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How to Decorate Children's Rooms using Flea Market Finds

How to Decorate Children's Rooms using Flea Market Finds

If you buy retail, the furnishings and accessories meant for children's rooms cost just as much as those meant for adult spaces. Unless you buy pieces you can use elsewhere later -- which typically means furnishings that aren't child specific -- paying a fortune makes little sense. Children grow fast and their tastes change. The furniture and decorations appropriate for your newborn won't suit an elementary age child, a tween, or a teen.

To decorate children's rooms the budget-friendly way, shop flea markets, yard sales, and other secondhand sources. When the investment is minimal, you won't mind changing the space multiple times over the years as your child's needs change. Save your cash for braces, bicycles, and college funds.


Many children are rough on furniture, so there's no need to invest in shiny new pieces. Instead, scour your favorite secondhand sources for sturdy, well-made pieces you can refinish or repaint. With an old dresser or chest, you can even get creative and opt for a decoupaged, multi-colored, or mural-like finish.

Keep your eye out for storage pieces, student desks, twin bed frames or daybeds, and quirky little tables you can use as nightstands. Alternative headboards are also a good option. If your child is still young enough to pretend, consider shortening the legs of a small kitchen table to turn it into a space for crafts or tea parties with imaginary friends. Just make sure you're not altering a valuable antique.

With older painted pieces, do be cautious about lead-based paint. If the piece is peeling or chipping, have it tested for lead. You may be able to have the piece completely stripped for safety, or it might be best to look for an alternative.

Window Treatments

Because children's rooms tend to be whimsical, you can make charming window treatments from a number of different flea market finds.

For a young boy, you might make curtains, shades, or valances from vintage bandanas or southwestern blankets. Or, install an old pair of shutters and paint them with a decorative scene.

Your daughter might enjoy vintage drapery panels made of lush velvet or a pair of sweet eyelet curtains with scalloped edges. Or, stitch tea towels, vintage scarves, or embroidered handkerchiefs together to make valances or curtain panels. Choose textiles with a mix of colors and patterns for the most charming look. If the windows already have shades for privacy, consider curtain-like treatments made from ribbon streamers or strands of beads.

If your children are young, avoid old shades and blinds with dangerous looping cords.

Wall Art and Accessories

The illustrations from many children's books are works of art all on their own. As long as the books aren't collectible or valuable, consider taking them apart. Then, mat and frame the illustrations to hang on your child's bedroom walls. Book illustrations look particularly charming when you hang them in the order in which they appeared in the book. Your child can follow the story just by looking at the illustrations.

Vintage toys and board games also work well as wall art and accessories. You can display them on chest and dresser tops, or mix them in with the books in a child-sized bookshelf. For delicate or valuable toys -- and for those with small parts -- display them out of reach using wall-mounted curious or shelves.

For your child's desk or nightstand, consider making your own lamps out of suitable flea market finds. You might use a stack of teacups and saucers for a little girl's room, or a stack of oversized wooden blocks for a toddler's space. If you have a budding geologist who loves collecting rocks, you can have a lamp made from a large split geode or chunk of quartz.

13 Flea Market Finds to Turn into Table Lamps

1. Painted Tins

Painted metal tins come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Some feature bold, graphic text and images advertising their original contents. Use a single vintage tin for your table lamp base, or place them in a stack from large to small.

You can also make hanging lamps from painted tins.

2. Pottery and Ceramics

Whether a wheel-turned pot or a slab-built sculpture, handmade pottery is ideal for making lamps. Glazed ceramic pieces made from molds work well too.

3. Minerals, Crystals, and Rocks

Minerals, crystals, and rocks make lovely, dramatic table lamps suitable for a variety of decorating styles. Split geode lamps look particularly striking. Other options include citrine, clear quartz or amethyst. Try a chunk of natural turquoise if you don't want any sparkle, or even a pile of smooth river stones for a rustic look.

For a similar effect, make your lamp base from a branch of coral for a similar effect, even though it's a fossil instead of a mineral.

4. Canisters and Cookie Jars

If you can't find a complete set of old kitchen canisters, turn a single canister into a table lamp.

You can use glass, ceramic, metal or enamel. Look for something special, such as a pastel pink canister lettered in French.

5. Candlesticks and Candelabra

Most candlesticks are already shaped like lamp bases -- hence the term candlestick lamp -- so converting them into electric lamps isn't much of a stretch. You can use thin or thick candlesticks made from metal, porcelain, or wood.

6. Figurines

Figural table lamps are nothing new, but you create your own version using flea market figurines. Your options include fine bronzes, elegant blanc de chine, and dainty porcelain. For the retro look favored by some of today's most notable designers, consider using animal figurines, from foo dogs to the stylized ceramic horses from the 1960s.

7. Scientific Instruments

Indulge your mad scientist side by making table lamps from old scientific instruments, such as a microscope or set of scales. Many of the pieces are heavy enough to make sturdy lamp bases, and you'll end up with a statement piece ideal for industrial or eclectic interiors.

8. Cigar Boxes

For a table lamp that looks good with interiors ranging from country to contemporary, slide a slender metal rod through a graduated stack of wooden cigar boxes. The natural wood makes the lamp earthy enough for the most rustic room, but the stacked rectangular shapes make the lamp appear almost sculptural.

9. Tripods

For an architectural look, use a vintage wooden tripod as your lamp base. Lighting manufacturers have reproduced the look for years, and they command high prices for their versions. Newer metal tripods work just fine as well. Top either version with a squatty barrel shade. You can also use a taller tripod for a floor lamp.

10. Vases and Vessels

Vases and other vertical vessels -- such as a pitcher, a ginger jar, or even an old coffee pot -- are obvious choices for lamp bases. You can use pieces made from crystal, colored glass, metal, ceramic, or fine porcelain. The pieces are easy to find. In a single flea market trip, you can find spot something to suit almost any style.

11. Architectural Salvage

Do your bit to preserve vintage architecture by transforming architectural salvage into a lamp. Try a single corbel, a cluster of banister spindles, or wrap a tin ceiling tile around a rectangular pedestal of wood.

12. China and Dinnerware

Flea markets are full of delicate china in dainty patterns, but there's only so much you can use at your table at any given time. Turn some of those offerings into table lamps perfect for shabby chic or cottage interiors. You can make your lamp base from a single teapot or tureen. Or, stack a mismatched collection of teacups, saucers, and dessert plates into a tea-party table lamp. "Country Living" magazine has a tutorial on its website.

13. Machine Parts

Turn any old machine part of the right size and shape into a table lamp with an industrial feel. Finish it with a hardtack shade covered in coarse-woven burlap. For the Neo-Victorian, Steampunk look, build your own imaginary machine -- a machine-part sculpture -- from an assortment or gears, dials, hoses and other interesting parts.


Submitted Exclusively to CrystalWind.ca  by Nicholas H. Parker © 2020 crystalwind.ca

About the author: Diane H. Wong is a search engine optimization specialist and business coach. Besides, she is a research paper writer at DoMyWriting service so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.

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