Decorate with Crafts

Renewing Flea-Market Style

With a before-and-after living room redo, the Country Sampler stylists share their favorite creative ways to showcase, transform and transition salvaged and bargain treasures for spring.

0510wDWC00Warmer temperatures and sunnier days mean a new season has most definitely sprung -- and with it, plenty of flea markets are springing up all over, too. Both big fans of working flea-market, salvaged and other wallet-friendly finds into everyday decor, Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker approached this living room makeover with their sights set on combining rustic bargains with other springtime-fresh fare. "Incorporating accessories and furnishings picked up at flea markets and rummage sales is a great way to fill out your rooms for a really reasonable cost," Sally-Jo says. "You can stockpile a bunch of pieces, swap them out whenever you feel like a change, and bring in seasonal accents on top of that."

The stylists favor versatile vessels and adaptable accessories that range from glass jars and weathered wood frames to garden art and found furniture. "The trick is really seeing the potential of a piece," Catherine explains. "Can you paint it? Can you trim it down or alter it to make it fit a new purpose? Approach items thinking about what they could be, such as a $3 picture book cut up for its artwork or a salvaged door fitted with a planter and used as a large-scale conversation piece."

In this neutral living room, for example, a trash-picked desk with a new coat of dark paint provides a base for more finds, including a concrete garden ornament and bird-themed bookends. And, distressed white finishes on tables, secondhand doors, wall cabinets and picture frames set the stage for a spring awakening with more outdoor- and avian-inspired additions. "I love the look of flea-market finds intermingled with newer pieces," Sally-Jo says. "Country is such a lived-in look, and mixing up your accessory types is a great way to get wonderfully unique rooms." Read on for 16 more inspiring ideas that will help you adjust your everyday flea-market style to welcome warm weather with open arms!

0510wDWC01Desk to Impress
1. Make a change.
  Take your treasures from functional to fabulous with a few quick alterations. For example, add interest to a workspace by placing small picture frames on rummage-sale cake plates topped with glass cloches.
2. Organize your thoughts.
  Beneath a secondhand desk with limited drawer space, a woven basket provides convenient storage for magazines or mail.
3. Think inside the box. 
Cleaned-up tin pots brought in from the garden or star-bedecked stacking boxes (right) provide a spot to stash supplies on a desk.
4. Fill a void.
  "I love dressing up a room with floor-to-ceiling wall arrangements," Catherine says. "Here, we lined up artwork vertically to fill wall space smartly." A black-framed drawing, a rummage-sale bird print framed in white, and a black sign that balances a bargain umbrella stand fit perfectly between the door and a tall cabinet.
5. Go faux it.
  If you've discovered the find of a lifetime, display it proudly in an entryway vignette designed to draw attention. "The gorgeous mirror was less than $10," Sally-Jo notes. "But it looks like a million bucks with a faux cord painted above and a cabinet topped with springy accessories below."

0510wDWC02Have a Hearth
6. Be bird-brained. 
Bring spring's favorite feathered friends to roost in your room with a pretty pillow on the couch, a few chippy birds resting on a cutout accent or a wood swan gracing a tabletop.
7. Sow more style.
  Take advantage of the season's other nature-made theme and introduce garden accessories, such as a relocated bunny statue or a big bee skep resting on an open hearth.
8. Go natural. 
"Nothing livens up a space like fresh flowers or greenery," Catherine says. "We put some lush hydrangeas in a decorative wheelbarrow and in a coordinating cage on the mantel."
9. Force the issue.  As a centerpiece for the mantel, the stylists nestled some forced bulbs in a bed of pebbles poured into a glass vessel.

0510wDWC03It's Curtains!
10. Take your time. 
Instead of inserting artwork into an aged wood frame, use the frame to surround a rustic clock on the mantel.
11. Introduce something di-vine.
  To brighten up a dark table or desk, top it with a few ivy vines trained into a circle or climbing up a miniature metal tower. Place the plants in a colored container or in a wood bowl resting on a white plate for more interest.
12. Get creative.  Have an extra bird accent? Use it to hold back gauzy white curtains hung on a window crowned with architectural salvage. 

0510wDWC04Birds of a Feather
13. Cultivate color.
  Dress up a salvaged door or an empty wall space with a hanging bucket bursting with spring blooms.
14. Re-imagine the possibilities.
  "You never know when you're going to be inspired," Sally-Jo says. "We found a large book of bird images for $3 at a discount store and cut out pages to insert into glass cylinder vases. Chunks of reindeer moss hold the pages in place."
15. Egg it on.  To showcase their clever containers, the stylists arranged them on a tray with a jar of faux bird eggs. A quintet of flickering candles illuminate the sheen of the glass vessels.
16. Spread out.
  Whether it's finches or flowers, pick up your spring themes elsewhere in the room with wall art that complements your favorite accents.

For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.

Branford cupboard base, Gunflint Woodshop
Handwoven tote basket, Joanna's Collections
Home Family Blessing stencil, The Stencilsmith, LLC
Black star boxes, Copeland's General Store

"Family" shelf, Auntie Em's
Vine bee skep, Circa Home Living
Decorative wheelbarrow, Keystone Garden Works
Personalized clock, The Ivy Twines, LLC

Primitive swan with bent neck, BJ's Country Charm
Treenware bowl, Toadally Country

"Dogwood Trails" print, George Boutwell's Texas Collection
Treenware tealight holder with tealights, Fine Country Living Primitives

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Produced by Dennis Morgan