The arrival of spring means that flea markets are reopening for business around the country. Shoppers will hunt for treasures amid acres of used goods. A few will come home with just the right vintage art or quirky piece of furniture to make their home more beautiful.
Jaime Rummerfield, co-founder of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design in Los Angeles, sometimes mixes flea-market finds with high-end new furnishings to decorate the homes of her celebrity clients.
“The beauty of flea markets,” she says, “is you never know what you will find. There’s nothing like being outdoors or in a place off the beaten path rummaging through old treasures.”
Los Angeles-based interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, creator of the FlynnsideOut design blog, also hunts for vintage pieces: “I shop second-hand regardless of my project’s budget or client’s level of taste,” he says. “Vintage and thrift is the best way to add one-of-a-kind flair to a space without insanely high cost.”
There is luck involved, of course. But skill also plays a role. As you browse crowded tables of used things this spring, how can you find the treasures that will give your home an infusion of style while avoiding decorating disasters?
Here, Flynn, Rummerfield and another interior designer who shops for vintage decor — Lee Kleinhelter of the Atlanta-based design firm and retail store Pieces — tell how they do it.
WHEN TO GO
Winter and early spring are perfect for flea-market shopping, says Flynn.
“Since ‘thrifting’ and ‘antiquing’ are often associated with gorgeous weather and weekend shenanigans, many people shy away from hunting for their vintage finds when it’s cold or gloomy,” he notes, so go now and go early.
“I usually show up just as the flea market opens to ensure I see every new item as it’s put out on display,” he says. “When you wait until the end of a flea market’s run to check out its stuff, you’re likely to find mostly leftovers, things priced too highly which others passed over, or things that are just way too taste-specific for most people to make offers on.”