One of the things I love most in life is shopping flea markets. There is something exciting about looking for a hidden treasures amongst piles of dirty, dusty and cast-off relics.
Shopping flea markets isn’t something I’ve done all my life, I’ve only been treasure hunting for about the last 6 or 7 years. In that time I think I have become pretty savvy at vintage shopping, partly because I’ve taken the time read about, study and research the craft.
If you love flea market shopping and want to learn how to find the best collectibles and vintage pieces, I have 5 books I recommend you read. All of these books are filled with valuable tips on what to look , how to tell if an item has value and they highlight the best flea markets around the country.
Because I’m a big fan of Better Homes and Gardens books, Flea Market Decorating was the first ‘thrifting’ book I purchased. Included in this book is a state-by-state listing of flea markets and antique fairs and well as tips on refurbishing your vintage finds. There is also loads of decorating ideas using real room settings with actual vintage items. The cover alone should entice you!
I stumbled upon Flea Market Secrets in a thrift store and gave it my usual flip through to get a feel for the images. One of the best things about this book are the 10 Golden Rules of shopping flea markets that the author outlines. The rules are tried-and-true and things you’ll want to employ no matter where you shop. I also like that there are chapters dedicated to different types of items like glass, furniture, textiles and jewelry. Each chapter give you in-depth information on what types of items to buy, what to pass up and how to care for your treasures. You’ll also find the authors favorite flea markets around the world from Paris to Round Top, Texas.
I remember when Lara Spencer first announced that she was writing a book of thrifting–I was so excited. I’m a big fan of Lara’s, have watched all her HGTV shows and love her design (and fashion) style. Her book, I Break For Yard Sales is one of the best out there and I love the fact that it combines flea market and thrifting tips with great design advice and inspiration. Page after page Lara shares her passion form shopping yard sales, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. You’ll learn her bargain hunting secrets and get insight from appraisers on what to look for when shopping.
You gotta love that Lara isn’t above dumpster diving for a treasure!
Lara’s second book, Flea Market Fabulous expands upon her flea market shopping tips by showcasing nine rooms that have been decorated with thrifted pieces. The book walks you through the entire process of decorating with vintage finds, from creating a design plan to building a mood board. I also love the room illustrations and before and after photos of the DIY transformations Lara and her team pull off.
And finally, my list of inspirational flea market shopping books would not be complete without Eddie Ross’ amazing book Modern Mix. When you want to take you flea market and antique shopping to the next level, this is the book that will guide you. Throughout the 8 chapters of the book you’ll find beautiful images of chic interiors, table settings, bars and parties created using vintage pieces. And along with sharing his secrets to shopping, Eddie will teach you how to expertly combine colors and pattern, mix old and new & curate a high and low mix within your decor.
“Modern Mix cracks the code to navigating thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets with confidence.”
And of course I had to share a few of my flea market shopping tips with you:
- Have a list of items you’re looking for but be flexible. Shopping flea markets can be overwhelming and you can easily get side-tracked so it’s a good idea to have a list of ‘must have’ items to keep you focused.
- Let your creativity flow. Whenever I’m out treasure hunting, I always stop and think about an item I’m interested in. I think about the different ways I could use it in my decor or how I could transform it into something else. Many of the items you’ll find shopping won’t be a perfect fit but with a little creativity and work they can be become real gems.
- If you love it, buy it. We’ve all been there–spotting an item but then giving it too much thought and passing it by. Then we have buyers regret and go back hoping the piece is still there but sadly it’s not. I learned early in the game that if you love it and it fits your budget and needs then get it.
- Negotiate. Flea market and vintage shop dealers are used to bargaining so don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. And remember the more items you buy from one dealer, the better your bargaining strength.
For even more flea market shopping tips, read my 10 Tips for Shopping Flea Markets Like a Pro post.
Happy hunting friends.