On the Hunt for Flea Market Treasures

May 2017

Sinkology is proud to present Kristan Allen, our design expert and guest blogger who runs the @FarmhouseRedefined Instagram. Kristan is here to share some design ideas and inspiration around designing your home around your copper sink.


Sunshine and warm weather are finally making their return to my little corner of the world, which means that flea market season is upon us! There’s nothing I love more than waking up early on a weekend to meander about rows and rows of treasures. A love for old things was instilled in me early on by my mom and, as a result, my style now is what I would call a “vintage-modern mix.” Sometimes, I head into a flea market looking for something specific. But most of the time, I’m not on the hunt for anything in particular at all…and those are the times when I usually find something I didn’t know I couldn’t live without!

I wanted to share a few things that I always find myself drawn to when I go to a flea market or even a thrift or antique store. I usually end up buying these kinds of items even if I don’t have a specific plan for them right away…only because they’re unique and really versatile when it comes to home décor.

Unique Artwork

First up, artwork! I’m a sucker for vintage oil paintings, watercolors, sketches…any type of original artwork, really. I’m always fascinated by the subject matter and the amount of hours and talent that went into creating each piece. I also love the unique nature of each piece…definitely a way to jazz up your walls with something no one else has! I live on a farm and old barns have a special place in my heart. I found an oil painting of a barn at a flea market a couple of years ago and couldn’t pass it up. Since then, I’ve amassed a small collection of vintage barn oil paintings that are now hanging as a gallery wall in my mudroom. Some were gifted to me by friends, which makes the collection all the more sweeter because I’m reminded not only of these special people in my life, but also of the fun I had collecting each piece of art.

Vintage Frames

You can’t talk artwork without talking frames, right? Old frames are another thing I’m always keeping an eye out for at flea markets, auctions or antique stores. In the case of frames, I’m not so concerned with what’s in them. I buy frames I like and take the photo or art out so I can put something else in. OId frames don’t always come in standard sizes, so if you want to use one for a photo or print you have, you can always order a custom mat. You can also get creative with mounting options. A lot of the barn paintings I have didn’t come with frames. So I found old frames that were close in size to the paintings I had. If they weren’t an exact fit, I covered the back of the old frame with canvas, left the glass out and glued the art in place.

Antique Silver

There’s something about old silver pieces that always draws me in. Maybe it’s the intricate work and the fact that these elegant pieces were once used as everyday serveware in households. Serving trays, creamers, compote dishes – I love them all and I get especially excited if I find a one with a monogram on it. Such beauty in these personalized pieces!   I like to use these special items in unexpected ways – like propping silver trays up in layers on a shelf or using an old sugar bowl as a planter for succulents.  

Glass Vases

Glass vases are on this list? Yep! Not fancy, ornate, cut crystal vases…just plain ol’ sturdy glass vases. I’m about to let you in on a little secret of mine. One of my favorite ways to decorate a shelf or table top is with a grouping of same-shade pottery. But specialty vases can get expensive. So to get the look without the price tag, I buy glass vases in various shapes and sizes at flea markets or thrift stores…usually for 25 or 50 cents each. I take them home and spray paint them in my desired shade and they take on a whole new look! I used white chalk spray paint for these ones I keep on display in my navy blue cabinet. The entire shelf cost me less than $5!

Inspiration, Inspiration, Inspiration

So now that I’ve shared some of the knick-knacks I’m always searching out at flea markets, I’m going to wrap this post up with my absolute favorite thing to find: inspiration! There are so many creative people out there doing so many creative things. Sometimes, I walk the rows of flea markets or estate sales and don’t end up buying anything…but I always leave with some inspiration. Whether it’s an idea for something new to collect or an idea for a cool new way to display something, I pick up a lot just roaming around and meeting new people. Case in point: I snapped this pic at the famed Brimfield Flea Market last year. Seed to Stem was one of my favorite booths to visit and this old filing cabinet of theirs, filled to the brim with plants of all kinds, just stole my heart. Now if only my camera had a copy/paste feature so I could transport this display right into my home!

Show us your flea market finds! Tag us on Instagram at @Sinkology and @FarmhouseRedefined.


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