Fun Flea Market Finds to Upcycle, Use, or Flip

With a day at the flea market and some creativity, you can create fun, one-of-a-kind, useful pieces.

Published January 6, 2023
woman perched on the side of a claw foot bathtub

On a good day at the flea market, you can score pretty much anything from a roll of funky vintage wallpaper to a novelty teapot. There's just no telling what you'll pick up on any given day, but there are a few flea market finds that are super useful and add a fun flair to your home or apartment. Keep an eye out for these trippy treasures.

Vintage Lamps to Cozy Up Your Place

Lamps are like jewelry for any room. They add a bit of color, sparkle, or style, and they make the whole place feel finished and cozy. Flea market lamps are pretty much the best because they aren't a clone of what you see in the big box store; they're unique and interesting.

Don't stress about finding a matching lamp shade and base. You can shop for them separately or pair a vintage base with a new shade or a contemporary and simple lamp with a super funky fringed shade. There are just tons of options to express your creativity.

Quick Tip

If you're shopping for vintage lamps, check to see if the wiring is new. If not, you might need to have it rewired in order to use it safely. This isn't expensive (usually well under $100), but it might be a factor in which lamp you pick.

Super Useful (and Statement-Making) Benches

red painted bench with mirror against a wall

There aren't many antique and vintage furniture pieces as useful as a bench. You can put it by the front door, set it at the end of the bed, use it in a reading nook, or make it earn its keep anywhere else you need a spot to sit.

What's fun about bench shopping at the flea market is using your imagination to see how you might transform the piece. You can use brightly colored paint, a cushion in a cool fabric, new hardware, or anything else that brings something dated into the modern age. Look for one that's sturdy and sparks your creativity.

Themed Amateur Art for Your Walls

Paintings of flowers in a pretty decorated living room

Collecting art sounds kind of fancy and expensive, but you can actually find some price-accessible and really pretty paintings at the flea market. A lot of these are made by amateur artists, which is cool. If you choose a theme, you can watch for that type of painting. When you have enough, you've got yourself a gallery wall.

All the paintings you choose should have something in common. If you're not quite sure where to start, try these theme ideas:

  • Flowers
  • Horses
  • Seascapes
  • Portraits
  • Trees
  • Geometric shapes

Upcycled Cabinets and Cupboards

dining room with vintage painted cabinet

As you wander through the flea market, keep watch for cabinets and cupboards you can upcycle to give yourself extra storage. Sometimes, they only need a bit of cleaning up, but a fresh coat of paint in a funky color is never the wrong choice. You can also add new hardware or apply decals for some additional flair.

You'll find primitive cabinets that were used in garages and shops, as well as finer pieces you might have seen in your grandma's dining room. Either way, add your own touches and get creative about where you use it. Extra bathroom storage? Yes, please.

Reupholstered Antique or Vintage Chairs

retro vintage living room chairs

Flea markets are full of vintage chairs, especially ones with stained and torn upholstery. There are so many styles of antique chairs that can work in any modern home, especially when you update them with new fabric.

Reupholstering a chair can be a bit tricky, so it's a good idea to talk to a professional about doing it unless you've done it before. The simpler the style of the chair, the less expensive the job will be. Pick a chair with solid construction and details you really like. Then choose a fabric that's modern and fun and helps to update the style so it works in your home.

Totally Usable Vintage Wallpaper

vintage wallpaper in a reading nook

Have you ever strolled through the flea market and noticed single rolls of super cool wallpaper? If you find just one roll, you can use it to add an accent to a small wall or area of your home. Most old wallpaper is still usable, and it adds an instant vintage feel.

For best results, measure the wallpaper on the roll before you plan your project. Then you'll know if you have enough (remember that patterns repeat, so you should allow plenty of extra). This can be a fun way to create a faux headboard for your bed or an accent for a powder room wall.

Quick Tip

Are you in love with a piece of wallpaper that isn't big enough for an accent wall? Frame it and use it as art.

Have Fun Decorating With Flea Market Finds

Use vintage items and antiques in your decorating to give your place unique style and historic charm. There are so many great flea market finds to use in your home or flip as a gift that you'll never get tired of seeing what kind of amazing deals you can score on funky items.

Fun Flea Market Finds to Upcycle, Use, or Flip