A change of seasons can't stop collectors who frequent flea markets. The hunt for treasures might move inside to warehouses, thrift shops, malls or auction houses, but the search goes on.
Shoppers never know what they'll find at tag sales or shows, but interesting one-of-a-kind items likely will show up. With a little imagination on your part, they'll provide endless opportunities for adding character and humor to your creative decorating.
If you're an equal opportunity shopper, seeking old treasures for new uses, gentle browsing might be the modus operandi. If you're seeking a particular subject matter, such as 1930s quilts or majolica pottery, you learn how to scope out a booth in a hurry.
With a little practice, it becomes apparent that a child's wooden wagon could become a coffee table, or a baluster from an old house could be a piece of sculpture. A teapot without a lid becomes a great vase.
The only rule is that there aren't any. A doll head can turn into a tabletop sculpture, and a stack of old suitcases can serve as an end table.
Some homeowners like the mix of old and new, while others focus on a particular era, such as the 1950s, with retro items.
Some shopping tips from experts: Buy what you love, pieces you respond to with a passion. Be open to possibilities, but decide what you can live with. Will you consider a cracked piece of pottery, or must it be perfect? Be impulsive. Sometimes it's necessary to get the item you want, but base your final price on a limit you set for yourself. Don't buy something for its potential future value. If it does increase in value, that's a bonus, but you can't count on it. Be logical in your decision. It might be wise to take someone with you as a sounding board. Buy what you like, buy what you can afford, and buy the best you can afford.
Look for quality. Do research before you buy and question dealers to see what they know. Don't buy something just because it's inexpensive. You might end up with something you don't need and you don't love. To combine modern and antique pieces in a room, look for harmonious lines and shapes. For example, repeat curves for a workable look. Check out the condition before buying.
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