Flea Market Finds Done Right


Tisha Leung

The key to living with your collectibles isn't knowing what to add -- it's knowing when to subtract.

Michelle Long of Bohiemenne bedroom and tie back.

The key to living with your collectibles isn't knowing what to add -- it's knowing when to subtract.

Left: Michelle Long's bedroom is a haven of white with pops of color. Right: A curtain tie-back from earlier days finds a new home. Photos: Michelle Long,

Karyn Millet

courtesy of

The Well-Dressed Home.

Is it possible to dress a home in flea market finds yet avoid a hodgepodge of mismatched styles? Absolutely, says Michelle Long of Bohemiennes, an Etsy shop offering "vintage style for modern living." Michelle collects and sells home accessories and clothing -- some vintage, some antique -- and has surrounded herself with these treasures for years. How does she do it? With a simple five-step system. She invited us into her home -- a lesson in flea market finds gone fabulous -- and offered the following tips.

1. Be Realistic
Like the boxer Rocky, get into the right mindset before heading into the ring.
"Vintage items are rare and often one of a kind. So, when you see something you like, grab it," she says. But be realistic about the amount of time or money you want to put into whatever it is you're buying.
"It doesn't take long before you'll have a house or a closet full of projects that you'll never get around to," advises Michelle. Furniture restoring is especially labor intensive and time consuming. You are usually better off buying a restored piece or one with imperfections that you can live with -- or even love.

Michelle Long of Bohemienne collection of white

A grouping of Michelle's favorite ironstone plates and silverware are hung together for simple visual interest. Right: The living room has a vintage woven trunk functioning as a coffee table and storage space. Photos: Karyn Millet courtesy of The Well-Dressed Home.

2. Group Stuff
When decorating your home, groupings of objects related by shape, color or even theme make a statement.
"It sounds counter intuitive, but to avoid clutter, buy a lot of whatever it is you like. Displaying in groups helps keep your house from looking itty-bitty." In other words, it's okay to collect random items, as long as you have an end purpose for them.

Michelle Long of Bohemienne kitchen and flatware.
A functional vintage free-standing unit (left) and glass containers (right) add a bit of character without trying too hard. Photos: Michelle Long

3. Use Your Stuff
Another tip to remember is that your home lives around you, you don't live around your home. A house full of unused objects feels stuffy.
"Don't save your vintage things for special occasions. When you use your old things you don't feel weighed down by them. That goes for vintage clothes too. Wear them," says Michelle. Old things may require a little special care and handling but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying them.
Use an old bookcase as a shabby chic display unit (above), or pack vintage glass containers with silverware (above). Pick up an old basket at the local flea market recently? Give it a ubiquitous use, like holding a few similar-sized plants (below).

Michelle Long of Bohemienne vintage basket.
Giving a ubiquitous item, like a basket, a role in your home prevents it from being forgotten and relegated to the basement. Photo: Michelle Long

4. Don't Be Afraid of White
The modern feel of Michelle's home also comes from her theories on the color white.
"I love living with white," she says. "A white backdrop makes the oldest, dustiest and most rustic of objects feel fresh and modern. It's also so much easier to clean white fabric." When she has to clean her white fabrics, she uses Oxi-Clean and then lays the fabric on the grass.
"I don't know why but there's something in grass that helps get out stains," she says.

Michelle Long of Bohemienne living room.
Everything has its place in the living room with simple textiles and decoration. Photo: Karyn Millet courtesy of The Well-Dressed Home.

5. One Piece Can Make a Room
Michelle's favorite room in her house is her kitchen.
"I love our kitchen for one reason – the old wicker couch. It's a gathering spot where everyone who comes to our house -- dogs included -- seems to gravitate towards, especially when the big French casement windows are wide open so the breeze comes in." Check out Michelle's antique and flea market finds at her Etsy shop.
Looking for a flea market near you? You may be lucky enough to live near one of our top five favorite flea markets in the country.
Check out some of our favorite stories from around the web!
15 Ideas For Decorating With Stacks of Books
Banter Banners To Set The Mood
Troubleshoot Your Coffee Grinder
Money 101: How To Buy Your First Home

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful rooms and valuable information as much as I did. 

Wishing you a great Friday and weekend!


Pin It now!

1 comment:

Melanie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Mary, this was a great article. I sometimes find myself with too much "itty bitty" and get frustrated and put the items back into storage. I love my "stuff" but I don't like the cluttered look. I also try not to make my house look so staged; a home is meant to be lived in!


Thank's for your comment!

Related Posts with Thumbnails