Well, I've finally found the true label for my personal decorating style. It's Flea Market Chic. Yes, I confess, I'm a junk collector. But, not just any type of junk - just the good stuff. I've been known to slam on the brakes, back up and run across a street to snag that tired old chandelier someone set by the curb for the trash man to haul off. Then I secretly take it home and make it into something beautiful. I scour garage sales, flea markets, my mother's attic and my neighbor's garage. But, at least now I can put a name with my affliction. I'm hooked on flea market chic.
• Old Books and Prints
One of my favorite flea market finds are old books and prints. From botanical prints to coffee table books of native Indians or Norman Rockwell illustrations, these can make some of the best and most affordable artwork you can find. A set of botanical prints - each in a crisp, clean mat and simple frame - are so chic above a sofa or mounted behind the panes of an old window. And an old coffee table book could have enough artwork in it to decorate all the walls in your house - so keep your eyes peeled.
• Odd Tables, Desks and Chairs
I'm going to rat myself out. I often take a ride through my neighborhood on the night before garbage day. You wouldn't believe the odd tables, desk and chairs I've snagged for free that way. Sure, they need a lot of TLC - but, that's part of their charm. It warms my heart to bring a tired, old desk back to life with a shabby chic paint finish as the perfect dressing table. And I've gotten pretty handy with fabric and a staple gun. I can recover a chair seat in less than ten minutes. How cool is that?
• Anything Vintage
My real passion is anything vintage. I look for old plates, frames, vases, trays, cameras, suitcases - you name it. Then I take them home, clean them up and strategically place them around the house.
Here's one of my favorite tricks to perk up an item with a really worn surface - put a little medium brown stain on a rag, rub it all over the surface to even out the imperfections and make it look more antique. Then follow up with a thin, rub-on application of your favorite polyurethane - just to give it a little glow. Trust me, this works like a charm.
Check out the pictures and inspiration for this article in the Flea Market Finds ideabook on Houzz. And if you want a quick primer on this budget-friendly decorating style, pick up the book Flea Market Chic by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. These gals will give you great tips on how to recycle, upcycle, repurpose and save a bunch of cash in the process. Now that's my kind of decorating.
Enjoy more home decor ideas from Terry Mulligan: