Part 3: Shop with an Eye
When shopping at a flea market it's easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy. Yet you may have better results if you can step back and look at potential purchases with a discerning eye.
Antiques Don't be afraid to ask for advice and tips from vendors, since most are happy to answer questions and tell you about the items as well as tips on repair and restoration.
If you're interested in antiques or vintage items you may want to take a guidebook such as Kovel's to check values, markings, or styles.
Shop with an Eye
See how items are displayed to get creative ideas that might be adapted to your own home. Think innovatively so items meant for one use can be adapted for use in another way -- say industrial beakers used as vases, sewing maching cabinets modified to hold plants, cabinet doors that could be made into tabletops.
Even if something isn't "perfect" look beyond the rough exterior to see the bones of a piece. What would it look like painted black, or white? Could the frame be gold-leafed? Would that lamp base be perfect if you found a new shade? Could that cute chipped plate be hung high on a wall or broken up for a mosaic? Would a crackle finish renew that tired rocking chair?
Don't be afraid to negotiate
Money talks. If you have enough cash, always ask, "What's your best price for cash?", or "Would you take $___ cash right now?" Cash will save the vendor from a trip to the bank and from worries about bad checks.
You may not find something wonderful on every shopping trip, or you may buy something and later decide it isn't so perfect after all, yet it is often the thrill of the hunt that we remember fondly.
Shop at Home
What if you only have shopping time at midnight after the kids are asleep? Try an online flea market, mini flea market, or online auction like eBay.
Our Best Flea Market Shopping Tips:
Arrive early for the best selection
Shop with a list if you tend to feel overwhelmed
Take plenty of cash
Take supplies like a tape measure and bags
Wear comfortable shoes
Know what size items will work in your home
Negotiate with sellers
Wherever and whenever you shop for decorating bargains -- it's all part of the fun!
Next: > More Bargain Sources for Furniture
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