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Thrifting in Florida: Tips for How to Hunt for the Best Deals

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

street in st. augustine

Oh, the exhilarating hunt for a vintage bargain can be so satisfying. The journey that you venture on to find a unique piece can be a story in itself.

This is why my mom once explained to me that the thrill is in the hunt for the bargain which is why so many people get excited when they finally discover something that can be difficult to find. This is what makes thrifting so much fun!

woman holding antique jar

I've always enjoyed looking for bargains, whether thrifting or visiting a discount store of some kind.

I was introduced to antiquing at a young age, so I feel like I've acquired an appreciation for older craftsmanship and the stories associated with antiques. Every time I would visit my dad and stepmom, they would take me to antique stores and the occasional flea market. I have to laugh because we were particular about shopping at flea markets. The flea markets had to have older, junkier items, versus new items that you could buy from the big box stores. What's the fun in that?

antiques on a porch

Then again, we enjoyed the thrill of the hunt at the flea market, whether that was digging in old boxes or digging to find the next piece of buried treasure hiding under an old lampshade. The junkier the vendor stall looked, the more excited I got.

So if you were brought up antiquing like me, then you have come to appreciate a good bargain when you see it.

antique brown dresser

However, I've moved away from my childhood antiquing days. I feel like antiques can be extremely overpriced and more delicate. What's fun in hunting for expensive goods that can easily break? Well maybe money is no object for some, but I've always come from the school of thought that if I can buy it less expensive and I know it's well made, then why not try to hunt for it?

Nowadays, I'm always on the lookout for fun pieces that will accentuate my Florida decor. For example, I love the decor at the Gasparilla Inn. The Old Florida charm and shines through with white rattan and textured fabrics.

florida coastal decor at the gasparilla inn

Speaking of Florida decor, have you ever tried to describe your decorating style, but you just can't find the descriptive words to explain your current decor trend? I definitely struggle with this since I tend to swap out pieces on the regular.

Whenever my husband sees a thrift store bag in the house, he reminds me, that I change our house decorations every month (which is totally false by the way).

nesting tables

However, I would describe my current situation on the home front as decorating with lots of rattan, blue and white chinoiserie, gold/brass items, traditional pieces, and regency-like accents. Soooo maybe I would describe my thrifting decor as a Southern coastal style with touches of Florida vintage.

woman looking at clothes

Thrifting for clothes in Florida

Some people thrift for clothes in Florida which can be really fun! I've picked up a vintage Hawaiian dress and a vintage 1960s beaded tunic which is perfect for dressing in Florida style.

In the future, I will definitely keep hunting for fun clothing finds, but I'm more well-versed in the art of thrifting home decor pieces.

couch at the gasparilla inn

Thrifting Tips in Florida

So now that you know how I'm decorating, I'm going to give you tips for thrifting in Florida and what to keep an eye out for.

  • First, you need to take an inventory and see what you need. Notice how I said need instead of want? Because more than likely you always need that new side table for the living room or the vintage wicker hutch.

  • Next, start shopping around your local area thrift stores. There are many church thrift stores that offer great finds at decent prices. Sometimes, local hospitals have thrift stores in which you can find great bargains.

  • Whenever I visit a new thrift store, I ask when they have discount days and when they receive large shipments (if any). Smaller thrift stores will receive truckloads from larger stores.

  • Rotate thrift stores on different days a week. This ensures that you are maximizing your time on making your rounds.

What to look for when thrifting in Florida?

This is highly personalized but when I thrift in Florida for decor pieces, I always look for natural wood decor pieces. This could be a bamboo tray or anything rattan. I love finding neat rattan chairs that you can place in a corner of the home.

blue and white ceramic lamp

I tend to purchase blue and white chinoiserie items. If there is a blue and white lamp shaped like a ginger jar, my heart skips a beat. I love finding ginger jar lamps with white lampshades. I've always wondered why people buy lamps brand new when you can find an original lamp for half the price.

seashells in a fireplace

Let's talk shells. Shells can be a great decorating piece plus they look just about anywhere in a Florida home. I tend to look for large conch shells to display on coffee tables and console tables around my home. They look great when sitting on top of a stack of books or perched on a hutch.

beach landscape painting

I always keep an eye out for original Florida landscape paintings. Preferably oil or acrylic but I've seen very nice watercolor paintings too. I always enjoy adding to my collection because paintings are visually appealing on walls and they can be great conversation starters. Sometimes I paint my own landscapes like the one above.

vintage rattan dining chair

When I'm on the lookout for furniture there are only a few styles that I will consider in my Florida home. I love the look of faux bamboo accents so I tend to gravitate to furniture items that encompass vintage Florida but not too kitschy. For example, buffets or side tables with faux bamboo are perfect accents to make your home more coastal. Some top brands for this furniture style are Broyhill and Henry Link.

Another style I like to incorporate is bamboo chairs, specifically the Chippendale style, and anything with cane accents (think cane headboards or a cane side chair).

Incorporating natural elements like rattan, bamboo, and cane will bring a casual style to your Florida coastal home.

Online Thrifting for Florida Vintage

A good rule of thumb is to check online if you're looking for something specific. For example, I've been "on the hunt" for a faux bamboo server in my dining room, but I just haven't found the perfect piece for the right price.

I'm so excited to share with you the amazing businesses that I've discovered through social media that specialize in thrifting vintage Florida pieces:

I highly recommend looking at their wonderful finds because every piece is truly inspirational.

Thrifting can be so much fun in Florida! Especially if you are hunting for decorating items that exemplify Southern style but with a Florida twist. Happy thrifting!

Let me know in the comments if there are items that you always keep an eye out for while thrifting. Do you tend to thrift for clothing items or fun decorating pieces? I would love to know!

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Hello! I'm Tiffany, a creative writer, mother to three awesome kids, and Floridian. We live in beautiful Naples, Florida and we love to go boating, visit Florida beaches, small quaint towns, Florida State Parks, and of course Disney! I like to write about our travel adventures and provide tips to other families traveling or relocating to the Sunshine State.


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