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With the warming weather, we start to think about flea markets, yard sales, thrifting and vintage markets, one of our favorite summer pastimes. There is a thrill in the hunt, to take someone else’s trash and turn it into a treasure. Whether you’re looking for thrifted items to upcycle into something beautiful for your own home, or to sell and make some spare cash, you can’t beat a flea market. We are excited to share some of our flea market flip favorites with you today.

In our opinion “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” should be the slogan for every thrift store. Thrift stores are magical places where you can go back in time and reminisce. If your hunt is successful, your goodwill finds will be something you can definitely brag about.

So today, we will be doing a little bragging I guess. We will be sharing our favorite finds from flea markets, thrifting, yard sales and vintage markets. Each piece has become a treasure in our homes. 

Looking for a little inspiration, take a look at these amazing repurposed flea market flips, then go and turn something drab into something fabulous! 

Furniture Flea Market Flip

tool chest dresser

One of our all time favorite flips is this kids tool chest dresser. Can you guess what it was originally? Would you believe an old lateral filing cabinet?

Yes it’s true! You will see the before and after photos in our post How to Repurpose Thrift Store Furniture. Upcycling can be easy with these creative ideas and tips. 

Furniture Makeover

The beauty of flea markets, yard sales and thrifting is you can find good quality pieces that just need a little love.

Take a look at this Thrift Store Desk Makeover, for instance. It is solid wood, which is hard to come by these days. With a little work it can become a piece that you will treasure.

Boy Bedroom Ideas

Scouring the online classifieds for a locker bed, Steph picked this up for about $40. Sure, you can pick one up from Pottery Barn for several hundred dollars, but that doesn’t fly on her budget!

The bed was in great shape! To customize it for this bedroom it only took a little spray paint on the drawers. Check out all of the creative transformations at our Industrial Teen Bedroom Tour.

pPainted FurnitureHow to Create a Gallery Wall

Steph snagged this beautiful Bombay dresser at a local consignment shop. She loved the lines as well as it was already painted navy and white. 

Steph and Dan traveled to London in 2013 for a business trip. They were fortunate enough to spend an additional week touring after the business was finished, to celebrate their 10th Anniversary.  As soon as she saw this dresser, she knew she wanted to paint the British flag on the front as a memento from their trip.

It makes the perfect statement to anchor her Travel Collage Wall.

Furniture makeover

This coffee table was purchased through the online classifieds for $75. It looked just like a Pottery Barn coffee table that retailed for $1499. 

This table had seen better days, the finish was pretty rough. It was a solid wood piece and definitely worth refinishing. This finish was created with layers of paint. You’ll want to see How to Glaze to Get a Coastal Look.

Furniture Makeover

Would you believe this console table once had a dark cherry finish? We used one of our favorite products, Saltwash, to achieve this finish. If you love that aged look on furniture this is absolutely a technique you should try.

We will show you How to Use Saltwash for an Amazing Worn and Weathered Finish.

furniture makeover

This table we found on the side of the road one morning while out for a jog.  It was at the curb with a sign that said FREE. Well, we couldn’t pass up FREE! We ran right home and brought back a vehicle to retrieve it.

You will not believe that this is the same wood dining table. It looks absolutely gorgeous now with the white farmhouse legs and apron and the beautiful natural finished top.

Once this table was stripped of it’s worn finish we discovered that it was solid white oak. It was so beautiful, Steph decided to keep that natural finish for the top.

Furniture Makeover

This fun little pub table we picked up at the thrift store. It was a steal at $10! We just had to bring it home to refinish it. It was another solid oak table and after a simple paint job we were able to flip it for a nice $190 profit. 

How to make Weathered Wood

This makeover project has been a favorite of our readers. I think we have had more comments on this post than any other. Steph had been eyeing a bed at Restoration Hardware, but with a price tag of nearly $3000, it just wasn’t in her budget.

Would you like to know how to create that weathered look for a piece of furniture? While there are stains you can purchase and use, often they look fake. We had first used this finish on a blanket ladder and were so pleased with the results. We thought we would try it on a larger scale. See our method of How to Weather Wood with a Vinegar and Steel Wool Stain.

Upholstered Furniture Flea Market Flip

French Bar Stool Makeover

Have you tried your hand at upholstery? The next few flea market favorites are made over with fabric. 

This easy DIY tutorial using chalk paint, white wax and upholstery transformed these thrift store finds. We found three worn wooden and cane farmhouse style bar stools begging for a makeover! The bar stools looked really rough at first, but we could see their hidden potential.

Click on the link to see the before and after photos. Clearly, the transformation is amazing! See how you can get professional results with our ideas and tips using paint, wax and recovering the upholstery.

Furniture Repair

These vintage chairs were picked up at a yard sale for $5 for the pair. Can you believe that?!

I loved the patina and didn’t want to do anything with the finish. One chair was a little wobbly and required a little repair, however a little glue, Old English to freshen up the wood and a simple change on the seat was all it needed.

furniture Makeover

I have always dreamed of a 4-poster bed. It just seems so romantic. Then I spotted this bed at a local consignment shop. The high posts and carving were just what I was looking for, but didn’t care for the cherry finish and colonial style headboard.

The old finish was stripped off and I applied an ebony stain to update the wood.

To change the colonial style head board, I cut a new headboard shape out of plywood and Upholstered the Headboard with this beautiful linen and velvet damask fabric. The headboard was then attached to the existing headboard with screws.

