt and Pepper shakers diy

You could paint them to match your decor or give it a try painting them in the style of MacKenzie Childs.

Making over a wooden salad bowl with sticks

I have four wooden salad or serving bowls on this list because I find them often and they are easy to transform.

Making over a wooden salad bowl with sticks

OK, I probably won’t put salad in this one any more, but it does make a cool fruit bowl or right now it’s center stage on my coffee table holding the remotes.

Metal file cabinets get a makeover

These mismatched file cabinets  (notice the difference in heights and handles) are mismatched no more.

Desk made from File Cabinets

They are now matching and make up the two ends of my sons computer desk .

Dump Find makes a great Mirror

Pair up a thrift store mirror with a rusty dump find.

Scavenging Haunted Past and a MIrror

Pretty sure you won’t find this mirror any place else.

Create a faux tin plate from a plastic Charger, recycled charger

If you find a stack of gold plate chargers don’t pass them up even if gold is not your color.

Create a faux tin plate from a plastic Charger, recycled charger

Play around with the paint a little and it looks like you have a set of vintage tin plates.

Indoor Planter from Thrift Store Finds

Pick up that loaf pan and vase, with a little glue and paint…

Indoor Planter from Thrift Store Finds

… you now have an indoor herb garden.

Horizontal Wood Mirror and Display Shelf diy

This three part dresser mirror does not match my dresser or my furniture but no worries…

Horizontal Wood Mirror and Display Shelf diy

…one of the side pieces became this mirror with ledge.

Repurposed Vintage Shutter Mirror, Shutter Ideas

And the center section used the existing hinges to become this shutter mirror.   As for what happened to the other section…it was shipped over to one of my sons who needed a narrow mirror in a small bathroom.

Recovered Thrift Store Bench and Chalk Paint, easy makeover

This thrift store bench  just needed a refresh.

Recovered Thrift Store Bench and Chalk Paint, easy makeover

The paint and a new fabric seat gives this bench transformation a new life and really shows off the fluted legs.

Upcycled, Recycled Weights Book Ends

I included these, but now that I’m thinking about it, I didn’t actually get these weights from the thrift store.  They were hiding under the porch in my son’s new (old) house.

Upcycled, Recycled Weights Book Ends-013

I do have another weight project coming up where I actually bought the weight from the thrift store.  As for these 10 lb weights, they make a couple of very cool bookends.

Steel File Cabinet Makeover - Faux Architectural flat file cabinet

This is the second file cabinet makeover I’m showing you.  Thrift stores are almost always loaded with file cabinets...that is until you are actually looking for one , then you can’t find one anywhere.

Steel File Cabinet Makeover - Faux Architectural flat file cabinet

This one is still a two drawer cabinet but I redid it for my son and daughter in law, both architects, and it now looks like it could hold all their plans and blueprints.

Wooden Divided Tiered Server

The chip and dip bowl and the candlestick are two more thrift store finds.

Divided Pedestal Server

Combine the chip bowl and the candlestick with a finial and baluster for a divided pedestal server.

Vintage Writing Desk, Chalk Paint makeover

I usually pass up the big furniture unless I have a helper but I couldn’t resist this writing desk which had seen better days.

Vintage Writing Desk, Chalk Paint makeover

I went home, grabbed my son for his muscles and a couple weeks later the desk has a new life.

Little Blue Side Table Thrift Store Makeover

Thrift stores are also a great source for side tables and better yet they are easy to carry  home without enlisting that extra muscle.

Blue Side Table Chalk Paint Makevoer

Nicks and chips are easily sanded out ( then you can add your own paint chips) and repainted the color of your choice.  This one was for my mother in law whose favorite color is blue.

Restoring a Thomasville side table with black chalk paint

This was another beautiful  side table that was full of doodles, etchings and watermarks.

Black Side Table Makeover

Again, a little paint and sanding goes a long way.

