Special Nonexistent Furniture

How to Upcycle Your Flea Market Finds

by Kate Smith

A childhood love of color turned into a college-age fascination with the interaction of colors, then into a career of color trend forecasting and product development. Today, Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH, is president and chief color maven at Sensational Color, a company that provides color knowledge and know-how to corporations primarily in the home industry. Kate is an inspirational keynote speaker and seminar leader, blending color theory and psychology into entertaining and informative talks that bring color to life.

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  • With flea market season just beginning, I want to highlight a design trend that gained popularity during the market downturn and has been rapidly growing each year—upcycling. Upcycling, or repurposing old furniture and accessories, became a simple and easy way to save money and create gorgeous new pieces custom designed by you. Here are some great ideas you can use to upcycle your own flea market finds. Start scouring those garage sales and markets now…
    In case you aren't sure which beautiful piece above has been repurposed, it's the console table. This table has been seamlessly upcycled to create a vignette that easily could have been purchased at an expensive retailer, instead of a flea market. Taking cues from the gray wall, this particular piece was painted just one shade darker to really pop against the white wainscoting. Notice the gold leaf feet and corners? Those little details really make this a standout piece.
  • Take a look at the magic created on this old tattered nightstand. It's been transformed into an adorable piece for a guest room. So simple and beautiful with just a little paint and new knobs. I love the modern, crisp white, and the pattern really pops out with a smoky blue outline. Easy directions for this project can be found here

    Specialty paints have been created just for upcycle-lovers. These paints allow you to easily apply chalk, crackle, or sponge-looks to your furniture or accessories. Above right, chalk paint from Annie Sloan was applied to a beat-up side table ready for the trash, and it's now a showpiece that speaks volumes in color. Simple directions to do this at home can be found here
  • Photo: HGTV
  • Furniture isn't the only thing being upcycled, accessories are a great way to introduce yourself to modernizing flea market finds. These candlesticks (above) are an easy first-timer's project needing little more than a creative mind and beautiful colored paint.
  • Paint isn't the only friend in repurposing furniture. A new teal and gold fabric breathes fresh life into an old side chair. The texture and color against the lighter wood color are gorgeous.

    Upcycling flea market finds has me looking high and low for garage sales in my area and leaves me thinking of all the beautiful colors I can use to repurpose them. How will you transform your old pieces?
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