Where to Shop Eco-Chic
The term “eco-chic” came about to describe thrift store shopping for fashionable items like vintage clothing, jewelry and other accessories. But there are also many, many chic household goods awaiting stylish second hand shoppers including Mid-Century Modern and Depression-era wares. There’s something for every taste and budget, and part of the fun is hunting down something you’ll treasure. Getting it for a song, or better yet, for free, never hurts anything.
Some of the first places you’ll want to start frequenting are local thrift stores and consignment shops. These stores replenish their stock weekly, and shoppers who come in often find the best pickings. Visiting local flea markets, or even traveling a bit to get to a huge one like those held in Round Top, Texas or Brimfield, Mass., can yield old goodies galore. Garage sales are also an option for finding older goods to recycle, although not as frequently as in the past.
Antique malls, shows and shops are also great resources and they usually offer a little more frill when it comes to the shopping experience, but expect to pay more in these venues. If budget is a major concern, stick with the thrift outlets and garage sale shopping.
Don’t forget online shopping for what dealers refer to as “smalls,” too. Sites like RubyLane.com and TIAS.com have a plethora of wearable and decorative options available. And, of course, eBay.com always serves up some interesting wares. Don't forget to inquire about return policies when shopping for pre-owned goods online, just in case these objects don’t measure up to your expectation when the package arrives.
Get Some Inspiration
If you’re not the most creative person around when it comes to envisioning original ideas for reusing and repurposing old stuff, not to worry. There are tons of places to go for inspiration ranging from scouring the decorating shelf in your local bookstore to perusing pics on Pinterest. Of course, those pins lead to web pages in most instances, including the ones providing photos of trash to treasure makeover examples you can recreate.
You can also go to craft shows and shops that sell clever decorative accessories to buy these types of items if you’re not a creative genius in your own right. Or, at the very least, you’ll get some ideas for your own repurposing projects browsing these venues.
Cautions to Consider
Before you get too crazy dragging things home you’ve found in the trash or using everything you find in an antique store in your home, do a little research about whether or not that’s a good idea.
For instance, some odors like pet urine are near impossible to remove. If a rug or piece of furniture is stinky, keep in mind that you might not be able to freshen it sufficiently. Your own pets might be tempted to further "mark" it as well.
Bedbugs and other insects can also be a consideration with these upholstered furniture, textiles, and old luggage as well. Thoroughly examine found objects for pests, including evidence of small rodents, before you bring them into your home.
You’ll also want to think about whether old household objects are safe for use rather than just decorating with them. For instance, is it safe to use red dinnerware for food consumption? And are older toys safe for your children to play with? Manufacturing requirements and safety concerns are different now than they were in days past. Be sure to do your research when you’re not sure about an older product’s safety by modern standards.
With some research and a bit of common sense, you’ll soon be keeping good company with some of the original reusers, recyclers and repurposers: antiquers.