As much as I love shopping at the popular, big-name home goods stores to furnish my apartment, there's something to be said about discovering those hidden gems nobody else has. They add a touch of personality and layer in a unique flair to my space that I can't achieve with a trip to a cheap mass chain. For items like these, I turn to estate sales. Sure, they carry a wide range of antiques, but they also have quite a bit of modern, on-trend, and affordable pieces that align perfectly with my sleek and minimal aesthetic.
From coffee-table accents to bedroom staples, I've scored several fresh finds at unbelievable prices over the years — ones that always seem to bring in the compliments and elicit questions from my houseguests. With a little online perusing of your own, you can easily add similar pieces to your own home; most of them are only lightly used and listed at a fraction of the price you would find elsewhere. Below are my top five items to look for:
1. Brass fruit bowl
Gold accessories are a surefire way to add a luxe touch to your space. I love using a sleek brass bowl to stack seasonal fruits in the center of the dining table, display atop a stack of books on a beautifully styled bookshelf, or corral a growing matchbook collection on the coffee table. New designer bowls can go for upward of $100, but you can find plenty of similar options for around $20.
2. Coffee-table book
Show off your interests and personality through a collection of carefully curated coffee-table books. Through the years, I've found a wide variety of interesting titles, from one on midcentury architecture to one on vintage Vogue covers. While book prices can vary based on their edition and condition, I find that it's rare for most gently used versions to surpass $30.
3. Gold-framed mirror
Whether it's in the entryway or in the bedroom, an ornate gold-toned mirror makes a subtle statement. I like dressing up my vanity with a little metallic sheen, especially when it's juxtaposed with more streamlined black and white pieces. You can easily score a decent-sized mirror for yourself for under $60.
4. Wooden bistro chair
A standalone bistro chair, like a midcentury bentwood design, placed against a wall is a great way to add visual interest and asymmetry to a space. Try using it as a nightstand on one side of the bed, to stack books and a vase of flowers in the living room, or, my favorite, to display a great handbag or a favorite pair of heels by the door. With a bit of patience, you can snag one for as little as $30 compared to the new designer ones that cost hundreds.
5. Delicate glassware
From small dishes to beautiful Champagne flutes, glassware is always a timeless and sophisticated addition to your home — and one that you can make for just a few dollars apiece. I love scattering the dishes throughout the house to hold things like jewelry, keys, coins, and bobby pins, while my collection of vintage coupes add a fresh contrast to my modern bar cart. The more mismatched, the better!
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