Whether you’re traveling the world or to the outskirts of town, the flea market is a great place to pick up unique furniture and decorations for your apartment. These outdoor markets feature antiques, used goods, hand made art pieces and refurbished treasures. If you know how to shop for a bargain (better yet, if you know how to haggle) you’ll be able to pick up some great pieces for cheap. Of course, when shopping flea markets, it also helps to be a little handy yourself; not everything will be in tip-top shape when you take it home.
If you’re fortunate enough to get to spend some time abroad this year, consider popping in to a local flea market while you’re away. These markets can be found all over the world, and if you visit one abroad, you’re sure to find unique items that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. A few of the more famous markets include Marche aux Puces (a phrase that literally translates to flea market) in Paris, Portobello Road, in London and The Underground in Rome. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, however, if you take the time to visit a flea market, you’ll find some great things, even if you have to dig around a bit for them.
A flea market can take up many blocks and can feel overwhelming at first. In order to successfully navigate the market, you’ll want to give yourself some time to take it all in. Don’t dive right in, especially if you’re in a foreign country. Observe the flow of the market, watch how people negotiate and try to get a feel for the layout. There may be sections devoted to antiques or furniture. Less pricey items may be pushed to the fringes of the market. If you get to know your market before you start to find a deal, you won’t feel as blown away by it. Remember that even in the most chaotic of markets, there is order if you know how to find it.
Don’t worry about trying to see everything. Some markets are simply too big and you’ll only get lost in the shuffle. Do some comparison shopping, but don’t be afraid to buy something you know you love even if its in the first booth you’ve visited. Remember, at a flea market, there’s no stock in the back so if you see something you like and don’t buy it, someone else can swoop in and purchase it right under your nose.
Less than Perfect Items
Shopping for used goods in a flea market can be a challenge. There are some great pieces that need some work and if you know how to restore them, you could end up with something truly spectacular. But you don’t want to take on more than you can handle. If you don’t know how to restore a piece of furniture, don’t buy a beat-up piece of junk in the hopes that one day you’ll learn how. You won’t be happy with a substandard piece that you had great hopes for so only choose projects you know you have the time and expertise to complete.
Have some flea market secrets to share? We’d love to hear from you – here or on our Facebook page!