The best thrift stores in Roanoke, Virginia.

I am beyond excited to be collaborating with Best of Roanoke today to bring you my favorite thrifting spots around the greater Roanoke area! If you’re from Roanoke (or want to plan a visit), go follow this awesome account! Genya and Stan are a couple who newly relocated to the area and do an amazing job of highlighting all the best places, events, and things to do in the greater Roanoke area!

Now let’s talk about the best places to thrift here in Roanoke, Virginia!

Did you know there are more than forty secondhand stores in the greater Roanoke area? The list includes dozens of thrift stores, antique stores and consignment shops, plus used books stores, architectural salvage yards and used game stores.

Today I’ll be sharing the best thrifting spots around town, including all of my go-to spots for furniture, homegoods, artwork and more. I’ve been finding some amazing treasures lately!

1. Thrift. A Ministry of the Rescue Mission.

Located at 3425 Orange Ave NE in Roanoke. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This store is PACKED with decor items and homegoods—especially china and anything kitchen related. Prices are decent here and you will find some really pretty options if you’re looking to shop secondhand for holiday table settings or trying to create a gallery wall of vintage artwork. Plan to spend a good amount of time in this store and be prepared to dig—they’ve got bins and boxes full of treasures and it’s really fun to work your way through them. If you need a kitchen item like baking pans, casserole dishes, measuring cups, etc—check here first. They’ve seriously got it ALL. This thrift store also has an automatic markdown policy—the longer and item has been there, the more discounted it is,. Check the color of the price sticker and you might find an excellent deal!

2. The Samaritan Inn Thrift Store

Located at 543 Salem Ave SW in Roanoke and open Tuesdays to Fridays, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is a great little secret of a thrift store! They’ve got lots of vintage goods, a great book selection and tons of home goods and seasonal decor. The prices are excellent and it’s well organized and very clean.

3. Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store

Located at 2381 Roanoke Boulevard in Salem. Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is a pretty large thrift store and it’s packed! They’ve got a bit of everything here, but I especially love checking out their linens, homegoods and clothing. They do get good quality furniture donations and this store is clean and pretty well organized. The prices here are excellent—I’ve found some really great deals!

4. Salvation Army Family Store

Located at 5511 Williamson Rd, Roanoke, VA 24012 and open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Salvation Army has always been a favorite thrift store of mine no matter where I live. Their prices are always very fair and sometimes you can even score a bargain on vintage home goods. This location is a great place for craft supplies, linens, glassware and small home decor items. Furniture, artwork and holiday decor are some other things you might find, and aside from Goodwill this is probably the best place for secondhand clothing.

5. Roanoke Valley Habitat for Humanity Restore

Located at 3435 Melrose Avenue NW in Roanoke. Current hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I’ve lived and traveled all over the country, and everywhere I go I’ve always had a local Habitat Restore. The Roanoke location is one of the largest, cleanest and most well organized Restores that I’ve ever been to. They have a good rotation of vintage furniture, art and home decor. They’re also a really awesome place to visit if you’re doing any type of home improvement project. Salvaged wood, bolts of upholstery fabric, new flooring, reclaimed cabinets, vintage drawer pulls—they’ve got it all. It’s always my first stop when I’m work on a creative project. Books and records are two more things they have in spades—they’re tucked away in the back of the store so don’t miss this section!

Head over to Instagram later today for some exciting giveaway news—you won’t want to miss it!

A sparkly + bedazzled vintage brooch lampshade

If gaudy, over-the-top and sparkly aren’t your style, you may not want to read (or look) further. If the repurposing of vintage jewelry would be deeply upsetting to you, please click away.

Otherwise, let’s take a look at the prettiest, sparkliest lampshade that I’ve ever seen!

The quest for dramatically embellished lampshades began when I spotted this amazing vintage pottery lamp at an antique store in Texas last January. I was antiquing with my sister and it took me two seconds to snap this cutie up. Then six months later I found a similar lamp on Etsy and ordered it for my husband’s bedside table. They’re a cute coordinating pair.

In my mind, I imaged the lamps paired with lovely faux flower adorned shades—something similar to this Anthropology shade that I’d been in love with for the better part of a decade:

Although I still loved that Anthro shade, it wasn’t exactly the right size or color combo for my room (and they also stopped selling it many years ago). What I really imagined was a lamp shade bedecked with handmade wool felt flowers and possibly some botanic-themed embroidery.

But then…

I pulled out my collection of vintage flower brooches last week for an Instagram post I was working on and the idea hit me—why not use the brooches for my lampshade?

I had already found the perfect shade for $1.00 at a local thrift shop and I figured it would be a fun experiment if nothing else. When I bought the shade, it was very dirty and had some stains, so I gave it a quick clean before painting on two layers of DecoArt’s Chalky Finish Acrylic Paint in “Primitive” (I watered the paint down and allowed it to dry overnight in between coats.

It took me a while to figure out how to attach the brooches to the lampshade. This is NOT a tutorial, but I did take some photos of the process just to serve as inspiration for anyone wanting to create something similar.

