Where To Find Architectural Salvage Stores

Buying a new home? Building your dream home? Or maybe, you just think it’s time for a remodel. Well, you are in luck because there is a type of store that you may not have heard of that can help you on your journey. 

Architectural Salvage Stores

An architectural salvage store may be just what you need to help you create that perfect home. But before we suggest ways to find these stores, we need to go ver just what an architectural salvage store is. 

What Is An Architectural Salvage Store?

Eclectic Patio in Cleveland
image from: Adrienne DeRosa

An architectural salvage store is a business that sells used items that were salvaged from buildings. Despite popular belief, the salvage store can actually have items from relatively new buildings that have been demolished. 

Because 99% of the time, the stuff you find at these stores is salvaged from demolished buildings. Sometimes the items are from buildings that have been remodeled, however, but both of these have the same result. 

Architectural Salvage Store Vs. Junkyard

A lot of people confuse these two and with good reason. But the truth is that there are multiple types of architectural salvages. Some are like junkyards with mass amounts of items that you can choose from at a very low price.

Then there are indoor stores that are more like flea markets where there are choice items all in great condition. You can find better items here but the prices will be higher because the items are nicer.

What Can You Find At An Architectural Salvage Store 

Farmhouse Bathroom in New York
image from: Crisp Architects

The only salvaged house item you won’t find at most architectural salvage stores is lumber. That’s because salvaged lumber is a business in itself and you can find salvaged lumber stores that only have lumber. 

Doors And Windows

Bathroom Barn Doors
image from: Tennessee Barn Doors

This is probably the main reason that people go to architectural salvage stores in the first place. Because although you can get unique decor at other places, it’s hard to find unique windows and doors.

That’s why architectural salvage stores are the go-to stores for windows and doors. The prices are usually insanely good too. Sometimes, they need a fresh coat of paint while other times they’re in perfect condition. 


You can get decor almost anywhere but you won’t find decor quite as special as the decor you will find at architectural salvage stores. That’s because this decor isn’t just any decor but decor salvaged from other buildings.

When the building is torn down and no one owns the stuff inside, whoever owns salvaging rights will get all of it. This includes any teapot, rug, or picture frame found inside. Which means there is a history in each piece. 


Cabinets are hard to find if you want something special. But when it comes to architectural salvage stores, there are tons of different options. Not all stores will have cabinets but a lot of them do and when they do, count yourself lucky.

Even if you aren’t in the market for cabinets you can get some for when you are. They are such a rare find and area almost always cabinets that they don’t make anymore. So you will be the only one that has them.


Hardware can be brackets used for shelves, iron cabinet hands, doorknobs, and more. You can get hardware of all kinds at architectural salvage stores, and most of the stores do have quite an array of choices.

You may have to mix and match or you could get lucky and get an entire set. Both work well because mixing and matching can work out great too. Imagine using iron and pewter together or contrasting with silver and gold. 


This one is a given but not as much as you’d think. Most furniture goes to furniture thrift stores which aren’t always the same as an architectural salvage store. We can talk more about the differences later.

For now, know that these stores may or may not have furniture, it all depends on the exact store. When there is furniture in the store, it is usually unique furniture that can be built-in or came from a historic building. 

Garden Items

Garden items can be hard to find if you don’t like what is trending. But you can find a lot of garden items at architectural salvage stores. This can range from fountains to garden ornaments to benches.

Live plants aren’t found here because only things that don’t age will be found. However, you can find planting pots and more. Even large garden beds if you get lucky! You never know until you take a look. 


This may be the category that is the most fun. You can actually find the most random items at architectural salvage stores. This can be as simple as milk cans and store signs to something bigger salvaged from a business. 

For example, bowling alleys and rock climbing businesses often sell their stuff to salvage stores. You can then buy these strange items from the store and use them to decorate your home or start your own business. 

How To Find An Architectural Salvage Store Near Me

How To Find An Architectural Salvage Store Near Me
Image from here

Depending on your region, there are many different names that you can use to find an architectural salvage store. You should know what terms the locals use near you. It could be a junk store, rescue store, or something similar. 

Start Online

The best place to start looking for architectural salvage stores is online. Now, this doesn’t mean just looking for stores on Google. This also means that you can look at local listings on Craigslist, eBay, and more. 

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is a wonderful place to find architectural salvage stpores. You can start with the city you live in. Look at their site online or call them and they can direct you towards local stores.

Demolition Contractors

There are contractors who specialize in demolishing buildings. They are a great place to start when it comes to finding unique salvaged materials. Because they need to do something with their goods. Sometimes they have stores they sell to. 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps people in your community and around the world build or improve a place they can call home. This includes matching you with salvaged materials. 

Furniture Thrift Stores

Furniture thrift stores both online and in-person can match you with great furniture that was salvaged from buildings and with other items you’d find at an architectural salvage store. So check them out too.

Keyword “Used” 

Don’t forget how important keywords are when you are searching for stores. Architectural salvage stores only have used stuff so when searching, if you see the word “new” much then you are heading in the wrong direction. 

How To Start An Architectural Salvage Store

How To Start An Architectural Salvage Store

If you can’t find any local resources then maybe it’s time you open your own architectural salvage store. In order to do so, you need to follow a few steps if you are to succeed and have a legal, operating business. 

Create A Business Name

This may not be the first step but the reason is all the same. You do need a name for legal reasons right from the start. This can be changed of course but try to pick something you will find enticing yet timeless. 

Hire A Lawyer

This is definitely one of the first things you will do. Because it is very important all of your ducks are in a row before you begin your business. So get a lawyer and let them help you through every other step. 

Get A Partner

After you get a lawyer, or even before, you can get a partner. This partner can be someone close to you as long as they can help either financially or with the business aspects of your business. Ensure it is someone you can trust. 

Buy A Business Location 

Finding and purchasing a business location is necessary unless your business is completely e-commerce. Even then, having an office where you can focus on your dealings with your business can be very helpful. 

Register Your Business

You will need to register your business with several places including the Secretary of State website, and the IRS. Your lawyer can help you with this if your business partner can’t, so don’t get overwhelmed. 

Obtain Papers

You will need licenses, permits, and business insurance for your architectural salvage business. These are different depending on the route you decide to go but you will still need to obtain a set of papers. 

Get Online

Even if you have a brick-and-mortar business, it’s important to get online. This means on social media and building a website. Hire someone to do this for you for the best results. There are tons of experts in these fields. 

Find Vendors

You can actually set up contracts with different businesses that will make this much easier. You can contract with demolition contractors who will ensure you get all of their materials when they tear something down. 

Hire Employees

Finally, it’s time to hire employees. This is the final step and should be done after your business is established. Set up interviews with employees after posting online and in the paper if you choose to hire that way.

Keep in mind that not all businesses make it but also that most of those forget to follow the correct steps and get ahead of themselves. Get some help by hiring the right employees, an accountant, and a wonderful business partner.