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Flea Market Shopping Tips

Flea Market Tips, Just in Time for HGTV's Flea Market Flip Premiere!

If you love the thrill of a good flea market hunt, chances are you're also a fan of HGTV's Flea Market Flip (season two premieres tonight at 9pm/8c!). Equipped with $500 cash and a discerning eye, the Flea Market Flip teams search to find treasures that can be bought, fixed, and flipped for a higher sum – and the competition is fierce!

To celebrate the show's premiere and the arrival of flea market season, we called on one of our favorite flea market connoisseurs, Sandra Michaan. As coproducer of the Alameda Point Antiques and Vintage Fashion Faires, and VP of Antiques by the Bay and Michaan's Auctions, Sandra Michaan knows a thing or two about scoring big at flea markets. She insists it's the best way to find quality products at affordable prices and believes that one of the most valuable pre-antiquing tips is to know what to look for.

Vintage Mirrors
"There's a plethora of vintage mirrors for amazing prices at flea markets. I have found several for my home at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, all under $100, including a floor-length French Revival style with original white paint and a mirrored shelf/ shadow box. Even smaller mirrors can make a big impact when clustered together."

Decorative Lighting
"I always keep an eye out for decorative lighting options, which can cost a pretty penny at a lighting store. Crystal droplet pendants can be bought loose and can be added for a dash of flare to a plain fixture. These droplets can be painted as a DIY option and would modernize a lighting piece. Paint them black or a neon color for a cool effect. Don't worry about missing or damaged shades — they can be easily updated with a modern shade for a new look."

Keep reading to see the other vintage finds Sandra always keeps an eye out for!

Garden and Patio Furniture
"These items are costly when brand new, so I look for Shabby Chic style furniture at flea markets and faires. You can mix and match painted wrought iron chairs with curved backs in different styles. I like to pair them with French Bistro style tables, which are always desirable and look chic on any deck or balcony. You can also find vintage lounge chairs from the '50s and '60s that are sturdy and decorative for backyard entertaining."

Barware and Bar Carts
"All of my barware has come from our show. I even scored a Regency bar cart for under $100 that has carved porcelain roses — plus, the dealer threw in vintage bottles. Serving trays in lucite and silver can also be easily found and are great for adding a bit of elegance to your decor."

Textiles
"Vintage textiles can be framed or hung frameless as a focal point in your home. Re-cover pillows with these fabrics or use them to drape off areas in your apartment or home. With luxurious fabrics you can amp up your abode. Even a small amount of silk or linen makes a French Country statement and looks rich."

Brass Animals
"These are a favorite among famous decorators and there seems to always be an ample supply at our show. Look for decorative mantel pieces to add some whimsy to your home."

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