By now it is probably pretty clear to you that I am seriously attracted to things other people are getting rid of. Be it at flea markets, garage sales or when passing a skip, I always have an eye out for objects with potential.
Some of my favourite finds are pieces I picked up when I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. They are special to me because I don’t know their past, as I do with all the furniture and ornaments I have bought new over the years.
Last week I wrote about achieving a rustic look in your garden. Today my focus is giving your home a unique look through the use of flea market finds, salvaged pieces and upcycled items.
My first ever flea market purchase was made at the age of 17 on a holiday to Canada. On my return to Ireland I was going to be moving out of home for the first time and I wanted something for my flat. I fell in love with this pasta tin, bought it for a few dollars and have had it ever since. It was then that my love affair with other people’s junk began.
Throughout my college years and my twenties, I was attracted to objects that were a bit different to what was available in the high street stores. Since buying our own home six years ago, I have found myself kitting out much of our home with salvaged furniture and knick knacks from flea markets. Lately I have even had a go at some simple upcycles like this crate shelf and this metal-framed mirror.
The Ikea-ness of our home is balanced out by the addition of various elements. Take the kitchen, above, as an example. The shelf unit on the left, kitchen cupboards on the right and the children’s high chairs are the same ones you can find in millions of other homes.
The armed, leather-seated chair in the centre of the photo, however, is not what you’ll find in every kitchen. This second-hand purchase used to live in an eldery lady’s study. The black chair on the right (also shown below) was salvaged from the bin collection last winter. The blackboard on the end wall is an wooden sign painted with blackboard paint, simply upcycled to suit our needs. The collection of bowls, saucers, frames and miniature mirrors on the end wall are a combination of gifts, holiday souvenirs and flea market buys.
Adding a personal touch to your home is simple, especially if you follow these tips.
- Keep your eyes open for objects with potential. Whether you are at a flea market, in a second-hand shop or passing a skip, try to imagine what the items you are looking at would be like wiped off, scrubbed up or given a lick of paint.
- Don’t be afraid to re-purpose second-hand or found items. A jug can be a vase, a glass can become a tea light holder, a selection of mis-matched plates can become a feature on a wall.
- If you find an item you like, be it a piece of furniture, a frame, a lamp or a tin, go with it. Snap it up and take it home. If you haven’t a particular place in mind for it, move it from room to room for a while. Let it settle in. If you like it, it will make itself at home in your home.