This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.
We spend a lot of time scouring flea markets for objets d’art to put in our store. When we first started going it was a bit confusing. Everything we saw either seemed to have endless potential or was just a bunch of old crap. We really had no idea what we were looking for. But then we began to ‘hone our craft’ and suddenly things were a lot clearer. I honestly don’t know how that happened. It was like we showed up one day and just knew…
But for the sake of having something relevant to say, I’m going to focus on the part after we just knew. Here are some pointers for finding great deals at a flea market:
1. Give a moment to anything that grabs your attention. After a while things start to blur and you feel like you’ve seen it before (if you frequent the markets you probably have seen it before) but if it makes you turn your head, go take a look. It may be a shiny gem hidden in the rubble.
2. Inspect carefully. I’m a fan of old stuff and I like a little bit of character. In general, antiques and things produced before the 50s were constructed by hand and used higher quality materials. After that, products were produced quickly and cheaply using molds, plastics and wood veneers. If that’s what you’re into then great. If not, then just be sure to take a closer look at items you are interested in. Look at seams, edges and just general wear and tear. And ask the seller about information they may have on the item.
3. When buying furniture: keep in mind that if you’re bringing someone else’s furniture into your home it’s gonna need a bit of work. Even if that simply means a good cleaning (fabric and cushion foam holds germs and dust mites) you’ve got your work cut out for you. Wipe everything down before you bring it into the house. Soak any removeable cushions, pillows, etc. and plan on reupholstering anything over 10 years old. This can get expensive, anywhere from $200-800, so budget that into the value of the item. Even so, if you get a great new couch for $800-900 it’s still a pretty good deal, but just bear that in mind.
4. Have an idea of what something is worth before you start bartering. Of course you can’t really know unless you’ve researched it. If you want to do some research, the antiques roadshow website is a great resource. Otherwise, get a sense of what something is worth to you. If you want it, what are you willing to pay for it? If you feel like you’re being swindled, walk away. There are some great vendors out there and some not-so-great ones. You aren’t obligated to buy anything you don’t feel is worth the price.
5. Enjoy the experience. Being outside on a nice day is great for the spirit. Be inspired by things, a bit conservative with your cash, but overall just have a relaxing day!