Flea Market Shopping

One of my favorite pastimes is to scour flea markets for finds. I have a bunch of flea market decorating books and enjoy poking around both indoor and outdoor markets looking for goodies that make my home more vintage and homey. I’m also not above picking a piece up from the side of the street. I have been asked a few times what are some of the things I look for when shopping, so I thought I’d share them here.

flea market
In my dining room my table, chairs, chalkboard, dough bowl and cupboard are all secondhand.

Furniture with good bones

Sturdy pieces that are well constructed. They might need to be stripped and refinished or painted. I love those types of projects! But if it doesn’t have sturdiness, I’ll walk away.

Multi-use items

Years ago, I bought a small dresser. It’s kid height and I used it in my office for my printer and desk supplies. Currently, it resides in my dining room under a window ledge. It holds linens and candles. And it’s the perfect low height for my plants to get maximum sunlight.

Pieces that give me extra storage

Some of my favorite pieces are old soda boxes, wine boxes and cheese boxes. We have a soda box on top of the fridge to corral paper plates and plastic silverware. We have another on a bar cart in the living room, keeping the liquor bottles contained. Cheese boxes are great for keeping envelopes accessible in my office or keeping receipts together for taxes.

Pieces that fit my motif

I have a country-style home. Barnstars, dough bowls and a quilt ladder fit in my home perfectly.

I love saving textiles

I have a number of old quilted pieces. As someone who sews, I know the handwork involved and want the piece to continue to be treasured. I found a counted cross stitch piece that reads, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” that now hangs in my daughter’s room. And recently I came across an embroidered version of the serenity prayer that’s exactly like one my mom has had my whole life. The sentimentalist in me had to have it! I also have a bunch of old patterned tablecloths. I love the styles from the ’50s.

Another fun find from years ago were four mismatched chairs all in a unifying cherry red that sat around my kitchen table. They were acquired from a variety of different places including church, a school and the side of the road. It was a cheap and fun way to make a set.

flea market
My red bench and the wooden box underneath are both flea market purchases. The serenity prayer on the wall was a great find!

I highly recommend going to a flea market with a short list of things you want to look for, but keeping an open mind. You never know what treasures will present themselves. If you find a good deal, be prepared to snap it up. I also think it is essential to bargain. Dare I say it’s even expected. More often than not I offer a few dollars less and end up with a deal. However, I’m also willing to walk away from a vendor who isn’t willing to bargain.

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