Thrift stores allot varying amounts of floor space to furniture. You can usually find nice, often vintage pieces that will meet your needs. (1,2) If you are looking for a piece of furniture for a specific function/location, be sure to measure that location and then bring a tape measure with you so that you find a suitable piece. If you are leery of upholstered furniture, note that some stores place stickers (3) that should reassure you. Most thrift stores have staff who will assist you in getting the item in your car or van. Additionally, most have some sort of delivery services. Change hardware (handles, drawer pulls, hinges, etc.) for easy & attractive modifications. Look at each piece critically – if it has scratches and nicks, can it be easily refinished or painted? If the top of a table, chest, or cabinet is beyond repair, think about a glass top with wallpaper or fabric below it. (4) Another solution is a large wood and glass tray with wallpaper, fabric or photos. (5) Dining room chairs like this one (6, $10) can be somewhat mismatched when the seats are easily recovered with the same fabric.
If you are handy and have a sewing machine, think creatively and consider re-purposing. For example, turn two flat sheets into a duvet cover with 3 seams and a few snaps, buttons or Velcro. And if you use two different sheets, you’ll get two duvet covers for the price of one! Sheets can be also turned into pillowcases, tablecloths into table runners, place mats, or curtains. You may find new linens in original packaging. (7)
A word of warning
That “Thrift Store Smell” seems to be most prevalent in linens and clothes made with synthetic fabrics. Try adding a half cup of an odor eliminating laundry booster like white vinegar, Borax, or baking soda to the wash or hang for a few hours in the sun.
Remember! By purchasing gently used instead of new items, you are helping our planet and its fragile ecosystems. Your actions are part of the Green Change.