Wicker and Pallet Wood, replacing a glass top on a wicker table

I bought this wicker table because I wanted the glass top.

Shutter and Slats Coffee Table

The glass top was used to cover my shutter coffee table. I didn’t think it was practical to have a bumpy uneven top.

Wicker and Pallet Wood Table

Not to let the rest of the table go to waste, the wicker table got a new pallet wood top.


Have you seen any cheese boxes in your travels?

Painting a new cheese box to look old, it's all in the layers

It loses that checkered country feel with a few layers of paint.  It’s newly old.


I really didn’t need these bed slats.  Anywhere I could use bed slats I could easily use pallet wood.  But these have one advantage…they’re sanded.

Repurposed Bed Slats Tray

The bed slats transformed into this wine caddy or jar holder.

Martha Washington Sewing Table, Little Red Side Table

Another side table, this time a, Martha Washington  table which would have originally had side pieces that held the knitting needles, yarn and sewing.

Martha Washington Sewing Table

Red  paint makes Martha  really stand out.

Reccyled Feed Bag, Grain Sack Foot Stool

These feet were attached to an old stool.  While I did eventually transform the stool and give him new feet, I wanted these carved feet for…

Rehabbing a termite infested trunk

…this termite infested trunk.   Yes, termites had eaten the entire bottom third of this trunk, but he’s beautiful now thanks to these thrift store feet.

Thrift Store Frame Makeover

Thrift stores are a great place for finding frames.

Frame Makeover

If you don’t like the color, change it and add your own artwork.  The blue heron artist is my niece’s boyfriend  Bryce Robinson.

Rotating Postcard Display Gallery Wall

Or grab an assortment, paint them all the same color and use them for your vintage postcard display.

DIY Copper Pendant Light

I have no idea what this copper bowl was used for originally.

Copper Pendant Light

But if you drill a hole , it makes a perfect pendant light.

Upcycled Shutter and Pallet Wood Serving Cart, Bar Cart

These thrift store galvanized bins inspired this shutter project.

Shutter Utility Cart

Pair the bins with shutters and pallet wood and you get a fun bar cart or utility cart.

Pallet wood desk with pallet wood sawhorse legs, upcycled, recycled, repurposed

This post was about how to make a sawhorse desk  with pallets for free.  It was finished off with 2, $5 thrift store chairs…total cost $10.

Vintage Card Table Fabric Makeover

This card table needed a lot of help when I found him in the back of a thrift store.  He was just screamin’ makeover.

Vintage Card Table Fabric Makeover

Just look at the card table now.  There is usually a lot of pretty under the grungy.

DIY Receipt Spike, Receipt Holder, upcycled weight

This weight really was from the thrift store.

diy Receipt Spike

It’s now a receipt spike perched on my desk.

DIY Wedding Card Box Chalkboard Style

 I’ve had this old file box sitting around for a couple years until I was asked to make …

DIY Wedding Chalkboard Signs

…a wedding card box, chalkboard style for my son’s wedding.  It’s personalized just for them.

Upcycled V8 hubcap Table Lamp, Desk Lamp

Another thrift store lamp, again you have  no wiring to do, pairs with a rusty old (flea market find) hubcap.

Upcycled V8 hubcap Table Lamp, Desk Lamp

And now I am the proud owner of a one of a kind, hubcap lamp.

Upcycled Serving Tray Mirror, DIY

 This wine serving tray was really not my style.
Upcycled Serving Tray Mirror, DIY

But look past the painted grapes and now I have a pallet wood tray mirror.

Jewelry Box Makeover, Flower Power to Vintage Chic

You may have looked past this little girls flowery jewelry box.

Jewelry Box Makeover

 But anything can be transformed with paint, and now I have a vintage chic jewelry box.

Recycled Bamboo Bowl Pendant Light

Just like the copper bowl,  just add a pendant kit to this bamboo bowl

Salad bowl Pendant Light

…and you have a one of a kind bamboo pendant light.

