Thrifts stores are the best.
I have a confession to make. I'm totally that gal who likes everything in my home to be just so (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that before). I get it from my grandma and in some ways I kind of like it because it helps me to have a pretty great apartment (with some really neat stuff). A while back, I bought this awesome owl cookie jar. When I decided to put it in the kitchen, Mr. T and I didn't really know where to put it. It's kind of large and we don't have a lot of counter space. Seriously, why don't people give you a double sink when you don't have a dishwasher?
We played around with so many ideas and decided to look for a piece of furniture to put in this weird blank space we have in the kitchen. There's this awesome antique store near us and Mr. T talked me into going there first. IKEA is quite a trip and, honestly, I kind of hate furnishing our whole apartment with that stuff (so he made a really good suggestion).
We walked around for a really long time. That's the thing about antique stores. They're huge and have a lot of stuff. We toyed with so many ideas including utilizing furniture we already have and buying something different. It was taking forever and I was afraid we wouldn't find anything.
Then we found these two tables which weren't what we were looking for (no counter space or storage). However, when we brought them home I fell in love. We put one in the kitchen and then one in our living room and they really add something to our décor. It makes it feel kind of rustic and unique which I love.
We've since moved things around some to make room for our new toaster oven. I was forced to go to IKEA (lame). But we found room for the tables in other parts of the apartment which makes the finds even more awesome. Obviously this was definitely an antique store success, but it can be overwhelming and frustrating. It's definitely worth it though. So here are a few tips help make it as awesome as possible.
Look everywhere. Don't Give Up. Antique stores often have stuff stuck in weird places so you really have to pay attention and make sure you're looking at all kinds of nooks and crannies.
Do the rounds. Mr. T and I found these tables out in front. We had already looked in front. Twice. But we decided to give it a go one more time. You never know when people are bringing in stuff or when new items are being put out so taking a second look never hurts.
Think outside the box. Just because it's a dresser doesn't mean it has to be a dresser. Mr. T and I are currently using a dresser I bought at this same store as a TV stand. Things can have many uses so use your imagination a little. You can also paint, refinish, reupholster, etc.
Be prepared to spend time browsing. What you're looking for might not just jump out at you. It might take a couple of rounds before you even notice anything that catches your eye. Make sure you plenty of time to thoroughly check out the merchandise.
Bring a measuring tape (and measurements). This isn't IKEA. There are no boxes that tell you exactly how big it is. Things also aren't set up the way they would be in your apartment. Furniture is often crammed and stacked into really tight spaces so make sure you have your measurements and way to measure the merchandise. (Side note: they will often have a measuring tape too, so don't be afraid to ask).
Look for the deals. Every antique store I've ever been in has some stash that's lower priced than anything else. Sometimes it's not a collectible. Sometimes it’s not as fancy. Sometimes it's just not in high demand. You can find some really amazing steals in there so be sure to check it out.
Don't be afraid to bargain. My mom and I snagged my dresses (that's now our TV stand) for like half off all because it had a hutch on it and I didn't want it. You never know when someone might knock down a price for something. Things can also be combined (two dressers, matching pieces, etc.) for even bigger steals. Don't be afraid to try to make a deal.