I have talked quite a bit about my love of Home Goods, the Restoration Hardware Outlet, and Marshalls (among some others) but one I haven’t talked much about is my passion for antiques! I developed a love of these beautiful pieces years ago when, (being short on money but not on a need for some furniture) I started checking out the local flea market/antique shops. I would find some amazing things for very little money that added so much character to the rooms I placed them in. That’s where it all began and my love affair has only grown deeper.
It can be more of a challenge to shop at these places, you never know what will be there and what won’t, but I love the hunt. Sometimes I go with a specific thing in mind, say a side table other times I go to see what I find. Now there is a large percentage of visits where I leave with nothing but that’s the nature of the beast. Having said that it’s totally worth going regularly because I have found so many amazing pieces over the years from larger furniture (like a dresser or work bench) to smaller side tables to old books and accessory items. I also love to buy original artwork but in the under $100 price range, preferably under $50 and these stores have some cool stuff!
Another thing to note about shopping in flea market/antique shops is that you can always try to negotiate! I have a couple that I go to pretty regularly. As in I was there the other day and found 2 awesome pieces (which I’ll share momentarily) and the lady at the counter commented on my 4 year old and how she remembers him when he was itty bitty. I’ve been going there for years, and we must be pretty memorable because they always recognize me/us, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing?! Anyway back to the negotiating, so for example I found the most amazing little 2 seater bench that was the kind of piece that when you see it you hear angelic choirs singing in your head and you could swear everyone else does too. It was the kind of piece I could immediately envision 3-4 different places for it to go, the kind of piece I WASN’T going to give up. BUT, it was marked on sale down from $295 to $195 and typically, at this shop, they don’t entertain offers or negotiating when something is marked on sale. I still asked and the lovely owner, a sweet elderly man, walked over to the booth with me and said “well, I can call her and see what she says” (the booths are individually owned and rent space from the owner, so offers and negotiating take place via the store owner to the booth owner over the phone). I was weak in the knees over this bench so I offered $175, I could have gone lower but I didn’t want to risk it. He left her a message and I left my name and number to call when he heard back.
I also mentioned to him I was looking at a ladder out front with no tag, it was a whopping 14ft high and ended up being a bit expensive at $128. More than I wanted to spend but very neat nonetheless, he told me there were some ladders inside and ushered me back in throughout the entire store (it’s a BIG store) and showed me the ladders he knew of, they were placed above the booths and I had never thought to look up there! We found one small one at 6ft for $40, but the booth next to it had the perfect height and width at 12 ft and more of a narrow shape to it with round rungs. I asked about that one but we couldn’t find a tag, so back to the front we went and he called that booth owner where she said “it’s not for sale”. The sweet gentleman then said that the booth owner was going to be in soon and maybe I could finagle her into selling it to me. My daughter was with me and she was getting antsy so we left but I knew I would be back if the other owner accepted my offer on the bench. An hour later he called and said “sold, she’ll take the $175” Yay! We headed back that way and when I went to pay I offered the gentleman $100 for the 14ft ladder, he came down to $120 bottom dollar. I said ok I’ll take it (it had neat metal detailing on the sides of the rungs and at the top). In a twist of fate, as they were swiping my card and the owner of the both with the NFS ladder walked in! The shop owner immediately called to her and told her I was the one interested in the ladder would she consider selling it to me? The booth owner said to meet her in the back so I rushed there and chatted with her a bit, she agreed to sell it to me for $80!! WOOHOO!! It worked out perfectly, perfectly old and beautiful! I put it in the entry next to the front door and placed some of my throw/blankets on it along with using twine to hang some artwork and a clock on it. It looks awesome and I love it! (and if you’re wondering what those spots on the blankets are, they are some old broaches I had stuffed in my jewelry box that I pinned on to them, you can’t see it in this pic but they are sparkly and colorful and add an extra bit of fun)
The bench I have placed at the top of the stairs, for now! It’s adorable and old and banged up with curved arms and a solid seat. It makes me smile every time I see it. I threw some fun pillows on it for a pop of color and it’s perfect.
Here are some of my other favorite pieces I have found at antique/flea market shops over the years. It’s not all of them (cause that would be like 150 pictures) but most of my faves!
This is my second antique purchase ever, it’s an old cabinet that I bought for $100, 14 years ago. It’s survived 3 big moves and holds our wedding china (still in the wrapping! Can you tell we use it?!) and some fancy glassware.
This is an old trunk I picked up for $20 at a yard sale. The inside was a mess so I stripped it and sanded it down, now it holds extra blankets and pillows.
This old wooden crate is a piece I adore, it has the old print on it for when it was used as a shipping crate. There are 3 small leather straps on the back of it to act as hinges. I love using it as a coffee table and it currently sits in our master bedroom.
This top of an old hutch has fun metal latches and wavy door fronts. It holds all of our movies in it!
An old scale with copper buckets and an iron base is a favorite piece, I need to find somewhere to put it where it’s more visible. It currently sits on the shelf of the entry console table, I feel I’m doing it an immense injustice there.
A set of old post office boxes I found, I could probably use it for a cool storage piece but I just love the character and interest it brings all by itself!
An old chair I picked up for $40, super comfy and super cute. I love the clean lined style and fun fabric!
An old desk I I found that had already been refinished, I love the curvy lines and femininity it brings. It has a calm soothing effect in an otherwise bright, fun and colorful room.
The most amazing thing about all of these, and all antique pieces, is that they have a story. Knowing that everything had a life before me and that no one has the exact same thing. Where has it been? How did it get here? How old is it? What has it seen? I can’t think of anything more fantastic than having pieces in your home that can say that. Character, charm and mystery, doesn’t get much better than that! Unless you consider the cheaper cost, then it really takes the cake!
It might be an idea to check out antiques world in the UK for ideas. They have a brilliant range of furniture I hear, my friend introduced me to them.
So go and check out your local antique/flea markets, see what kind of amazing things you can get your hands on!! I’ll be back at my local shops and maybe try to search out a few new ones VERY soon!