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How to Find Amazing Decor Items at Antique Shops

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

You know I love a good hunt if you’ve been reading my blogs. I feel that every blank space has the perfect companion. Sometimes that’s a new item, sometimes a custom-made item, and sometimes it’s a treasure found at an antique shop.

Our house is very urban industrial. We love antiquing, and most of the items that adorn our home were not created for the purpose it now serves.

One of my favorite items in our home is three reclaimed crate sides with big metal washers and bolts. I stack them three high in our entryway, setting the stage for the rest of our home. These pieces were definitely not built to decorate our house, but they fit our home so perfectly.

Entry decor with box crate sides

Now, I’m not a “shopper for shopping sake“ type of person. Actually, I do not enjoy shopping if I don’t have something I need or want in mind. Believe it or not, each piece in our home was purchased for a specific purpose in mind. You see, when Chris and I got together, we decided to find a style that fit us both for our home. Instead of trying to mesh my belongings with his, we started with a clean slate because we wanted the house to be OUR home. The first piece we purchased, an antique coffee grinder, actually set the stage for our home decorating adventure over the next seven years.

Coffee Grinder

Preparing for the hunt

It has taken us quite a few years to get our home to where we want it. We would have an empty space, a general concept in mind, and then we would set out on the hunt. Sometimes we would strike gold and find the perfect piece; other times, we would strike out and decide to try another day. I’ve never been one to buy something that I didn’t fall in love with. If I didn’t love it in the store, the odds are that I would still not love it five years down the road and will be hunting to replace it.

A good example would be the curtain rods in my new master bedroom. Moving into a new home means a lot of small purchases. Window coverings were one of those items. I had a picture of what I wanted it to look like With white wood blinds, creamy linen curtains, and a pewter rod. I found the perfect blinds and curtains, but the rod was something I settled on.

Master Bedroom Decor

The rod I settled on was the only pewter one, in that size, I could find at the time. It’s too narrow of a rod for the curtain and compared to the other items in the room it just feel out of place. So, this is an example of buying something I didn’t love. They say you’re heart grows fonder with time - that does not apply to home decor. I will be replacing these sad, tiny rods soon.

At this moment I am on the hunt for a piece to go on the wall, across from my tub, for my bathroom.

Master bathroom wall
Master bath with a sad, empty space :(

As you can see, I have a lot of dark wood and bright whites in this room. That wall is a little over eight feet long, so it needs to be a pretty substantial piece to keep it from feeling out of place. I also want something white or metal to offset all the reclaimed barn wood and walnut placed around the room.

Finding the perfect piece

Now that I have a rough idea of the look I am going for, I can head out to see what we find. In my previous blog, 4 Things to Consider When Making a Purchase, I mentioned I might have a slight idea of what I am looking for, but overall I try to be open-minded and let the piece speak to me. It will tell me it’s the perfect piece!

This past weekend Chris and I set out to find that perfect piece for the bathroom. What I love about going antiquing is not always the treasures I bring home but the ideas I get from roaming the endless isles of the antique shops.

Our journey this past weekend began at one of our favorite spots. You see, Ozark, Missouri, has quite a few antique shops scattered around, but just off the highway, tucked down a hill behind two gas stations, is an antiquers playland. With eight antique and specialty shops to explore, you are bound to find something you like. Our first stop was at Keen Eye.

Keen Eye is such an eclectic little shop with a wide variety of items. We have bought anything from old tools to duck decoys at this shop throughout the years. It’s one of our favorite lazy Sunday places to go.

Old door at keen eye
Found at Keen Eye

This trip, I fell in love with this little door. The little metal scrolling in the window panes reminded me of an old screen door on my grandmother’s house when I was a child. A piece like this would be an amazing starting spot for a big empty wall. Paired with greenery or big soft side woven baskets with blankets hanging over the side, it would warm up any space. Alas, though, this door was not destined for my home. Although I loved the door, it would not work in my envisioned space. It is a variance in color to the rest of the room, and it does have the metal that might help offset the wood in the room. It is a bit too rustic for the spa experience I am going for in my master bath.

Our next stop was Ozarks Antiques and Collectibles, just around the corner from Keen Eye. This is another place we have found many treasures, including the crate sides I spoke about at the beginning of this blog.

Most days, the items at this antique mall are a lot more rustic, so I didn’t hold out high hopes in finding the perfect piece here for our bathroom. But I will never turn down the opportunity to go look inside.

Although I did not see the perfect piece here, I did see some fantastic finds.

Picket fence at Ozarks Antiques
Found at Ozarks Anitques

For instance, this picket fence can make a great headboard for a little girl's room. Paired with a frilly, plush comforter, oversized throw pillows, and plants hanging above a window, and you have a garden paradise for a young daydreamer to play in.

Reel-to-Reels with Film at Ozarks Antiques
Found at Ozark Antiques

These old reel-to-reels with film still attached would be the perfect addition to a home theater room. Pair with a popcorn machine and sound dampening panels disguised as movie posters, and it will set the stage for any movie lover's space.

Keuffel and Esser Company lettering set
Keuffel and Esser Company lettering set

The last item I found at Ozarks Antique Mall really didn’t spark anything in me for a specific space, but man, was it cool. You see, I have a background in fine arts, specifically graphic design. Typography is a little hidden passion of mine. I have always loved old typeset drawers and letter presses, but this is an item I have not seen before. It’s an old Keuffel and Esser Company lettering set. Each of those long pieces has a set of letters engraved on them. You take the tool at the bottom, which clicks in a track on the letter piece; you then attach the scribe arm with the desired pen head and trace the embossed letters. It will then transfer it to your paper. Wow. Yes, I’m geeking out over an old scribe kit.

Well, we are moving on.

So by now, you are probably wondering what I found for my bathroom! The short answer is not a damn thing. Not one item that I could purchase and hang on that wall. It happens! But what I did gain was inspiration. As we walked the isles of the antique shops, I saw a lot of hand-lettered signs. None of which worked in my space, but it sparked the conversation, “Would a sign work there?” We decided a sign was the perfect piece.

As I stated early in this blog, we knew the piece would have to be substantial, and the odds of finding one already made were slim to none. Not to mention, “Hello! Artist here.” So I set off planning our new sign and began building.

Bath house sign
Handmade Bath House Sign

I love the finished product. It is perfect for this space and gives me the desired look we were desiring.

Regardless of if you find the perfect piece or find inspiration a trip to the Antique Shops are a great place to start. So next time you need an empty space filled in your home give it a try. Happy hunting and maybe we will run into each other one day looking for the perfect piece.

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