How to Decorate for Summer: 34 Ideas to Thrift for Summer Decor

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Summer can be overlooked as a decor season, yet it is one of my favorites!  Check out 34 things that I always look for when I thrift for summer home decor!​

Do you love to go thrifting?  I think it’s kind of one of those things that you either just absolutely love to do or you just really don’t enjoy it at all.  Both are fine and you can have amazing home decor either way!  For me, though, half of the fun is the hunt!

I admit it.  I get ridiculously excited over a great thrifted find!  You too?!

Seasonal decor, in my opinion, is a great thing to hunt for in thrift stores, vintage markets, flea markets, and those kind of second-hand places.  I am happy to invest in pieces that I know I can and will use year-round.  When it comes to decor that is only going to be out for a short season, I love to get a great deal.

I have been able to thrift for summer decor over the years with some luck and there are several things that I always watch for now.  Let’s check them out and see if we can add anything to YOUR thrift store hunting list!

Thrifting with the Gals

Before I dive into my favorite summer thrifted finds, let me introduce you to my monthly blog, Thrifting with the Gals!  I love joining with vintage and thrift-loving friends from around the country to share our favorite decor ideas.  Of course, we are all using thrifted and vintage finds!

If you’re not following each of these amazing bloggers, you’ll want to start NOW!  They have incredible finds every month and we love sharing together!

Now, who’s ready to thrift for your summer decor with me?!

How can I decorate my living room in summer?

Thrifted finds are perfect for summer decorating.  Often, they have a casual look that can fit nicely into your summer vibe.

Here are some of my favorite categories of items to thrift for summer decorating:

  1. straw hats
  2. coastal inspired pieces
  3. shells
  4. baskets
  5. art
  6. books
  7. free objects from nature
  8. colored glass
  9. architectural salvage
  10. patriotic decor

Throughout this post, I’ll share specific ideas for each category and help you build your own summer decor shopping list!

34 Affordable Items You’ll Want to Thrift for Summer Decor

How to decorate on a budget?

Go thrifting!  Let’s look at some great ideas for 10 categories of items.  Then you can build your summer thrifting list for home decor!

How to decorate a room for summer?

Living in Florida, it’s just about a given that I would add some vintage coastal to my decor for summer.  Even though coastal decor can sometimes get a less-than reputation for being a little cheesy, there are great ways to incorporate even subtle touches into summer decorating.  However, you probably do not want to break the bank on shells, right?

Thrifting Tip #1: Add some thrifted shells!  

This will surprise you, but my best thrifted shells are not from Florida at all.  In fact, I found the best thrifted ones off the beaten path in South Carolina.  They were laying outside the antique shop on a weather-beaten table, covered in layers of dirt, and cost me $2-6 dollars each…for BIG ones!  Without a doubt, a great thrifted find.

You may have to pay more than that, but watch for shells year-round at thrift stores, yard sales, and the dusty antique mall corners!  Even if your summer decor style isn’t coastal, a pretty dough bowl with sea shells or a simple conch shell resting atop a stack of vintage books can give just the perfect, casual summer vibe without shouting “beach house”!  (Though I happen to think that is perfectly fun also!)

One of my favorite summer thrifted finds is a huge planter that is shaped and textured like a shell.  I think it was $6 at the thrift shop and it makes such a fun statement for a simple coffee table arrangement!

Thrift for Summer Decor #2: Baskets

I hope you don’t get tired of my thrifted baskets but they are just so fun.  Open-air vintage markets this spring held some lucky finds for me and I added several baskets to my collection of spring and summer decor.  If you want to thrift for summer decor, baskets are a perfect start!

Plus, they are perfect to tuck away the summer clutter and keep your home as low-maintenance as possible for the summer months.  Baskets make for quick clean up at the end of a long summer day.  After that, you can just enjoy more time relaxing and making memories with your family!

Thrift for Summer Decor #3: Art

This is one of my favorites. However, if you are a true art collector or really know your art, you may scroll down to #4.  Haha!

I am 100% honest that the only real thing I know about art is that I just know what I like when I see it!

Whether on a gallery wall, leaning against the wall on a mantel, or tucked into a vignette on a shelf, art is a wonderful thing that you can thrift for summer decor!  I definitely don’t want to spend a lot of money on art that is going to switched around.  The great news is that you can thrift for summer decor by watching the art section in thrift stores and looking for cute, small art pieces in vintage and antique shops too.

I always flip through the crates of art at flea markets and have found some really wonderful pieces that way.  It is fairly common to find old prints or even paintings of the ocean or sketches of sailboats.  Tuck one of these into your regular decor for an instant summer vibe!

Thrift for Summer Decor #4: Books

You didn’t possibly think I would make it through a post about how to thrift for summer decor without including books, right?!  Books are a perfect way to add simple seasonal touches.  They can also add seasonal color to your decor!  I love using blues in the summer, so I am always watching for pretty, faded blue books.

Another idea to thrift for summer decor is to watch for book titles that have to do with summer, the ocean or sea, or boats.  I picked up this book of ship sketches for a few dollars at a vintage market.  Just layering that title into my decor gives an instant summer vibe, however, still in a subtle way.

