Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to make the most of the Flea markets this Summer

If you, like me are drawn to pieces that have a story and character to them, then may I suggest you scour the summer flea markets for some weathered relics that may be repurposed, recycled and restored to add that special stamp of personality to your home.  Flea market style makes it easy to pull together a look that's individual, stylish and affordable. What's even more wonderful is that flea market style is versatile. You may choose to create a style that suits your personality - modern eclectic, romantic country or simply traditional. 
This image that I'm sharing today is from my sister's (Sunayana) home in London. She like me, loves to decorate and has an eye for interesting finds. Showcased here is a bronze tea kettle she scored at a London flea market for £15! The table used to showcase the kettle was also a flea market find. A lick of paint gives it a new lease of life!
The basic virtues that you need to possess to be a flea market shopper are:
~  a discerning eye to spot those special pieces in a pile of junk,
~ a creative and imaginative approach to look beyond the dust, grime and marginal wear and tear and imagine it adorning a corner of your home and
~ a great deal of persistence and enthusiasm as not every flea market trip is going to be a success story. I thought it would be fun to share a few pointers that I've learnt from my shopping experiences at the flea market. These simple guidelines will help you make the most of your flea market hunt:
  • Start by making a wish list of the specific pieces that you would like to score at a flea market. Make sure to make a note of the necessary dimensions in a book kept exclusively for this purpose. 
  • Next, make a list of the various flea markets in your neighborhood that you’d like to visit. Settle for the ones that have a larger number of vendors as that means more choices to choose from. Also do an online research (where possible) to know who the vendors are and what experienced flea market shoppers are saying about this place. 
  • The little red Chinese foot stool was bought at the Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market (Bethesda, MD). I use it as a mini side table to host a plant or statue. 
  • On the day before the flea market, clean out your car and make sure you have enough room to carry back all your flea market exploits with you. Load up on newspapers, bubble wrap and an old blanket to bring your goodies back safe.
  • Tick off the checklist for a measuring tape, your book (with the dimensions), water, hand sanitizer and wipes, and a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
  • Carry real money (dollar bills). Most vendors prefer cash over checks. A sling bag would be great as it frees up your hands. Also carry a rolling cart or mini suitcase on wheels to avoid aching arms and make the shopping experience more pleasant.
  • On the day of the flea market, rise early, eat a heavy breakfast and arrive early at the flea market venue. This was you have a great chance at calling first dibs on the best items available for grabs. (You could also get a great deal later during the day when the vendors are restless to unload and would be willing accept a bargain price rather than lug the stock back to their own store.)
  • The wooden utensils (originally used to store salt and other spices) were brought back from our trip to Cochin. Found these in a pile of clutter. After some sanding, a coat of dark polish, varnish and hardware to hang, they now adorn my breakfast nook. 

    Also seen in the image to the extreme right is a 1960's ITALIAN GLASS VINTAGE GREEN HANDBLOWN WINE CARAFE. I scored this at the Lucketts annual spring market.
  • If this is your first time at the flea market, walk around and take a look at the stock. Note down the shop numbers that have a style similar to yours and come back to them later to explore in detail.
  • Establish a relationship with vendors who stock pieces that are similar to your style. If they don't have what your looking for, let them know about the specific piece you have in mind. Sooner or later, you will get lucky.
  • Bundling always helps and gets you a better deal. So make sure to check out the vendor’s entire selection before you make your final offer.
  • Also don't forget to check out the neighborhood garage/yard sales and car boot sales! The little basket you see with all my decor magazines stashed in it was a $2 find at a garage sale:)
  • Finally when you find a piece that you love, bargain with grace. Don’t be afraid to counter offer but keep in mind that the vendor is here to make a fair deal!
  • Once home, make sure to wipe down and clean your find and then bring it into your home. If the piece was bought for its patina, preserve it (whether iron or wood) with a coat of polyurethane.
  • Display your find with pride and enjoy it for years to come.....
I hope these tips are resourceful and inspire you to bring home some flea market style this summer. Have  a wonderful weekend!

Image copyright/credit: 1 - Sunayana Singh, All other images are the property of Sruthi Singh. No images may be reproduced without prior written permission.


  1. I love flea markets - a lot of the stuff in my house is from them - and when we have too many things, we pass some on to charity shops so that someone else can enjoy them

  2. Finally some time to catch up on my favorite blogs! What a great post with some very concrete and practical advise! And...when are you featuring your sister's home? Looks like you girls share the same decorating genes! Now off to take a leisurely look at your kitchen. I know I missed that post as well.


  3. Such a cosy room! Where is the sofa and armchair from?


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