Trash or Treasure: Tips for Choosing Items at the Flea Market

eHow Home Blog

Amber carrying chairsOne of my favorite pastimes is hitting the flea market. Nothing is more satisfying than scoring a killer piece at a discount — am I right?! I’m sure some people would rather get a root canal before voluntarily spending an afternoon sorting through a lot of trash at the flea before stumbling across a treasure, but I’m not one of them. I’m here to share a few tips on how to make your flea experience a successful one, ensuring you don’t leave empty handed!

Amber digging through pillows at the flea market

1. Measure before you go. Go to the flea market with a game plan. If you’re looking for a new coffee table, measure your living room before you go to ensure that your new purchase will fit. Nothing deflates your excitement more than discovering the great piece you just found won’t work in the space.

2. Set a budget. It’s easy to get carried away and make impulse purchases in the moment, so go in with a budget to keep you from having buyer’s remorse at the end of the day.

Amber sorting through artwork at the flea market

3.  See the potential in pieces that others may have passed up, whether you’re searching for art, fabrics or furniture. And keep in mind that furniture can always be reupholstered, cleaned up and refinished. So look for pieces with great bones and see its possibilities, not its limitations.

Amber inspecting an indigo textile at the flea market

4. What are “good bones”? Look for pieces that have character, great craftsmanship and attention to detail. Details such as hand-stitching, embroidery and nailheads always elevate a piece.

5. Take your item for a spin. If it’s a pair of chairs you’re looking at, sit in them and make sure they’re comfortable and don’t wobble.

Amber sitting testing out a chair at the flea

6.  Walk away and think it over if you’re not 100 percent sold on an item. This will keep you from making impulse purchases and will give you more negotiating power if you come back later in the day and it’s still there.

Happy Hunting!

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Photo credits: Amber Interiors

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