The One Thing I Will Always Thrift

There's one thing that I will always always always put in my cart when thrifting no matter how many I already own. Vintage books.

I love finding old books of all kinds to add to my collection. The older and more worn, the better and if they have names, notes, scribbles, bookmarks, etc. I love them even more!


On a recent thrift trip, I spotted a row of tattered, faded spines and you better believe I snatched up every single one before even looking at the titles. I'll show you the little collection I picked up on this trip, give you tips for finding old books, and a few ideas for how to style them in your home.


Lisons Donc December 1939

There are notes throughout like someone was translating parts of it.

The Cortina Method Spanish in Twenty Lessons, published 1913

The Elson Readers Book Seven, publication page missing

Filled with notes and drawings. Looks like it was used as a textbook by Bernard Moran.



Radio Boys Under the Sea 1923

Gifted to Louis Baxter from Aunt Maggie in 1925

Rex Cole Jr. and the Grinning Ghost 1931, Feels like it was never read.

Encyclopedia Britannica with Revised American Supplement Vol. VII (DEA-ELD) and Vol. XXIV (URA-ZYM) 1904


Filled with photos and maps and both still have the notice inserts for how to open them correctly.


How to Find Old Books

  1. A lot of people skip the book section of the thrift shop because it can take a lot of time to go through and it's mostly filled with paperback romance novels and diet cookbooks. But take just a couple minutes, scan the shelves for any spines that stand out either in color/wear, retro fonts, size, etc. Hardcovers are your best bet. And if you find one, look a little harder because chances are there'll be more. Books are usually donated in batches.

  2. Take off the dust jackets. You can find some amazing vintage books under those covers as well as books that are perfect for styling on shelves or coffee tables or building a color-coordinated collection.

  3. Don't just pay attention to the covers, watch for textured and aged pages and style them backwards on a shelf.

  4. Don't skip the children's books. There are some amazing vintage storybooks to be found there especially if you are decorating a child's room or for the holidays.

  5. Watch for library and/or school closings and clear-outs. When I was little, my mom went to a sale at an old library that was getting rid of their older books. She found a large collection of vintage Dr. Seuss books that my sister and I loved and that I still have to this day displayed in my children's rooms.

  6. Garage sales and Estate sales are the best places to find cheap, old books. People are trying to get rid of entire collections so they're going to be priced to sell.


Ways to Style Books

  1. Backwards. If you're going for a neutral, textured look or just want something a little different, style your books backwards. This is also a great technique to use when you have a lot of paperbacks you want to work into your decor.

  2. Try out different ways of stacking and piling your books instead of simply lined up on a shelf. This can create a more interesting, intentionally-messy look that I personally really love.

  3. Use you books as "uppers" for other decor to add height variation in your styling.

  4. If you ever feel like a space is missing something, but just don't know what, try adding a stack of books. They're a perfect addition to any space. Add them to your coffee table, nightstand, a shelf in the bathroom, include some vintage cookbooks in your kitchen, etc.