Of course, there are plenty of antique rugs that will set you back a paycheck or two, but you can save a lot of money on a rug if you buy an older option from a flea market or vintage shop instead of your standard furniture store. Especially if you're looking for something smaller—be it a runner for a hallway or kitchen, something to layer over a sisal rug or underneath your coffee table.
From little boxes and trays to ethnic baskets and old school ice buckets, there are plenty of storage options littering the secondhand market. And we're here for all of them. Why buy a little generic box from Crate & Barrel to store your remotes or condoms in when you can house the items you don't want to see in a one-of-a-kind container that really adds something to your coffee table, entry nook or nightstand? These are the items that make your kitchen counters and bookshelves look worldly and curated. Don't miss out on that opportunity.
We tend to like items that have a nod to bad bahavior and using them in unexpected ways. Thankfully, since most people have kicked the nasty habit of smoking, ashtrays have nearly all been given up (or rather sold off and donated). Which means you can usually find them at flea markets for a steal. The right one can be repurposed as an interesting catchall for jewelry or keys, or a tea-light holder on your coffee table.
The best art is unique, interesting—and most importantly—meaningful to you. It's hard to tick all three of those boxes if you're buying your art from a mass manufacturer. What's more, the secondhand stuff is usually cheaper too. Remember, it doesn't have to be fine art—old advertisements and shooting targets make for graphic pieces that liven up a wall. As do foreign movie posters. So look for pieces wherever antiques are sold, and even talk to your favorite shops to see where they are sourcing some of the interesting items on their walls.
Small Scale Furniture
Whether it's an architectural model staircase, a miniature version of a midcentury chair or simply a tiny, rustic stool, these items add instant intrigue to a space. They not only look great on top of a table, they also fill voids in bookcases and in some cases can be used as ottomans or side tables.
Coffee Table Books
A stack of books is your best friend when outfitting your place. It instantly adds a shot of your personality and they tend to make for nice pedestals on which to place a plant or candle. But the big books can be pretty damn expensive when purchased new at full retail prices. So click the "search used" option on Amazon or scan through the dog-eared stacks at vintage shops.
Lamps have the ability to really add style to a room. They are, after all, functional sculpture. Look for interesting shapes and materials and just make sure they're in good condition and work properly before you buy them.