May 25, 2021
Navigating Estate Sales 101
By Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook, Founder of Domino Media Group, design enthusiast and thrifter extraordinaire shares her best tips on navigating estate sales and how to find the hidden gems for your home.

Kelli Boyd Photography

This past year took a toll on just about every industry for better or worse. For the home industry, the vast majority of interior designers and manufacturers have never been busier. Lead times are pushed due to demand and shortage of particular products (i.e. foam). People are investing in their homes and ready to spend, but are not always prepared for the wait. If this is you, your best method to score that new sofa or breakfast table is at an estate sale. Not to mention, the pricing, and most often the quality, will be the best! Traditionally at auctions, the price goes up based on bids, but at an estate sale the price is clearly marked. Prices are estate sales are flat, with the ability to get discounted everyday an item sits there. This is one of the reasons there has been an major uptick in online estate sale auctions. 

Kelli Boyd Photography

For years, I have combed through countless estate sales in-person. As such, I have really honed in on ways that others can save, too! Below are tips and tricks on what to look for, how to find it, when to go, and how to haggle among others. 

Happy hunting and remember: these sales are a treasure trove, but you have to comb through the junk to find the gems! If you have any questions, comment below or please feel free to reach out to me over Instagram. I’m always happy to share any insight I can and I’d love to see your finds, too!

Estate Sales
Kelli Boyd Photography

24 Best Tips & Tricks to Navigating Estate Sales

my best finds at physical sales

Kelli Boyd Photography

Two large Pierre Frey (Sans Papillons) paneled curtains and nine rolls of matching wallpaper that I stumbled across at a physical estate sale in Atlanta. I believe I paid $400 for the curtains and $10 a roll of the corresponding matching wallpaper. At the sale, I met a man who seemed knowledgeable and had a pair of amazing framed intaglios in his hand. I knew we were destined to be friends, or at least, I wanted to be his. I knew what I had found was nice but didn’t know how nice so I went up and introduced myself and showed him what I had. It turns out he was a well-known decorator and the owner of a great showroom at ADAC, our local decorating center in Atlanta. It would have been difficult to google to find the fabric designer right then. Don’t be afraid to approach others at the sale. He told me the designer, make, and offered me double the asking price to take off my hands right then.

A hand-painted screen scored on the last day of an estate sale in Atlanta for $75 and two large Brunschwig & Fils Carsten Check curtain panels for $150 in great shape.

A box of misc. William Yeoward crystal for $20. I use random cups for toothbrush holders and stir sticks at the bar. 


Kelli Boyd Photography

A heavy gold mirror (snagged for $75) and pretty botanicals from a yard sale in Santa Fe, NM. The frame is from an estate sale and vase + topiaries are from Courtland & Co’s sample sale. 

Rolls and rolls of designer wallpaper found at an estate sale in Atlanta. They were $10 a roll!

What is your dream find?

 I’ll tell you when I find it! If I were more practical and paid full-price, I would maybe concentrate on the items I really need for spaces but my dream finds are those that I love and are at an insane price. If I love the piece or pieces, I figure I’ll find a place for them. Collected > 100% together any day in my book! 

Soundtrack song to get in the hunting spirit: Dina Ross’ It’s My House 

Elizabeth W. Cook
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