What makes your home unique? Chances are it’s the furnishings and accessories that have a story to tell. Maybe it’s a chair that came from an aunt, a table with the scratch marks of your life’s homework assignments, or an antique lamp that, you imagine, once lit the desk of a genius. Whatever it is, these are the pieces that make your house a home – the things that help your interior feel exactly right for you.
Sometimes these pieces are handed down, but more often they’re the fruit of some serious shopping. So if you’re looking for home décor with character, we know just where you should go. Forget the big box stores and catalog brands – you want beautiful, unique finds at reasonable prices. We’re not talking about antiques with high provenance, just solid, secondhand stuff with a story to tell and a lot of life left in it. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up six fave stops on our home shopping circuit – the places that go easiest on our wallet, help us reduce our consumption, and leave a mark on our homes in the best possible way. Check them all out whether you’re looking for something specific, or just want to be surprised. (One hint, though: Before you head out, check each for hours of operation; they frequently change seasonally, and stores may be closed one or more days per week.)
1. Chateau & Bungalow
The selection at Chateau & Bungalow (pictured at top) runs the gamut – at the moment they’re stocking vintage table linens, custom curtains, antique mantels, Wedgwood dishes, lamp shades, silver-plated platters and tea sets, dining tables in multiple styles, remnant fabrics, and much more. Categorically, the new and the consigned items here include home wares from rugs to lighting. (It’s also a great spot for secondhand designer clothing and accessories.) Owner Sarah Fernandez (who’s the sister of Puddingstone Post founder Meaghan O’Neill) wanted to provide people with an outlet for giving their valuable items new life – hopefully helping the planet a bit in the process, too. (Chateau & Bungalow, 106 William Street, Newport.)
Open seasonally, Trésor markets consignment furnishings and also conducts estate sales. The store’s Newport location offers fantastic upscale vintage furniture, but since the storefront is small, the selection of pieces here is well curated. Wares range from 18th-century to mid-century modern furniture, along with an impressive selection of vintage jewelry and high-end accessories – think sumptuous alligator and ostrich bags from brands like Chanel, Judith Leiber, and Lana Marks. Prices here reflect the quality of the items, but are a great value. (Trésor, 134 Spring Street, Newport.)
3. St. Paul’s Thrift Shop
This bare-bones shop is located just outside of downtown Newport – making it a lot easier to load your purchases into your vehicle. Stocking the usual items such as couches, side chairs, dining room sets, and endless amounts of vintage glassware, St. Paul’s also sells new mattresses well below market prices. Keep your eyes open for some really amazing wood furniture and the occasional pristinely upholstered sofa; plus, if you’re up for digging through the racks, you might find a great fur coat or enviable vintage accessories. Looking to offload items you no longer need? St. Paul’s offers free pick up for donations. (St. Paul’s Thrift Shop, 326 Broadway, Newport.)
4. Eagle’s Nest Antique Center
The Eagle’s Nest Antique Center boats 5,000 square feet of browsing pleasure, and a friendly staff to boot. Doris, Denise, and Evelyn will help you find whatever it is that you’re looking for, from original Lilly Pulitzer tennis skirts and lacy Victorian dresses to antique fire extinguishers, vintage pennant flags, gorgeous gateleg tables, and much, much more. This spot is as much an homage to the past as it a place to shop, so bring your sense of history and start digging through the treasures. (Eagle’s Nest Antique Center, 3101 East Main Road, Portsmouth.)
Launched by a former wallpaper and fabric designer, the treasure trove that is Rē is a feast for the eyes. The highly curated, if eclectic, merchandise here has a totally personal touch – you’ll never feel like you’re in a typical furniture showroom. The North Kingstown shop specializes in estate liquidation and buyouts (though the owners occasionally sell on consignment) and though they don’t specialize in any particular era, their eye for great design is obvious. Rē has more artwork than most galleries; avid art fans will want to stop by frequently, and stay abreast of philanthropic events with local artists. You’ll also find estate jewelry, lighting, wonderful objets, and other ephemera here. One frequent customer described the shop as having “New York–style things at not New York prices.” Pro tip: Loyal customers know that stopping in to the brick and mortar shop may result in better prices than shopping online. (Rē, 7512 Post Road, North Kingstown.)
6. Corner Cupboard
With its relaxed atmosphere and incredible prices, Corner Cupboard, which deals mostly in home furnishings and country-charm antiques, has been a local favorite since 1990. And with dance-worthy 60s and 70s tunes on heavy rotation, it’s not unusual to see shoppers swaying to the beat here. Because items are priced to sell, many regulars pop in daily, especially if they’re on the lookout for something specific, and many pieces leave the same day they come into the store. Corner Cupboard’s hottest item? Bureaus. They stock a ton of them and they’re almost always in superb condition. (835 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown; 401-294-4720.)
Read More: Where to Shop in Newport, R.I.
Where do you go to find your favorite thrifty housewares? Let us know in the comments!