Reupholstered Ottoman

Do you love animal print? Right now I’m a little wild about it. 

Why not put a cheetah print ottoman in the bathroom? It’s the perfect spot to sit and put on your shoes.

Does upholstery work intimidate you? Wondering if you can do it yourself?  After you see this NO SEW upholstery before and after,  you’re sure to get ideas that will have you transforming the furniture in your home!

lighting Flea Market Flip

DIY Industrial Light

A discarded wooden spool and Ikea utensil caddys are combined to create this unique DIY Industrial Light Fixture. 

Steph knew she wanted to use the electrical spool in the room, but was not quite sure what to use for the lights. Then while strolling through the aisle at Goodwill, she spotted the utensil caddy.  

The stainless steel finish and the circle motif fit perfectly with her industrial design. It is definitely a statement piece in this industrial teen bedroom.

Updating Lighting

The orb chandelier is another score from the online classifieds. It was a steal at $40. This particular chandelier is still available on Wayfair for around $250.

Adding Coastal Style to an Orb Chandelier was easy to achieve with a little jute and hot glue.

vintage lampshade

Now this Vintage Lamp Makeover was not a flea market find, it was my grandmother’s lamp. But, I just had to add it to the post.

The lampshade was needing a little pick me up. The addition of velvet ribbon and these beautiful rhinestone embellishments from Totally Dazzled revamped this family heirloom.

Flea Market Flips

This little lamp I created many years ago. It’s such a fun conversation piece! 

The lamp and globe I found at my favorite thrift store. It was super easy to put together, first the globe was cut in half with a saw and a leather strip was adhered to the cut edge. 

I then placed the globe on the lamp base. Super easy!

wall art & decor Flea Market Flip

Independence Day Wall Decoration

Decorating with old windows has become so popular. There are so many ways to use them. We painted a flag in the shape of the United States on our window for some fun patriotic decor.

Old windows also make great chalkboards, bulletin boards, displays for photographs, coffee tables or just hung on the wall as is. 

Flea Market Flips

Framed pages from an old elementary school reader make fun wall art for this colorful kids room

Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is the perfect place to display those unique flea market finds. On Steph’s travel wall she has displayed an oar, a vintage life preserver, bamboo tray, old keys as well as painted thrift store frames. 

home decor Flea Market Flip

home decorating ideas

With a little creativity, just about any flea market find can be transformed into beautiful home decor.

This tray was created from an old thrifted cutting board, candle cups and half wooden beads for fresh summer decor.

Tiered trays are all the rage right now, but to buy one can cost you a pretty penny. Would you believe we were able to make this beautiful Tiered Tray for Only $5!

We used a wooden candlestick, and 2 thrift store plates. The candlestick was given a little makeover to match the plates with a Saltwash finish and voilà you have a cute little tiered tray.

Outdoor Living Space

A chippy old wooden chair is the perfect addition on this back porch. It makes a beautiful place to display plants. No makeover necessary here, just enjoy the old worn finish as is.

Valentine Decorations

This fun Valentine’s Day sign was created for only $3. The old shutter was $2 and was given an old weathered finish with white and gray paint. The letters were created from pallet wood and the heart was cut from an old vinyl record, $1. We just used our jig saw to cut out the heart shape.

Wagon shelf

Old Radio Flyer wagons have become quite collectable lately. Steph had been looking for one, to add to Mr. A’s bedroom. She found this one at a local flea market. 

She simply drilled holes in the sides of the wagon and attached planks of wood with screws for a fun place to display some of Mr. A’s little treasures.

Inexpensive Bathroom Decor

You just can’t go wrong with a beautiful vintage mirror. I love the pitted and imperfect finish of this mirror.

Taking down the large plate glass mirror and adding a vintage mirror adds so much character to this Bathroom Remodel on a Budget.

Flea Market Storage Ideas

Have you every thought of an old commercial bread pan as decor or storage? I think it does both in my Craft Room. It not only keeps my ink pads organized, but it look so fun on my wall.

To mount it, we drilled 4 holes and secured it to the wall at the top and bottom of the pan.

DIY Blanket Ladder

Can you guess what I used to make this blanket ladder? Would you believe croquet mallets?

I have been collecting croquet sets for a while. I love to use the colorful balls as decor.

The Blanket Ladder was created using scrap wood and the handles from the croquet mallets. 

flea market vintage box

Another fun flea market decor item are old vintage boxes. They can be used for storage as well as decor. In my dining room I filled the old box with beautiful flowers and styled it with candles, plates and concrete fruit.  

Faux stone container

Re-purposing thrift store items with a weathered stone look is a unique way to make over ordinary items.

We took an ordinary thrift store glass vase and applied a plaster finish to achieve this realistic look. We also used this same technique to make over a ceramic thrift bunny.

Did you find a little inspiration? Are you ready to start scavenging for treasures, finding your own flea market favorites? 

Do you have a flea market favorite? Please share with us, we’d love to hear all about it!

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Thanks for spending some time with us today!

And as always here at Sunny Side Design



Thrift Store makeovers

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Nancy Lemmon

    You wrote: Steph snagged this beautiful Bombay [sic] dresser …

    The proper word is “bombé”. Yes, it is pronounced “Bombay”, but it means “exploded”, referring to the bulged-out lower section. You can see how it’s related to the word “bomb”, which, course, refers to explosive ordinance.

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Nancy for sharing with us the French word and definition. However with a little google search we have seen it spelled both ways, Bombé and Bombay.

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