15 Additions for Your Home
Kit out your place without going broke.
A great looking home is one that's been outfitted much in the same matter as you dress. It's not all one style or one brand. It's eclectic, right? That's how you want to think about your home furnishings. Let me put it this way: A brand-new, gleaming Rolex will never not be cool. But you know what's cooler? A vintage Rolex from the year you were born with just the right amount of patina on the dial.
The same goes for your place. There are plenty of fine options from big box stores and catalogs or speciality stores named after Barns or Barrels. But for a handful of items, you should always aim to buy secondhand, because they're just better if they're vintage. Because vintage means they're broken-in, special and unlike anything else. They come imbibed with history. Of course, shopping a flea market or antique shop can be overwhelming. So here's your game plan: Focus on under-the-radar vintage pieces or items that people don't want to mess with at the flea market. That way, you'll snag them for cheap because no one else realizes the value. We checked in with a few of our favorite designers and compiled the following list. They're paired with examples you can buy online, but I'm sure you'll likely find better deals closer to home.
Woven Turkish rug,
$652 / $87 at Chairish
Of course, there are plenty of antique rugs that will set you back a paycheck or two, but you can save a lot of money on a rug if you buy an older option from a flea market or vintage shop instead of your standard furniture store. Especially if you're looking for something smaller—be it a runner for a hallway or kitchen, something to layer over a sisal rug or underneath your coffee table.
Woven Turkish rug,
$652 / $87 at Chairish
From little boxes and trays to ethnic baskets and old school ice buckets, there are plenty of storage options littering the secondhand market. And we're here for all of them. Why buy a little generic box from Crate & Barrel to store your remotes or condoms in when you can house the items you don't want to see in a one-of-a-kind container that really adds something to your coffee table, entry nook or nightstand? These are the items that make your kitchen counters and bookshelves look worldly and curated. Don't miss out on that opportunity.
African rice basket,
$128 at STAG
Vintage Champagne ice bucket,
$25 (for similar) at Chairish
We tend to like items that have a nod to bad bahavior and using them in unexpected ways. Thankfully, since most people have kicked the nasty habit of smoking, ashtrays have nearly all been given up (or rather sold off and donated). Which means you can usually find them at flea markets for a steal. The right one can be repurposed as an interesting catchall for jewelry or keys, or a tea-light holder on your coffee table.
The best art is unique, interesting—and most importantly—meaningful to you. It's hard to tick all three of those boxes if you're buying your art from a mass manufacturer. What's more, the secondhand stuff is usually cheaper too. Remember, it doesn't have to be fine art—old advertisements and shooting targets make for graphic pieces that liven up a wall. As do foreign movie posters. So look for pieces wherever antiques are sold, and even talk to your favorite shops to see where they are sourcing some of the interesting items on their walls.
20th century needlepoint, $595 at Jayson Home
1960s shooting target, $10 at Windsor Place Antiques
Rustic tripod stool, $69 (for similar) at Etsy
Whether it's an architectural model staircase, a miniature version of a midcentury chair or simply a tiny, rustic stool, these items add instant intrigue to a space. They not only look great on top of a table, they also fill voids in bookcases and in some cases can be used as ottomans or side tables.
Museum model stairs, $157 at Houzz
A stack of books is your best friend when outfitting your place. It instantly adds a shot of your personality and they tend to make for nice pedestals on which to place a plant or candle. But the big books can be pretty damn expensive when purchased new at full retail prices. So click the "search used" option on Amazon or scan through the dog-eared stacks at vintage shops.
Cement block lamp,
$145 / $36 at Chairish
Lamps have the ability to really add style to a room. They are, after all, functional sculpture. Look for interesting shapes and materials and just make sure they're in good condition and work properly before you buy them.
Industrial work lamp,
$48 at Obscure Archive
Fodor's Travel compiled a list of the very best flea markets spanning the United States. Is there one near you?