Finding Vintage Treasures


Flea market Find. A chicken cage becomes a coffee table with some wooden block feet, a piece of glass, and a little TLC.

There’s something very satisfying about purchasing and finding a vintage treasure, something that has history, that has a story of survival.

In the Midwest it can be difficult to find these types of interesting pieces. Flea markets are usually a great place to discover treasures. But aside from Shipshewana in Northern Indiana and the Maxwell Street Market in Chicago, weekly markets are tough to find.

Garage sales, antique stores, and auctions are great alternatives. With a lot of digging shoppers can still discover hidden gems.

Expert Advice

Whether you are visiting a flea market or the National Road Yard Sale along US 40 (which takes place each summer), there are practical tips to make the experience enjoyable and productive. California decorator and antiques dealer Sandra Linderman turned her passion for scouring flea markets into a job of finding unique items. As a professional flea market shopper she has a particular perspective. Her home was featured in American Farmhouse Style Magazine last summer and she has tips for shoppers on their website.

Insider Flea Market Shopping Tips

With most flea markets and garage sales happening outdoors, it’s a fun way to shop safely (while still wearing a mask of course!).

Remaking the deals

You’ve found a cool piece, you love the shape or the size, but what next?  Milk paint is a simple and quick way to dress up wood or metal pieces.

Got Milk Paint? Do a Furniture Makeover

Sometimes just a quick wash, dusting or polishing can revive a purchase.

Reuse croquet mallets to hang laundry

And a little creativity goes a long way. Turning a chicken cage into a coffee table, or croquet mallets into laundry hanging racks are all at once functional, inexpensive and conversation pieces.

Think about a space you want to transform or what needs you have. While shopping, reimagine things that have a similar shape or size even if that isn’t their actual intent.


Rethink vintage items

Upcycle aprons as napkins, a table runner, decoration and more

If you have items that are meaningful, or you find a piece you love at a flea market but it’s in poor condition, perhaps you can find a way to reuse it for an unintended purpose. If you find linens, old clothing or aprons, you can reuse them in a variety of ways.

10 DIYs to Upcycle Aprons

Being stuck at home with the same view can be monotonous. Now is the ideal time to spruce up your space and bring some fresh fun into rooms that you see everyday.



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