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Flea Market Finds: The Good, The Bad and The Funky

Could you score a flea market find, polish it up with finesse, and turn it into a gem, à la Flea Market Flip contestants? As Kenny Rogers (and Lara Spencer) would say, you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold (or, you know, upcycle) ‘em, know when to walk away—and know when to run. Read on for tips on what to trash and what to treasure.

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1. Good: A dining chair with an upholstered seat

A pop-out seat is a newbie DIYer’s dream project: Removing, replacing, and restapling fabric couldn’t be simpler, you might need as little as half a yard of fabric to get the job done, and the change has instant impact. 

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Photo: SteveCash

2. Good: Colored glass

There’s nothing wrong with matchy-matchy sets, but starting a collection of individual pieces that belong to the same color family and have their own shapes is much more fun (and can be significantly less expensive). 

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Photo: federicofoto

3. Good: Ornate hardware

If you don’t fancy heaving an entire dresser into the back of your car (but daydream about customizing a large piece at some point), keep your eyes peeled for antique and vintage hardware; who says you can’t put the knob before the drawers? 

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Photo: Elenathewise

4. Good: Furniture with “good bones”

You can’t do much with a piece that isn’t sturdy—more on that later—and there isn’t much you can’t do, in turn, with something that has good bones (which is why flea-market regulars repeat that term like a mantra). 

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