Decorate With Flea Market Finds

After spending afternoons scouring flea markets for great antiques, learn how to incorporate favorite finds into your home.

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November 25, 2014
By: Jennifer O'Neil and Kitty O'Neil

Photo By: Jonny Valiant

Photo By: Photo by Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

Photo By: Courtesy of The Life Styled

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: David A. Land

Collect Your Collections

To maximize the impact of a collection, display all the pieces together in an unusual way. Two dozen apothecary bottles become an eye-catching centerpiece when placed in a rustic tool caddy. Add colorful wildflowers and a trendy turquoise tablecloth for a modern look with a homey feeling.

Recycle the Old-fashioned Way

Second-hand chairs are not only easy to make over, but they’re also super cheap. You can pick one up at a rummage sale, church bazaar or garage sale for under $10. Just double-check that it isn't broken and that the seat can be recovered easily. With some stylish fabric and a staple gun, you can have an instant occasional chair or a kooky side table.

Keep It Together

It's easy to start a collection without ever giving it it's proper due. To make the most of a large collection, show off your favorite finds by grouping them together and hanging them in full display. Courtesy of HGTV Magazine

Make It Work

Keep irresistible finds from turning into dust collectors. Just give a must-have item a job to justify its presence. Use teacups to corral paperclips and pushpins in your home office. A row of mini chairs turns a guest bathroom into a playful retreat.

Make a Big Display of Little Things

Showcase smaller collectibles in niches to keep them from getting lost. A bookcase is a natural roost for ceramic bird figurines when you nestle them in the spaces between the rows and stacks of books. Give tiny items more stature by placing them on pedestals also made of flea market finds.

Build Character

Instead of buying a generic bin to sort your mail, why not opt for something vintage and unexpected? Go on a hunt at the antique faire for a safety deposit box, a cheese crate or a narrow drawer from an old sewing table. A plastic inbox might do the job, but a card catalog drawer has character.

Rethink Purpose

When you find a piece you have to have, but you just can't seem to think of what you'll do with it, it's time to think outside the box. Here, vintage shoe forms are given new life as an eclectic coat rack.

Show and Tell

The mantel is prime territory for decorating. Don’t waste this valuable space on a single vase and photo. Instead, create a gallery with framed prints and one-of-a-kind collectibles. An antique chocolate bunny mold not only looks like a fine art sculpture, it’s a great conversation piece.

Imagine the Possibilities

When shopping for used furniture, imagination is key. A dresser with missing drawers might seem like trash, but if it still has shelves, it can be a treasure. Give it a fresh coat of paint and you've got a whimsical bureau for your boudoir.

Be Ahead Of Your Time

Want to get the best price on something? Buy it out of season. If you see a winter sled at a summer yard sale, that seller just wants to make room in the attic. Make a lowball offer and you might get a steal! And don't think you can't use it till December. A sled loaded with plants is a garden delight any time of the year.

Make It Work for You

While this flea market chair is definitely a stunner, wicker isn't always the most comfortable material for regular lounging. To justify a sizable purchase, try adding custom cushions to really make the spot a warm and comfy addition to the home.

Create a Focal Point

A refinished bar cart looks as good as new when given its very own place to shine. By placing it directly under a fun gallery wall, the bar cart looks perfectly in place and ready to accommodate.

Don't Underestimate Decoupage

Give boring chairs new life with a little TLC. Here, child-size chairs were transformed when sanded, painted and decoupaged with vintage maps. Now they make the perfect addition to a child's bedroom!

Try Something New

An important rule for flea market shopping is to never get too hung up on an item's original purpose. For example, this beautiful shelf is now a miniature side table that frees up floor space and houses just the essentials. Courtesy of HGTV Magazine

Stick Together

If you're shopping with an exact piece in mind, you'll likely leave disappointed. However, if you can be flexible and keep your mind open, you may come away with the perfect piece! This petite table is actually made of two flea market tables that were combined and painted. 

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