Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trash or Treasure? Tips on Spotting Flea Market Gems

I came across a very helpful article via Canadian House & Home full of tips on what to look for while flea market shopping. Scouring flea markets and thrift shops can be overwhelming, causing you to overlook fabulous treasures that may be hidden among all of the tchotchkes and junk. I love a successful trip to the flea market - nothing makes me happier than discovering an amazing chair or vase after sifting through piles of random junk! Here's a list of what to keep your eyes open for during your next trip to the flea market (text via House & Home):

Vintage hardware: Keep your eyes open for delicate porcelain or glass door knobs, brass door knockers and unique cabinet knobs and pulls which can give a brand new look to your doors, cabinets or kitchen cupboards. (image via)

Pottery and glass: Add color and character to a mantel or shelf with some vintage pottery or decorative glass accessories. Scope out vases in varying shapes and heights that can work together as a vignette; larger rustic pottery pieces make eye-catching planters. (top image via; bottom image via)

Metal outdoor furniture: Inject a dose of charm to your outdoor space with vintage metal loungers or a French bistro table and chairs set. A coat of enamel paint can do wonders to bring them back to life and will give your outdoor space a hit of personality.(image via)

Vintage Fabric: Look out for vintage drapery panels, bedspreads or silk scarves in eye-catching patterns which you can make, or have made, into bold throw pillows or seat cushions. (image via)

Chairs: Look for sturdy chairs in classic designs that can be painted, outfitted with a new seat cushion or re-upholstered. If a chair requires the latter, make sure its frame is in excellent condition, its springs are intact and above all, you love it enough to make the investment. (image via)

Prints: Add interest to a plain wall with a collection of vintage prints. Be on the lookout for vendors specializing in botany prints, antique maps and old advertisements which can add a graphic punch and a bit of whimsy to a room, not to mention act as a great conversation starter. (image via)

Frames: Pick out a collection of solidly constructed frames in different shapes, sizes and styles that you can unify with a coat of paint to create a wonderful wall display of your favorite prints and pictures(image via)

Lamps: Many of today’s lamp designs are inspired by shapes that were popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s so why not get the real deal and pick up original light fixtures from that era. Shop for table and floor lamps in classic designs with no chips, dents or cracks that can be easily rewired and topped with new, of-the-moment shades. (image via)

Tables and dressers: Seek out vintage vanity tables, nesting tables, sideboards and dressers that can be revitalized with a light sanding and a couple of coats of paint. Be sure that drawers slide in and out with ease.(image via)

What are some things you look out for while thrift shopping? Have you discovered any amazing treasures? Please share! 


  1. Thank you so much for this post! I often get so overwhelmed while thrift shopping, this will give me key things to look for.

  2. On my last thrifting adventure I scored two bentwood cafe chairs for fifteen dollars in Santa Cruz. Whoohoo! This is a awesome post by the way!!

  3. So much beauty in one post, those turquoise greeny vases and the yellow lamps make my heart flutter!

  4. Great tips! I know sometimes thrift shopping can be a hit and miss, but with this tips I'm so excited to go thrift shopping again!! ;) thanks for sharing!

  5. On my list, vintage metal outdoor furniture and old luggage to store my sweaters in during summer season.
    great post!

  6. I love searching through thrift stores for the perfect lamp bases. Even if its the ugliest thing you have ever seen, spray paint it glossy white, or any glossy bright color, and end up with a one of a kind beauty!

    Love your blog!

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  7. love those tips. another great idea is to get really beautiful broaches and frame them. for some reason there are always tons of them! i love those knobs by the way!

  8. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    I LOVE a good rummage in a flea market on a weekend, but sadly they're not nearly as prolific in the UK as they are in the US.

    Miss B xx


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