How To Guide For Antique Flea Market Shopping

An antique flea market offers amazing surprises. When looking for unique home decor, for best results, go outside and search the old-fashioned way. You can find variety of antique dealers that sell just about anything you can imagine for your home.

Antique Flea Market

Many antique markets are open year-round. However, it’s important to do some research before you hit the pavement. Hunting for antique collectibles is an adventure, and just like any journey, there are things you need to be aware of to protect yourself. 

How To Shop At An Antique Flea Market

Maybe it’s the unknown history or a sense of owning an item that was once another person’s treasure. Perhaps this explains why some companies specialize in making new pieces that look nostalgic. 

Vintage pieces don’t need to be expensive antiques to add flair to your home’s interior. You’ll find some of the best items at flea markets, jumble sales, or salvage yards. However, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Some antiques require imagination and elbow grease to fit with your home’s decor. You might find something you like, but not know how to style it in your home.

Ideas For Navigating An Antique Flea Market

Before you start shopping, take a look at these different ways to can incorporate flea market treasures into your decor. To make things easier, we’ve created a list of ideas on how you can shop at a flea market. 

Vintage Suitcases

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Modern travel has relegated old-fashioned suitcases to attics or garbage bins. Luggage today is all about efficiency and style, unlike suitcases from the 1920s, for example. 

You won’t have problems finding a flea market where you can buy or sell antique luggage. However, you should ask yourself, who wants to run through an airport with a suitcase that doesn’t have wheels? And before you rule that out, keep in mind how travel cases have a greater air of mystery than other vintage pieces.

One thing that’s fun with vintage luggage pieces is how they can be stacked as accessories or used to store small items you rarely use. Some of the old hard-sided models can be displayed open and transformed into a bar, tea cart, planter, or another home accessory.

Old Advertisements

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We’ve seen old framed advertisements used as artwork, but if you find a piece of wood or another type of branded item, turn it into a decorative sign or tray. Some have also turned vintage signs into occasional tables, coffee tables, or other small home items.

This is one example of when your imagination can create fresh ways to use these pieces, depending on their shape, size, and condition.

Organic Decor

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Vintage pieces can be combined with plants or organic materials like dried grass, flowers, and branches. Here, an old window frame is repurposed. Instead of using it with a mirror or art, it’s paired with dried cotton stems.

Other examples you can use would be moss arrangements, textiles, or wreaths. Find something that goes with your decor and pair it with a vintage piece for something different.

Old With New

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Too much vintage decor in the same room will look like a resale shop. You want to keep enough fresh, new elements in play to make it feel current. This distressed table and with copper vessels are indeed vintage, but the addition of the ottomans upholds a lively theme.

Although the one in the middle has more of a vintage feel because of the carpetbag style covering, the two bright ones make it in vogue. Any element that looks new, whether it’s a rug, sofa, or a side chair will prevent vintage overload.

Architectural Salvage

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Architectural salvage is a popular home decor feature. Some of the details of the old pieces are no longer to be found and a well-worn, well-turned piece from the past has undeniable charm. If you like this type of decor, you can find items like this at a collectibles flea market.

Adding an architectural element to your decor, large or small, will create visual interest. Some pieces are sold in sets, which means if you want to repeat an element on top of a cupboard or around doorways, for example, it would be easy to accomplish. 

Classic Light Fixtures

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Lighting fixtures add visual interest to your space. Many shapes and styles characteristic of vintage fixtures are rare. You might have to look  for such items at an online flea market. 

Whether you love the worn look of different fixtures or you want to spruce them up with a new coat of paint or crystals and gilding, that would be your call. What we know for sure is that you’ll have a unique piece that adds a chic vibe to your room.

Quilt Home Decor

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Quilts are associated with country style decor, especially vintage quilts. However, that’s a narrow perspective with interior design. These older textiles, though, added charm, and the ones that have been repaired perhaps even more.

You can compare them to vintage suitcases that make you wonder where they have been and the adventures they witnessed. Quilts were made for families and those that were well-loved were softer and more worn. Regardless, if you find one that speaks to you, it can be a great piece of vintage wall home decor in any style, as seen in this example. 

Antique Mirrors

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If you can find an old great mirror, you’ve hit the vintage jackpot because these add an incredible amount of style to any room. We particularly love the ones whose glass is a bit aged as well, but even with a fresh mirror inside the frame, they have great style.

Some will be in great shape and ready to hang, while others might need a little TLC like a small repair or a fresh coat of paint. This one has a marvelous, intricate embellishment right at the top, while others you find might be more modest in detailing.

Repurposed Decor

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Another great thing about vintage finds is that you can repurpose them. You might run across something like this old front grill from a jeep and think that you’d have no use for it. Actually, with a few modifications and a piece of glass, you not only have a side table but also a real conversation piece for your home or office.

Repurposing is especially great if you’re handy because these projects will require some time and talent with tools and paint. If you consider a piece long enough, almost anything that you find and really like can be repurposed for another use.

You may have heard of the Brimfield Antique Flea Markets in Massachusetts. If you can’t attend one their markets, check out their Facebook page. You’ll find items like the example above and more. 

Quirky Headboard

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A headboard for your bed can be expensive, especially for a piece that is decorative and not functional. It’s all about appearance, so why not create a headboard from different materials?

This one uses repurposed wood and some old vintage hardware for embellishment, but you could easily create one out of vintage shutters, doors or windows. Let your imagination be your guide and you might end up with a headboard that’s not only a super cool design but a bargain to boot.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Do Flea Markets Work?

A flea market is usually a makeshift area that rents space to vendors that sell used goods.

How Much Should You Sell Pre-owned Items At An Antique Flea Market?

When selling an antique, it depends on the item. Each antique is different. Sometimes it’s a one-of-a-kind item, and other times, it might be a limited edition item. If you’re not sure of an antique’s value, ask an antique dealer or have it appraised by a professional. 

How Old Is An Antique?

For an item to be considered an antique, it must be 100 years old. Meanwhile, for an item to be considered vintage, it must be 50 years old. And for an item to be considered a classic, it should at least 20 years old. 

What To Look Out For When Buying Antiques?

When shopping for antique furniture, always check the labels. Often, you can find an original shipping address or a furniture maker’s location will be on the back. Next, check to see if the piece needs restoring or revamping. 

What Collectibles Are Trending For 2022?

Old outdoor furniture pieces are in high demand. Also, vintage kitchen appliances are selling fast due to the tiny house craze. Tiny house homeowners like to decorate their tiny dwellings with vintage interior decor items.

Antique Flea Market Conclusion

Flea markets are an essential component of American culture. The idea that everyone has something to sell has never been more evident than you’ll find at a flea market. On weekends, America’s empty parking lots are transformed into bizarre markets that sale discarded dreams at discounted prices.

There are endless ways to use vintage or mid-century modern decor items for your interior spaces. However, the hard part is finding something at a flea market that fits the style of your home.

Flea markets aren’t always about vintage clothing. Most markets are open year-round, while others are only open a few times a year. They have something for everyone, you just have to get out and look for what you want and keep an open mind. Much like art, there’s something about a vintage piece that speaks to you or presents a certain appeal.

Once you decide you have to have it, the next fun part is deciding how to use it. With a little imagination, you’ll find what right decor. You may not know this but antique flea markets offer free parking as an added convenience.