Oyster Shell Lamp DIY

Another plain lamp.  Did I mention thrift stores are full of lamps just waiting for their transformation.

Oyster Shell Lamp

You wouldn’t know that this was the same lamp after it’s covered with oyster shells.

Glass Cloche, Glass Dome Halloween Decorating

Three more thrift store finds, a candlestick, cloche and silver plated tray.

Glass Cloche, Glass Dome Halloween Decorating

 Now they make the perfect holiday decoration whether for Halloween...

Red chalk paint Jewelry Cabinet

…or Christmas.

Upholstered French Chair Makeover DIY

Just like side tables,  you’ll find a lot old chairs at thrift stores, and they are all ready for their makeover.

Upholstered French Chair Makeover DIY

With paint and fabric this french chair has a new life.

Thrift Store Bar Stool Makeover

 I had 2 stools like the one on the right, imagine my surprise finding my same stools  at a thrift store.

Thrift Store Bar Stool Makeover-013

Once again paint and fabric transform all the stools and now I have a matching set of 4.

Red chalk paint Jewelry Cabinet

Jewelry boxes may not always be your taste in paint choices. I think this one belongs at Target.

Little Red Jewelry box

But, like chairs, they can easily be transformed with just a little paint.

Replacement lid from a belt and scrap wood

I found both  this lidless galvanized cooler and the belt at a local thrift store.

Replacing a Missing Lid

The belt is now a handle and the cooler has a new lid with the addition of a little scrap wood.

Thrift Store Drafting Table gets a much needed Makeover

I’m drawn to projects that are in  need of a major makeovers like this modpodge picture covered drafting table.  The surface was kind of bumpy, not the best idea for a drawing table.

Thrift Store Drafting Table gets a much needed Makeover

The drafting table is now ready for some serious work.  A yardstick (another thrift store find) prevents papers from sliding onto the floor and a pallet wood pencil holder is attached to the side.

Baby Block and Letters Junk Angel

I can usually find baby blocks in the toy aisle.

Baby Block and Letters Junk Angel-

And now they help form the wings of my baby block angel.

Burlap and Twine All Season Wreath easy DIY

I know that a straw wreath was not on my list that day but this one was brand new and still in its packaging.

Farmhouse Wreath

Wrapped with twine and burlap it can now be used year long.

Upholstered French style chair makeover diy

Another padded chair, this one was in fantastic shape but just a little too formal  for my shabby chic taste.

Upholstered French style chair makeover diy-020

This  recovered padded dining chair  makes a great desk chair.

Updating and Painting a Ceramic Figurine

Thrift stores are full of knick knacks and  tchotchkes  (is that how that is spelled).  Look for good bones, you can paint anything.  This little bunny has good bones.

Bunny Makeover

A little white chalk paint is all that is needed for his makeover.

So, I hope I inspired you with at least one project.  Make a list and go shopping….Now I kind of want to go shopping again.

Shared at Metamorphosis Monday,

 Wow us Wednesdays,


  • Joy says:

    What a lovely time I had looking at the before bits and your finished pieces Joan. I especially loved the painted bunny and the angel made from blocks. A lot of creative energy, thank you.

  • Cecilia says:

    I’d love to find matching bar stools! Maybe some day. Great post and very inspiring. Yep, I want to go a-thriftin’.

  • Fonda says:

    Such a plethora of ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  • David Jackson says:

    Great ideas Joan,,,,as always you rock to world of trash to treasures..or as we say in Texas, you’ve taken us from Chinette to China.

  • Barbara says:

    Your vision is astounding. I love so many of your ideas. The mirror made from the serving tray is gorgeous, the desk you refinished, the desk you made from the two mismatched filing cabinets, the George Washington table turned red – beautiful! Honestly, If I could buy the stuff at the thrift store and bring it to you, I’d do it!
    I love the lamp made from the hubcap!
    Thanks so much for sharing your talents and ideas!

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