Flea Market Finds
Your Style

Decorating with flea market finds is a fun way to give your home the nostalgic appeal of French decorating while by surrounding yourself with meaningful furnishings and accents.

Using reproductions and pieces from the past, mixing them with the present is also a way of going green, giving your home a one of a kind charm and qualities that suggest things were inherited instead of just bought.

A rule for flea marketing decorating is to always buy items you love and are drawn toward instinctively. Decorating with flea market finds appeals to many and gives a second life for ordinary items that may otherwise be overlooked.

Flea market finds

Some elements to look for are function, craftsmanship and staying power. Learn to appreciate the quality and uniqueness of your flea market finds and not think about the “market value.”

Flea markets offer a wide variety of unique items and the most potential for them to evolve into really unique and personal treasures.

Before you go, make a list of what you need and want to look for. The time to buy something is when you first see it.

But if the item is more than you wanted to spend, one option is to wait til the end of the market when the vendors are packing up and may be more amenable to negotiation, but it's a risk because it may not be there when you get back to where it was. If you find a major piece that you love and will have for a long time, take the plunge!

Many times the dealers have wiggle room in the price for negotiation. It is best to determine what you are willing to spend before you ask for the best price.

Develop your color palette and define your taste so you can zero in on the items that will work for you. Staying loyal to a color scheme (take along fabric swatches) keeps the room from looking like you are a junk collector. Less is really more.

Be specific with your measurements. You don't want to buy something and then not be able to get it in the front door!

Most flea markets are held outside so be sure to consider the weather. Wear layers of clothing because it can be nippy in the morning then warm up as the sun comes up. Be sure to remember your sun screen, hat and comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot.

Look for flea market finds at the antique malls.

Antique malls are housed in large buildings with a group of antique dealers sharing the space. The prices can be a little higher than flea markets but not always and the "booths" are generally more organized.

You may be asking yourself, what’s a good buy?

It is a good buy if you intend to use the piece. Ask yourself, do I really love the piece and can I see myself using it for years to come?

Look for flea market finds that have multiple uses and possibilities such as a trunk, that can used as a coffee table, toy chest, or with a cushion can be a bench with storage in the mud room.

Another question to ask is, do I have a place for this and it will serve a purpose. Maybe it is not the original intended purpose for the item but that is okay if it serves a purpose for you with what you already own. If what you are looking at needs work, again ask yourself, Am I really going to do the work necessary and is it worth the investment to repair?

Furniture can have peeling paint but still needs to be structurally sound. Chipping paint adds character and saves you from having to paint everything. But if you don't have the time to spend repairing or fixing up, look for pieces that need little done to them.

Remember the beauty and charm of flea market finds is in the imperfections. Objects with a history and minor defects make them more appealing.

Objects Trouves (found objects)

Composing a still life with inexpensive and decorative glass has special appeal.

  • Enjoy the play of light with transparent and frosted glass vases, goblets and candlesticks in one color displayed in rows.
  • Line up vintage bottles across the mantel, placing a single floral stem in each.
  • Arrange cut crystal perfume bottles on mirrored trays in a bathroom,
  • A handheld mirror set for the vanity.
  • Bring in a bit of the outdoors with cut hydrangeas or lilacs in wide mouthed apothecary jars.
  • Serve salads and fruit in cut glass bowls.
  • A collection of teapots can easily serve as a centerpiece, repair any chips in china with nail polish.
  • Cake plates can stack one on top of another for a dessert centerpiece.

Mirrors and frames are fabulously versatile accessories.

  • Framed art can be configured to be a kind of headboard over a plain bed.
  • Turn a beautiful carved, or gilded frame into a tray by covering the image with fabric or wallpaper and securing hardware on the two short sides for handles.
  • Turn oversize frames into impressive floor mirrors.
  • Pottery bowls on a coffee table can hold sea glass, pebbles from the beach or the remote.
  • Small silver boxes make pretty desk accessories for paper clips and small utensils, like a collection of intricate vintage buttons that you add to pillows for visual interest.
  • Stack hat boxes on top of an armoire in a bedroom, or studio for extra storage.
  • Wicker baskets of all kinds make for pretty storage or use as an accent table.
  • Wire baskets in the bathroom can hold guest towels, in the kitchen for eggs and the family room for magazines.
  • Classic in their styling, large garden urns look beautiful displayed indoors or out and can be filled or left alone.
  • A mass of lavender in a galvanized container.
  • Chandeliers and sconces are amazing finds, (you’ll need to have them rewired)
  • Ornate candlesticks with interesting silhouettes can be placed on the ledge of the tub or window sill.

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