I grew up spending hours in thrift stores and flea markets whether I wanted to or not. My mother lugged me to flea markets in L.A to thrift stores in San Diego and yea, it stuck with me. Luckily, my mother has the eye of a hawk when it comes to finding spectacular pieces in unexpected places. She would scour and find her treasure but to me, it so often looked like junk. We'd take it home, and by the next morning she would have transformed it into a work of art.
I, on the other hand, have had to learn how to navigate through flea markets, thrift stores, antique sales, and hone my eye. I thought I hated it as a kid, but through my love for design it has become one my biggest joys and passions in life. This can definitely be learned and actually be an enjoyable and inspirational experience!
Here are my Top Flea Market Tips:
1. Google that sh*t: There's always that moment before I purchase...Is this an amazing/has potential item, or is it actually junk? Biggest piece of advice before thrift store scouring and flea market marathons, get an idea of what you're looking for and google that sh*t. It is an amazing and easy tool that can help identify accurate pricing and authenticity. Even while you're at the flea and are unsure about the price or quality check it out on your phone so you know you'll get a good deal.
2. The woman with a plan: Always know the location/directions so you can get there on time and/or early, bring a list, and plenty of cash. I love lists and swear by them, so plan ahead on what you want to find for your home and you'll feel way less stressed or distracted while wandering the flea. This also gives you a second to google some of the things you want to buy!
3. Consistency is key: I learned this lesson quick, you need to get in a habit of frequenting flea markets and thrift stores. Once in awhile you come across a great find but most of the time I visit multiple times to find the piece I really want. Make it a fun thing to do with girlfriends or your partner or yourself! Grab brunch after and/or cocktails and it will be a day adventure.
4. We all come in different shapes: If you're looking for furniture pieces don't limit your view. Keep your eyes open for interesting shapes and lines. Usually if the shape is great the other unappealing features can be changed. Think about reupholstering, painting or staining, and get your hands dirty! A little love on a piece can be just what it needs.
Take for example the rattan chair above. I had been dying for a round, simple chair for that corner, but could not afford the $$$ this new trendy chair came along with. I kept my eyes open and after a couple weeks finally spotted this basket weave round chair with iron legs that is absolutely gorgeous! At first I thought I could spray paint it white, but after time I fell in love with the original color of the weave.
5. Last but not least, If you love it, buy it: As simple as it sounds. Your intuition is probably right when you fall in love with a piece. If it's in your budget and you got cash, just buy it. There are eyes everywhere at a flea and if you're not buying it the lady behind you will. You'll regret it later if you don't.
There you have it! Those are my top tips for hitting the Flea Market. Remember to prepare, bring cash, and get creative! What are your tips?
More blog posts coming up on Flea Market buys, design tips, weaving and much more!