Kellie Brown Shares Secondhand Shopping Tips That Help Elevate Your Interior Design
Learn how to thrift your way to a home you love.
For Kellie Brown, style is all down to curation. The content creator and founder of And I Get Dressed and Deeply Madly Modern, and the co-founder of Plus Size Friendly, got her start in the early days of blogging.
In recent years, Brown’s understanding of aesthetics has propelled her into the world of interior design—and to create effective ensembles and striking spaces, Brown relies on vintage pieces and secondhand shopping.
“I love to incorporate vintage, I think it elevates every space,” says Brown. Unlike those who prefer an instant gratification experience—a feature of our culture that she notes is fairly prevalent—Brown prefers to play the long game, taking the time (and fostering the patience) to hunt down treasures that hold value in both story and style.
“I think that with shopping—especially if you really want to curate your home—if you just go for what's available quickly, it’s never going to be as good as if you're a patient and you're actually collecting,” says Brown. Factor in durability and affordability, and the decision to treasure hunt becomes an easy one.
Along with lending to a unique atmosphere, shopping secondhand for your home comes with some serious sustainability benefits. Furniture accounts for about 5% of what's brought to landfill—the EPA estimates that nearly 10 million tons are dumped annually.
“I think looking back is always a great way, in any art form, to be inspired,” says Brown. “As we talk about things like climate change and other really terrifying things in the world, [shopping secondhand is] this small way to reduce our own footprint.”
Here, Brown shares her top three tips for sourcing secondhand pieces for your home.
Kellie Brown’s Top Secondhand Shopping Tips for Interior Design
1. You're Allowed to Change Your Mind
"Furniture is not a tattoo, it is not permanent," says Brown. "You're allowed to change your mind, especially when you're buying secondhand." Brown suggests trying pieces in different rooms, rearranging, and not being too hard on yourself if you don't find the perfect home for a piece right away.
"I picked out this item—and it's good. I don't know where it goes yet. Or it's not living its best life in my living room. Maybe this is better suited for my office," she says. In short, it's more about collecting curated pieces than defining static spaces.
2. Get to Know Your Vibe
Know thyself—and thy style. If you don't know where to start, Brown recommends looking to your closet.
"I feel like your wardrobe is such an indicator for your personal tastes," says Brown. "Do you like things really cozy? Are you into things being structured? Are you like tailoring? Are you into color? Are you into neutrals? Are you more whimsical?"
Brown adds that looking at how you piece together outfits can help you understand your own takes on color, patterns, texture, and proportion. "All of those things are kind of the identifying markers of what I think is going to make the room feel most like you, because it's very subjective, she says. "There's no good or bad—it's just more like, what's attractive to your eye. It's your house at your home. You get to love it."
3. Everything Is Aesthetic (And Aesthetic Is Everything)
Once you hone in on what you like, that self-understanding can extend to everything, infusing all of your spaces with an individualized air.
"I feel like a lot of people lean into function, like 'Oh, I just got this desk because I needed a surface,' or 'Oh, I just got this because I just needed a whatever.' There's a cute version," says Brown.
"You're allowed to love everything in your home, including utilitarian items. Everything gets to be the way that you want it because there's some version, whether it's used or new, that fits aesthetically into your space."
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