5 Tips to Discover Vintage Collectables At The Flea Market

Design Inspiration Quirky / Funky
Collectables table

Collectables table…great way to get ideas for your home!

Ah, yes…the flea market-this decor nerd’s equivalent to a candy store. So while I was strolling the Long Beach Antique Market‘s confectionery-filled aisles, I gathered some fabulous collectable tips and ideas for you. Though my mission was designated as lookie-loo only, and with several Ben Franklins in my purse, I almost cracked. You would, too if you came across the decor version of a golden ticket!

Okay, gang…let’s get walking!

Candlewick glassware

Candlewick glassware, lots of pieces available.

Tip #1: Discover what’s available and at what price. This is a fantastic tip to starting a collection, especially with dish or glassware. Many vendors have done their research and can be very helpful and informative. I actually collect this Candlewick glassware (above) and learned of some new pieces I’d love to eventually buy and what I should expect to pay for them.

Old school rulers

Old school rulers.

Tip #2: Get inspired by styled and grouped items. Sometimes we don’t know where to begin when starting a collection for our home. Many sellers at flea markets now stage their tables in ways that give us that “a-ha moment” idea or inspiration. If a grouping of items like these rulers resonates with your inner designer, grab a handful to fill a vase or to use in an interesting DIY project and go for it!

Spinning whisks, weights and hands

Spinning whisks, weights and hands-unique ideas for collecting.

Sometimes the unexpected item looks amazing when there are many of the same (look above and below images for examples).

Vintage keys

Vintage keys are wonderful to add character to an accessory dish or plate.

Vintage rolling pins

Vintage rolling pins. Hello! Perfect kitchen decor!

Tip #3: Look for useful decor. A good example are these fully functioning vintage rolling pins (above), are perfect for the practical-minded decorator. Can you think of other items that might be useful as well? Comment below!

Nautical gadgets and deconstructed Jacob's ladder rungs

Nautical gadgets and deconstructed Jacob’s Ladder rungs-mix and match as a thematic collectable.

Tip #4: Many collectables can be transformed into something totally new. Here, as seen above and below, old wooden Jacob’s Ladder rungs and retro skateboards can be repurposed as very interesting shelving. The pulleys below can be upcycled as unique hanging hardware for your swag lighting.

Retro skateboards

Retro skateboards make great shelving.

Pulleys of different colors

Pulleys of different colors. Great for hanging lighting.

Tip #5: Collect items just because! There are no rules as to why you should or shouldn’t like something. If you connect with an item simply because it makes you feel good, that’s the best reason of all for purchasing one or several.

Old time pieces are timeless

Old time pieces are timeless.

Outdoor bowling pins

Outdoor bowling pins. One game, instant collection. When not in use, line them on a mantle or shelf for a fun effect.

See how my DIY gal-pal, Shannon Quimby shows off her vintage bowling pins.

Tin toys

Cast iron toys. Classic and for the kid in us all.

If the kid in you still jumps for joy at the site of these cast iron beauties, give in and treat yourself! They always add a sense of humor to your space and, if you’re lucky and the seller knows his/her stuff, provide a good story about its history.

Visit realorrepro.com to learn how to tell if an older piece you are wanting to purchase is authentic or a reproduction.

Vintage spirits…probably not for drinking

Vintage spirits…probably not for drinking, but fun to display in a bar.

Vintage and antique phones

Vintage and antique phones. Go nuts with one or create a wall art piece with four or more.

All photography by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly

What do you collect for your home?

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Written By Skaie Knox

Skaie Knox is a storyteller on a quest to provide sparkling content through copywriting, songwriting and video production. She is founder of HomeJelly, Ruggable.com's key copywriter, a published singer/songwriter (Fervor Records/ASCAP) and kid's book author (Big Bug Lunch!). For doable DIY video tutorials, subscribe to her HomeJelly YouTube channel (for link, click on my nose!).