Thrift Store Finds–Just Add Paint

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I’m writing this post because of my twelve-year old son.  The other day, as I was walking in the door from a particularly successful thrift store run, he looked at my fabulous finds and said, “Mom, sometimes the things you bring home from Goodwill scare me.”  Hmmm, obviously he lacks my vision, but I wonder how many of us overlook treasures just because they’re disguised as, um, trash?  This was the item that “scared” him:

Thrift store statue at 11 Magnolia Lane

I’ll grant him that she does look a little tacky right now, but once I got her dusted off and spray painted white, here’s how she turned out:

Thrift store statue from 11 Magnolia LaneSeriously elegant, right?  And have you ever priced statuary?  She’s about 2 feet high and made of ceramic, so I figure I got a steal (I spent $12 on her).  My son’s just glad she has clothes on, as one of the last pieces I brought home was a reproduction of the Venus de Milo, and he was pretty scandalized by her semi-nudity (and armlessness).

Here’s a little frame I found that day.  I love to paint these with either a black or white semi-gloss.  Before:

Thrift store frame--before

And after a few coats of white spray paint and a Bible verse I printed on my computer, it’s perfect in my blue and white laundry room:

Psalm 51 Laundry Room Verse at 11 Magnolia Lane

If you want to borrow that idea, it’s Psalm 51:7b, and the font I used is a free one called “Contribute.”  I printed it on some blue chevron scrapbook paper and hung it on the wall above my washer and dryer.

Here are a couple of other finds…it’s pretty easy to see the potential in the oval frame (I LOVE oval frames), but the duck decoy is *hideous.*  The checkout lady was laughing at me for buying it!

Thrift store finds at 11 Magnolia LaneI spray painted the duck in some seriously bad weather just so I could get that white paint on quickly!  Here’s how he (she?) turned out.  Not bad, huh?

Thrift store duck decoy at 11 Magnolia Lane

The sweet oval frame wound up on my powder room door.  I love hanging things on doors because they’re always underutilized–and under decorated–space.

Le Bain sign at 11 Magnolia Lane

Le Bain powder room sign at 11 Magnolia Lane

The glass would also have looked great sprayed with black chalkboard paint and then the lettering done in chalk pen.  Hmmm…may have to change that up one of these days!

I guess my point is that you have to look at thrift store items with an eye towards their potential, rather than their current appearance.  It takes awhile to train yourself to mentally paint, strip, sew, repurpose, or otherwise alter items, but once you’ve figured out how to do it, you really begin to see the treasure behind the trash.

One of our Facebook followers mentioned that the trash-to-treasure metaphor is a perfect picture of how God sees beyond our worn out, dirty, tacky, unwanted, or unloved selves, and instead sees how we can look after He’s cleaned us up and restored us to newness.  I loved that (thank you, Stephanie L), and what a perfect lesson for Easter week.

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. I love what you did with EVERYTHING! I will definitely borrow the verse. Thank you for the idea. I love to use scripture around the house in ways like this. 🙂

  2. You turned those great GW finds into masterpieces!…love them all..fantastic transformations!

  3. My teenage son would have been appauled too. I love how your “ugly” treasures turned out so wonderful!

  4. I have that same statue and she is anything but scary. Great transformation!

  5. I loved your statue before you painted it white. Question why does everything have to be white? I am selling my house and the realtor wanted everything in light colors like white which I am not fond of. It shows dirt so easy. I need ideas on how to improve what I have. Thanks

    • Realtors love white (as do potential buyers) because it helps things to feel light, bright, and uncluttered. Staging a house is so different from decorating a home–with staging you’re trying to remove traces of your personal style. Buyers always prefer light, neutral shades because it helps them to picture THEIR belongings in YOUR house, plus, who wants to move in knowing that they’re going to have to paint over bright or dark colors in multiple rooms? My parents were both in the real estate business so I grew up just knowing this stuff, but I know it doesn’t come naturally to most people. Put your beloved (bright) items away now and be patient–once you sell your bright, light, neutrally staged house for top dollar, you can move into your new home and decorate exactly the way you like! Good luck!

  6. This is a lovely post, and all your trash-to-treasures look so good!

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