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Robert M. Bradbury
REALTOR®, Member NAR, Member NYSAR
(518) 506-6675 Primary
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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Articles and Advice

3 Decor Finds That Are Always Better At Estate Sales

Moving is exciting, but once the dust has settled and the boxes are unpacked, new homes are still blank slates devoid of character. You have a mortgage to pay, but you want your new house to look and feel like home, so consider shopping estate sales for your home décor. New items don't come with character, and if they're not expensive, they're often cheaply made or already outdated. If you hope to decorate your space without spending a fortune or wasting your money on flash-in-the-pan trends, estate sales and tag sales are difficult to beat. These household blowouts are great sources of timeless, gently used, high-quality pieces that can truly complete your home for years to come.

Mortgages don't mix well with overpriced furniture shops and art galleries, but that's okay. When it comes to the following décor finds, your best bet is usually to peruse someone else's gently used décor at an estate or rummage sale, anyway.

  1. Holiday Decorations
    When people downsize or clear out a home, they often ditch holiday items like costumes and masks, place settings, yard signs, decorative figurines, artificial trees, candle holders, wreaths, and more. Seasonal decorations are only used for a month at most, so they're usually in great shape even after years of use. Nothing says "home" like a festive holiday display, so keep your eyes peeled for Easter, Halloween, and Christmas decorations at estate and yard sales.

    Ordinary household items — including some of the most common estate sale staples — are also easy to re-purpose as holiday decorations. For example, glass bottles and vases can be distressed and turned into spooky potion jars or filled with tiny lights for a romantic Christmas or Valentine's Day display. Books, mirrors, dolls, and picture frames are also full of Pinterest-worthy holiday crafting (and home improvement) potential.

  2. Books
    Speaking of books, you don't need a library in your new place to benefit from stacks of used books. Books are heavy and take up space. Estate sales are usually overflowing with paperbacks and hardcovers. Why snatch them up? While a home full of books is bliss for avid readers, books are also some of the cheapest and most versatile interior design staples. Home improvement is about elevating the spaces you already have, and books get the job done. A couple stacks of colorful hardcovers will bring life to your coffee table and side tables, while rows of books instantly fill out empty bookshelves and cubbies. Experiment with color-coded books to establish or complement a room's color scheme, or turn the books around for rows of classy, monochromatic pages. The decorative potential of books is practically boundless.

  3. Plates
    While immaculate dish sets are fantastic estate sale finds, single plates are also full of re-purposing potential. Do you have a big, blank wall or hallway that needs something funky to spice it up? Look for mix-and-match stacks of plates at yard sales and estate sales. Get creative, and mount a collection of different patterns, colors, and sizes to those blank walls. Nice plates range from a dime to a dollar each because they get much less valuable when they're not in a set, so you can transform a whole wall into an eclectic, colorful piece of art for next to nothing.

Whether you're moving in or moving out, add a second-hand sale to your to-do list. Garage sales are a great way to lighten your load after selling your house, while nearby estate sales and garage sales leave room in your budget for home improvement after you buy a new house.

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