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Finding your home decor at flea markets and garage sales isn't new, but it sure is fun. Decorating a cozy home is one way to spend a ton of money, unless you get proficient at finding great deals in unexpected ways.
Flea markets are where vendors sell their finds, and quite often, they didn't spend much money acquiring them. This is good for you, because they're usually willing to give you a good deal if you make them an offer, or buy two or more items at a time.
Always dicker - it's expected.
Here are some things to look for; always go for older pieces or good quality wooden items; these are so much easier to rehab than splintery and fragile junk. You would be surprised to find some very high end furniture in such surroundings.
It's worth doing some research and determining what to look for. What kinds of things are a hint to the worth and value of a piece?
Look for dovetail joints in drawers and bookshelves. These are the strongest way to join two pieces together.
Avoid something that looks like it's already been glued, ineptly. A good quality piece can be fixed even if it's been butchered, but it's not fun, and that's what this is all about.
Upholstered furniture is often shabby and worn, but if it's got good bones, snatch it up. It's easy enough to get a couch or chair reupholstered professionally, or learn how to do it yourself for a fraction of the price.
Then you have so many options of new fabric, tufting, buttons and welts to give your piece your very own custom touches.
I have a whole stash of spindles, carved (fake) bits of trim from mirrors and all kinds of other bits and pieces. Don't pass up anything that can add a bit of whimsy to your finished project - it can make all the difference.