To begin, I used a piece of wool felt as a base, cutting it to fit one panel of the lampshade at a time. I wanted the shade to look as if it had been unevenly “dipped” into the sparkly brooches so I cut my felt accordingly—just a thin, imperfect border on the bottom of each panel.

Next, I gave each felt panel more texture by layering it with bits of floral lace and sequin-embroidered scrap pieces. It was lucky for me that I have lots of scraps and crafty things to work with. Being a hoarder does come in handy sometimes.

After the felt had a base layer of lace on top, I carefully arranged brooches and jewelry pieces until I was happy with how it looked. It was not a very technical process. I simply played around with the pieces until the color combinations and sparkle factor met my expectations. The last step was to hot glue each jewelry piece in place and then glue the entire panel to the lampshade.

I only had enough vintage jewelry for one lamp shade (I wasn’t willing to use most of the pins from my collection—some pieces were just too special to hot glue to a lampshade) so I’ll have to figure out something else for Sam’s side of the bed.

Well, there you have it: my over-the-top floral brooch embellished lampshade. What do you think, gaudy or gorgeous?!

Note: I did remove the pin and earring backings from most of the jewelry pieces with a pair of pliers before glueing them down. If this upsets you, just know that I mostly destroyed pins that were already broken or deformed. I also destroyed many pairs of vintage clip-on earrings. They look prettier on my lampshade and no one wears clip-ons anyways, so you’ll have to forgive me.

Finds on Friday—why I thrift, slow decorating and a giveaway sneak peek!

This week I’ve got lots of new finds to share with you and I really mean share.

Today I’ll not only be showing you the wonderful treasures I found for keeps, but also a sneak peak of some lovely vintage pieces that I’ve thrifted to GIVE AWAY.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be scouring secondhand shops to curate collections of items for two distinct and beautiful vignettes that you’ll have a chance to win. Each ‘vignette’ will be a curated collection of five or six small pieces, styled together into one decorative statement. You’ll get to vote on which vignette you like best and simultaneously enter to win all the items in it.

I’ve found a few really special pieces already—here’s a little sneak peek!

Now that you’ve seen some of the goods, let’s talk about why I’m putting together this fun, thrifty giveaway.

Mostly, my goal is to show you exactly the kind of style you can accomplish by shopping secondhand. I don’t live in a place with exceptionally great thrift stores and I promise I don’t have better luck than you—anyone can create exceptional spaces with a little patience, perseverance and experimentation.

Finding your ideal home style is a learning process and your home will evolve throughout it. While I’m not any luckier than you I probably do spend more time thrifting and I understand not everyone is able to hunt as regularly. All this means is that the process will take you a bit longer and that’s ok—slow decorating is a good thing.

Thrifted vase ($4.00, found at Buy the Season in Salem, VA) paired with vintage millinery stems and handmade felt flowers

So often I find that the items in my home that hold the most value to me are the ones that took the longest to find. They’re usually items that have a story attached to them—the story of where I found them, the story of the restoration process, the story of how the item was handed down to me.

A pretty basket corrals napkins on the vintage baker’s rack in my kitchen (basket purchased for $3.00 at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA)

This is slow decorating at its core. Home style shouldn’t be about ‘filling a space’ or matching a Pinterest picture. It’s not about quick fixes, trends or seasonal decor rotation (ok, I am guilty of a *little* bit of that). It’s not about hurrying to finish the next space in your home. In fact, your home and the rooms within it should never really be finished.

So many young adults, women especially, feel this pressure to have picture perfect lives and the picture perfect home to coordinate—and we always seem to be in a rush to accomplish it. Instead of taking the time to explore what really makes us happy in our home style, we pick a pretty picture out of a magazine and try to emulate it.

Brass bird figurine found at the MCEAP thrift store in Christiansburg, VA for $5.99

The problem with copying a photo of someone else’s idea of home is that it’s not going to feel like you. Finding the home style that will make you happy isn’t a process that happens overnight.

This is where secondhand shopping comes into the equation. Trust me—I understand that shopping at thrift stores isn’t for everyone. Luckily, thrift stores aren’t the only way to shop secondhand or embrace slow decorating.

Floral needlepoint thrifted for $0.99 from a Goodwill in Lynchburg, VA

Why does shopping secondhand make a difference, though? Aside from the obvious benefits—saving money, environmental stewardship, supporting charity organizations—thrifting has the added benefit of exposing you to the largest possible variety of home decor styles. We’re talking about decades (and sometimes centuries) of styles all piled onto the same shelves at your local Goodwill (or antique store).

Online marketplaces like Etsy are great when you know what you’re looking for. But when you’re starting out I think it’s really important to see items in person—to feel them and look at them up close. To play with them, arrange them with other items and to imagine them in your space.

Another green rolling pin to add to my collection—found for $9.99 at Buy the Season in Salem, VA

What better environment could exist to explore and discover the items that really catch your eye? To see what pieces make you do a little happy dance inside when you spot them?

