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Collecting Flea Market Furniture

Collecting Flea Market Furniture

vintage upholstered arm chair

Use these tips to score the best deals on vintage flea market furniture.

Furniture is a perfect item to shop for at the flea market. It’s versatile and can transform easily with a DIY makeover—whether you’re painting, staining or reupholstering. Here are our three top tips for shopping for vintage furniture.

Victorian dining room with vintage dining furniture
In this California Victorian farmhouse, the dining room is full of vintage flea market furniture from local flea markets and antiques shops. Photograph by Bret Gum.

Know the Market

If there’s a particular piece, furniture designer or style you want, do some research to know what the price range should be. For example, midcentury furniture is hot on the market right now, so high-quality pieces from the 1950s and ’60s will cost more. If you want to paint your new credenza or dresser, stay away from expensive pieces that will do better with their original stain anyway. On the other hand, if you’re not looking for a particular style, you can avoid more expensive pieces and transform an item no one else wants.

vintage repurposed bookshelf
This storage piece is in the home of blogger Janna Allbritton of Yellow Prairie Interiors. She found it at a vintage sale and uses it to display her smaller vintage collectibles. Photograph by Bret Gum.

Look at Shape, Not Color of Flea Market Furniture

Especially if you’re not afraid of a little paint or fabric, it’s easy to upcycle furniture to be the color you want. Base your purchase on the shape and the quality of construction. Then you can paint or reupholster it to match your home’s palette. But be aware of yourself and your own limitations. If you’re not a DIYer and have no interest in redoing a piece, take professional upholstery or painting costs into consideration when you buy.

vintage dresser with mirror in farmhouse master bedroom
Homeowner Jaclyn James transformed this vanity several times. She finally settled on a dark black with a white patina showing through. Photograph by Chad Mellon.

Have a Game Plan

It might be fun to buy furniture without knowing where it will go in your home or how you’ll transform it, but that leads to unnecessary purchases and a cluttered house. Once you find a piece you’re in love with, have a basic plan of how you’ll change it and where you’ll use it before you buy it.

Learn more about specific types of vintage furniture like Eastlake Furniture or find ways to rehab furniture with chippy paint. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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