How do you make decor look expensive on a budget?

Seasonal objects are so fun, yet something that I try to catch a good deal on whenever possible!  Thrift stores, flea markets, and vintage finds are a perfect place to look for great deals and thrift for summer decor.  

Thrifted Summer Decor #5: Free items from nature!

I shared with you about my inexpensive thrifted seashells.  However, I also have a lot of shells that the kids have collected over the years, totally free!

Look around and use free decor from nature whenever you can!  It’s great because it’s free but it’s also Mother Nature’s seasonal decor, which is always the best inspiration.  For example, I love to bring in fresh branches from our palm trees.  After all, it is the one season where my trees actually are the right season for the rest of the country!

Here are a few free items you may find in the summer:

  • shells
  • driftwood
  • wildflowers
  • palm branches
  • tree branches
  • pretty rocks
  • What other ideas can you add?!


Thrifted Summer Decor #6: Straw Hats

I admit it; I’m on a bit of a straw hat kick right now.  However, they are easy to store and easy to find at thrift shops.  I recently picked up a few more at a vendor market, all for such great deals!  Whether you add a straw hat to a peg rail or add a collection of them to a wall, they help tell the story of casual summer days, just in from the beach or fun outing at the lake.  That sounds like a lovely summer story to me!

Next time you’re out to thrift for summer decor, keep an eye out for a cute hat or two.  You’ll have so much fun adding them into your summer decor!

Thrift for Summer Decor #7: Glass

This may sound like an odd item to include in my top 7 things to thrift for summer decor, but when I look back at some of my favorite summer decor, there are always thrifted glass elements.  For example, vintage bottles with hues of blue and green add just a touch of that light, summer vibe.  Glass cloches are perfect to cover a favorite shell or collection of shells from a beach trip.  At the same time, old apothecary bottles make the perfect vase for a freshly cut palm branch or bright summer flowers.

All of these items I mentioned are ones I’ve found at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, and vendor markets!  Almost all of them have been significantly budget-friendly (though a few of my cloches have been investment pieces because I used them year round).  However, one of my favorite cloches was a yard sale find for $1!

Glass is a great way to bring in a light and bright look to your decor.  If it is thrifted, even better, because I don’t worry too much about the late night hide and seek games that could knock something over!

Thrift for Summer Decor #8: Coastal inspired items

Nothing says summer decor like a few touches of coastal charm!  Remember, you don’t have to go full-blown nautical in order to achieve a subtle nod to summer days at the beach!  In fact, the trend is strong right now to include objects that represent the coastal look without being too themed.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for thrifted coastal objects:

  • brass figures such as boats, shells, and swans
  • straw hats
  • seascape art
  • seashells
  • old oars
  • baskets
  • picnic items
  • straw bags or cute beach bags
  • sea sponges
  • pieces of coral
  • sailboat art
  • items made with driftwood
  • items with a cane or rattan finish


Thrift for Summer Decor #9: Architectural Salvage

You all already know how much I love architectural salvage, right?!  I definitely use it year round.  However, in the summer, I love to pull out some of my favorite pieces with blue and gray tones or chippy paint.

These simple touches of color help tell the story of summer beach days throughout our home!

I love these old hotel ledger pages I found at an outdoor market.  Using some $6 architectural salvage pieces, I made DIY poster holders!  Get my simple tutorial HERE!

Then, watch for some small architectural salvage pieces to make your own seasonal DIY picture holders!  You could even display favorite photographs from your summer travels!


Thrift for Summer Decor #10: Patriotic Decor

Summer is the perfect time to pull out the red, white, and blue decor!  I love finding holiday decor when thrifting.  Since I don’t leave my patriotic decor out for the entire summer, I get especially excited to find great deals on pieces I can mix into my summer decor.

I picked up these old flags when visiting family in Alaska.  They have 49 stars, which makes them a fun piece of history.  Plus, they were only $6 each!

Here are a few ideas to look for when thrifting that you can use for patriotic decor:

  • flags
  • red gingham textiles
  • blue or red striped fabrics, like tablecloths or pillow covers
  • red or blue dishes
  • red or blue pottery
  • twinkling lights (perfect for a July 4th party!)
  • patriotic serving dishes for entertaining
  • star baskets (I feel like I see these often!)
  • Americana signs
  • vintage pictures of Presidents or historical figures
  • Presidential silhouettes
  • vintage military photographs



How can I decorate my house on a budget?

Now you know the answer!  It’s time to go thrifting, hit up those summer flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, auctions, and vintage markets!

So…are you ready to go thrifting?!  If you’re like me, that is a big yes, always! I hope this gives you a few ideas to add to your thrifting list and even better, to shop your own home as you create some really simple styles for your summer decor!

Have fun and happy thrifting!!!

Next, I want you to hop over and visit these blogging friends.  You’ll love what they’ve found to share this month, their decor tips, and DIY ideas too!

Rachel from The Pond’s Farmhouse

Cindy from County Road 407

Kristin from White Arrows Home

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











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