Over time, your choices will evolve. You’ll decide that mid-century lines are really cool but you’re looking for something less modern and more cozy. Or you’ll realize that while you find vintage linens to be really pretty, they have no practical use in your home and the clutter makes you anxious. Both of these examples are actual realizations I had after years of curating my home style.

A favorite treasure I found long ago for $7.00 at a roadside antique barn in Upstate NY

If I hadn’t experimented, what would I have learned? And where would my home style be now?

In 2020, I am really happy with my home and most of the things in it. I wouldn’t say my style is perfect and I’ll never say it’s done evolving. I have things I am ready to let go of and at the same time I’ve been starting new collections left and right. Mostly I am just ready for a space big enough for me to actually unpack all the things I love. Overall, my home feels like me and I can honestly say it’s not something I copied from a magazine spread. It’s also something that evolved over time, which brings us back to slow decorating.

The cutest brass ducks that joined my zoo of vintage figurines ($2.00 each from Treasure Trove Thrift in Christiansburg, VA)

When I say slow decorating, I mean slow. This isn’t the first time I am writing about the fact that sometimes it takes me years to find the right piece. Sometimes it takes so long that I end up not needing the piece anymore (because we move to a new house, the space is different, it doesn’t fit, etc) and my list completely changes. Chalk it up to military life.

Remember when I talked about my thrift list last month? Well, I’ve crossed exactly one item off that list. It was a lampshade that I found earlier this week (makeover post coming soon). That’s it—all of the other items from my list are still on it and I’m just waiting for them to find me.

My $1.00 bedazzled lampshade purchased from the MCEAP Home Store in Christiansburg, VA

This is why I love secondhand shopping—to find pieces and become a part of their story. Sometimes a piece is with me for a few months, sometimes a few years, and every once in a while it’s destined to be with me for a lifetime. However long I keep a piece, I learn something from it—either that it is the epitome of my style and makes me outrageously happy or that it served me well but doesn’t quite fit anymore. Then I get to pass it on to someone else and hope it will become a part of their story.

That’s why I thrift.

Giveaway info

I am beyond excited to be hosting my first giveaway here on the blog this fall. It’s so fitting that I’ll be giving away a few vignettes of items that I’ve thrifted especially for you—my readers!

I’ll be making a full post soon detailing the giveaway dates, how to enter and what items are included. Be sure to follow me on the blog or on Instagram so you don’t miss the announcement!

Winners will be drawn at random and the items will be shipped to you free of charge (within the continental U.S. only). Entries will be accepted through Instagram, email and Facebook. Full rules to follow.

Finds on Friday—Pillows, a Picnic Basket + Vintage Books

Today I am popping in for a quick post about my recent thrifted finds.

I haven’t been thrifting too much lately—there’s not much I need and I’ve just been super busy with projects for the blog and my little rental company. In fact, most of my thrifting these days is usually in pursuit of inventory for my business.

But this week I finally found a few little things for the house and I am excited to share them with you. I also got the chance to check out a few secondhand shops in VA that I hadn’t been to yet. If you’re in the NRV or Roanoke area, I’m thinking of doing a post about all the best local stores, so stay tuned for that soon.

First up is the most expensive item I bought—a vintage picnic basket. I’ve been collecting these for a few years and am always on the hunt for cheap ones in really good condition. This guy was huge and was only $5.99 (found at Goodwill in Christiansburg, VA) so I scooped him up right away.

He’s in excellent condition and has a riser inside (anyone know what the riser is for? I have a few guesses—to protect the first layer of food stored below it? To place ice packs below it to keep food cold? To put plates and cutlery under the food? All good guesses but I am not sure…).

Next up are two books. The small green book ($2.00 at the YMCA thrift in Blacksburg, VA) is a gardening book about shrubs and I bought it simply for decoration. Green is my color and I’m always looking for vintage books in good condition to add to my collection. The fact that it’s a gardening book makes it even more perfect. The fonts on the spine are so pretty.

The second book is Mary Emmerling’s American Country Classics ($2.00 at Goodwill thrift in Blacksburg, VA).

Mary’s older designs books are still so fresh today and I find her style so inspiring—especially in terms of what I collect. I’ll happily add this book to my collection of home design volumes. One of my favorite things is flipping through them once a year and dreaming about owning my own home again (one day soon, I have to keep reminding myself).

Lastly are my two vintage pillow finds. They’re both pink and floral, so clearly they fit my style very well. The first was $2.00 (also from the YMCA thrift in Blacksburg) and it needs a bit of trimming as the lace is fringing in spots. But I just couldn’t pass up the pink puckered velvet—it’s so cute!

The second pillow was $4.00 (from the Habitat Restore in Roanoke, VA) and is in great shape. I think it’s actually a modern pillow made to look vintage because it’s got a modern looking tag.

That’s all, folks. I am becoming more picky with my thrifting these days and I think my home is looking more cohesive and collected as a result. This makes the hunt more challenging which is actually quite fun.

This weekend we may take a drive through the mountains into West Virginia for some leaf peeping and antiquing—I’ve got my fingers (and toes) crossed for some McCoy bargains because it’s been way too long since I brought home a pretty new vase.