When shopping for your home, charity shops might not be the first place that pops into your mind. IKEA, Homesense or Laura Ashley maybe, but probably not Cancer Research.

There are a lot of preconceptions about charity shops because many think that they’re just filled with crap that no one else wants while others assume that only old people shop in them.

Well, leave your assumptions at the door because times are changing because not only are charity shops filled with absolute gems, but it’s not just second-hand clothes you can find. Toys, vintage jewellery and most importantly — homeware, you can find pretty much anything.

So, if you fancy visiting your local charity shop to spruce up your home, but you’re not sure where to start or how to find great pieces, read on for my top tips.

Go frequently

Just like any high street shop, you’re not always going to find something you like on your first go, so don’t be put off if you come out empty-handed.

Remember, what a charity shop sells is entirely dependent on what people choose to donate, so while you might not like anything one week, next time, you could find exactly what you were looking for.

Location location location

Wealthy people’s trash might just be your treasure. It’s true that if you go to a charity shop in a richer area, you’re probably going to find more expensive things.

The problem? This isn’t a very well kept secret which means the price tag can sometimes reflect the location.

Yes, many charity shops are aware that bargain hunters will make the extra effort and take advantage of that by adding another zero to the price. Don’t let it deter you though, there are still plenty of shops that sell luxury items that you can buy for pennies.

Look for new things

Charity shops are no longer just home to second-hand things your nan might wear. There are many charities who have started selling brand new items, including Sue Ryder, who has just launched a new range of stunning chairs.

They’re brand new and completely on trend, but what’s better is that 100% of the profits are donated to helping provide person-centred hospice and neurological care. New (and beautiful) homeware while donating to a good cause? There’s nothing better than that!


It’s unlikely that you’ll walk into a charity shop and find something you love in perfect condition right off the bat. However, with a little DIY, you can turn most furniture into something that completely matches your style.

When shopping for second-hand furniture, focus on the structure and the shape rather than the finish or hardware. Handles can be changed, frames can be painted and tables can be restored, all for a reasonable price.

Especially when it comes to wooden furniture, it’s sometimes best to jazz up an old, but well-built, item then going to IKEA where things just aren’t quite as sturdy.

Keep an open mind

If you head into a charity shop with negative predispositions or a very specific idea of what you want, you’re probably going to walk out disappointed.

Instead, enter a charity shop with an open mind. Otherwise, you’ll probably wander straight passed an absolute gem that would have otherwise been perfect for your home.

Go to homeware specific stores

Your local charity shop might not have big furniture pieces, but a few charities have specific stores for second-hand furniture where you’ll find items both large and small. British Heart Foundation, Oxfam and Sue Ryder all have stores dedicated to finding treasures.

Take a large car with you though, because although you may not have been in the market for a mid-century wardrobe, you could find yourself walking out with one that you just couldn’t resist.

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