10 Thrifted Décor Ideas for Your Garden
Having a fun garden that expresses your style doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are ten ideas for using thrifted and vintage décor to add character to your outdoor and indoor garden spaces
Some of the most popular scenes from our annual Gardener’s Idea Book through the years have been those centered around items we’ve picked up at thrift stores, flea markets and antique shops across the country. These are things anyone can accomplish given a can of paint, a hot glue gun and your average set of tools. It’s all about training your creative eye to see things for what they could be, not for what they are when you find them.
Here are ten unique garden decor ideas for your outdoor and indoor spaces that use upcycled and thrifted items.
Bring new life to old items with a fresh coat of paint.
What speaks to you most in this California patio scene? For us, it’s the vibrant coral and turquoise paint colors coupled with bold blooms that bring this space to life. Don’t be afraid of using strong colors to transform a ho-hum outdoor space into a fun atmosphere you’ll really want to live in.
Look closer at all of the thrifted items this homeowner collected to decorate this space. Various vintage columns and tables become plant supports, while a screen creates a colorful backdrop for a table for two. Supertunia® petunias, Luscious® lantana, Golden Butterfly® Argyranthemum, ColorBlaze® coleus and succulents provide a brilliant finishing touch.
Reimagine and repurpose thrifted items into something new.
It’s time to get your DIY skills on and breathe new life into items that could serve a different purpose. Here, a simple piece of plywood was coated with sheet moss using a hot glue gun. Then, wire flower baskets were screwed to the wood and filled with brim with all sorts of goodies. Everything from Berried Treasure® strawberries to succulents, trailing ivy, Superbells® calibrachoa and Supertunia petunias are planted here.
In place of a traditional serving table, a pair of matching nightstands were set under a small table painted to match. Pots of Superbells Double Orchid calibrachoa and Supertunia Latte™ petunias spilled from the top drawers while the bottom drawers were removed to hold more containers and serving plates. A collection of vintage glassware served up a few sweet treats on the table top. See more of this DIY project here.
Dine al fresco on your vintage-inspired patio.
When it comes to vintage-inspired décor, it’s not about being matchy-matchy. This space would have had a much more formal feel if every chair matched the table, and if they were all made of metal or vinyl. Mismatched wooden chairs and soft pastel tones create a much softer, warmer ambiance.
Hanging baskets filled with Supertunia petunias and party lights are suspended from the top of the pergola for the occasion with thrifted tabletop décor in coordinating colors below. If you’re planning to try this for an upcoming party, be sure to water your baskets well before you hang them so you won’t have to worry about needing to do so once the table is set.
Anything that holds soil can be a container.
While you’re out thrifting, keep your creative eye peeled for anything that could be repurposed into a planter. If it holds soil and you can put a hole in the bottom of it to let the water drain, you can use it to grow plants. Using non-traditional flower pots in your thrifted garden adds instant character.
Here, vintage glass globes from light fixtures were repurposed into planters filled with Goldilocks creeping Jenny. A diamond-tipped drill bit labeled for cutting through glass will work for making a drainage hole in the bottom.
Make your own yard art out of vintage glassware.
Do you ever go to garage sales or flea markets and see all kinds of beautiful glassware that you know you don’t need but can’t bear to pass up? Consider repurposing it into yard art like the glass flowers you see here or a butterfly puddler or bird bath. Glass yard art is a fun way to add whimsy to your garden. Plus, glass flowers never go out of bloom!
This has become a popular DIY thrifted garden craft and you’ll find many YouTube videos on how best to assemble them. Be sure to use an industrial strength glue like E-600 that is rated for glass or ceramic and is waterproof.
Use woven baskets as quick pot covers for special occasions.Woven baskets are something many of us have on hand already, but if not, they are easy to find and often reasonably priced at garage sales and flea markets. A quick way to dress up a space when you’re having friends over is to slip your plants right into the baskets, using them as pot covers. That way, all of your containers look coordinated.
You could also plant directly into a woven basket if you keep a few considerations in mind. First, the basket will likely last a single season outdoors, so be sure to use one you’re willing to part with. Second, you’ll need to line the basket with plastic and add holes in the bottom for drainage. Third, set the basket in place first, then plant into it. Otherwise, the bottom could break out if you try to move it after it is filled with moist soil and plants.
Old brass pots take on new garden glamour.
Brass may not be as popular as it once was as indoor home décor, but that makes it easier to find at antique shops. Brass urns, fireside ash bins and candlesticks can easily be repurposed into planters and plant stands with a rustic glamour flair. Let them tarnish in the elements—it adds character. If using as a cache pot there’s no need for a drainage hole, but be sure to add one if you plan to plant directly into them.
In this scene, a warm color palette was selected for the flowers and fabrics to help this space feel more welcoming and cozier. Supertunia Honey™ petunias, ColorBlaze Sedona Sunset® and Royale Apple Brandy® coleus, dahlias and Vertigo® grass complement the metallic tones of the brass urns.
Thrifted décor can look modern. It’s not all about chippy paint.
When you think of the words “vintage” or “thrifted”, a certain antique style might come to mind. But not all thrifted décor has to have a “broken in” look. Items with smooth texture, symmetrical shape, solid color or geometric patterns can take on a more modern feel.
How about repurposing thrifted PVC pipe into planters like you see here? It’s popular to use clay chimney stacks to get this look, they are rather pricey. Plastic PVC scrap can be purchased for far less and be used in a similar way. You’ll need to add a false bottom in the taller columns or slip in a pot with a lip that hangs over the top of the pipe. Connect a group of them using waterproof silicone or epoxy adhesive for stability. Here, Supertunia Bordeaux™ petunias, Meteor Shower® verbena and fiber optic grass spill from the tops of the pipes.
Thrifted décor works for indoor gardens, too.
Create continuity from your outdoor garden to your indoor spaces by including thrifted or vintage pieces in both places. The same kinds of repurposed pots that hold your petunias on your patio can also hold your pothos in your sunroom. There are even more options for repurposing items for indoors where you won’t have to worry about them being exposed to the elements. Keep an open mind when perusing a flea market. Try to envision a new use for an old cabinet or birdcage.
See how plants soften all the hard edges of the objects in this scene? The green tones of all the different kinds of plants pull the eclectic decor together into one cohesively designed space. Just be sure to choose plants that can handle the lower light levels they will receive indoors compared to outside. See more of this scene here.
Explore your quirky side.
Thrifted garden décor is meant to be quirky and expressive. As in the example with all the different chairs gathered around the dining table, it’s not supposed to all match. Use this as an opportunity to bring unique character to your indoor and outdoor garden spaces.
The invention of computer software systems rendered card catalogs from libraries across North America useless. Why not repurpose them into plant holders? Old test tubes and glassware from high school science labs make unique terrariums. Chunky old picture frames collected at flea markets can be filled with botanical prints torn from vintage wildflower books. Lay a durable old oriental rug on the floor to ground the space in rich history. Anything goes when you’re curating your vintage botanical space.
- Learn more about all of the plants you’ve seen on this page.
- Explore our creative project-based site, Proven Beauty.
- Save ideas from our Pinterest page.