You have made the perfect deal at the flea market for that antique chair that has rips in the upholstery and scratches in the wood. Now you want to turn a profit on that great find, but it’s going to take some work to turn that piece of trash into something that is worth a small fortune. Here are six tips on how to flip your flea market finds from trash to treasure and earn a profit.
1. If you are new to this, then start out small and easy. A dining room chair is the easiest thing to transform into something worth more money. Pop out a few screws on the seat and remove the old fabric. Then, with a staple gun and just a small piece of fabric, you can take a cheap $5 find at the flea market and sell it for ten times that amount. And it was maybe two hours total of your time and a $20 investment depending on how expensive the fabric was that you used.
2. Make sure you clean your flea market find well, but make sure you use the correct cleaning products. Once you have it clean you’ll better be able to see what kind of scratches and dents need to be repaired. A slightly distressed look might be a good thing, but for something that is covered in scratches you might want to sand down and restain.
3. Think outside of the box with your flea market find. You don’t have to keep a chair a chair. Sometimes there’s just no salvaging these items for the same purpose they were used for originally. Come up with other uses for it. An old door can become a dining room table. An antique bike becomes a planter. Use your imagination to take something that looks like trash and turn it into something that looks like a million bucks.
4. Adding detail to your work will fetch you more money. Staining wood to the time period of the piece and adding some little decorative elements give things a story and sometimes people will pay more for something they think has a story behind it, even if they don’t know what that story is. So take a little extra time to paint some decorative flowers on a rocking chair and someone will think this must have been for a baby’s nursery. Know your time period, though, before you go crazy with embellishments. Less can really be more in many instances.
5. Be aware of what it is going to cost to transform an item. Unless you yourself are an upholstery person you probably aren’t going to be able to reupholster an entire couch. So if you aren’t going to find a new purpose for the item, then you will need to know how much the labor and materials are going to cost you to have done so you don’t overspend at the flea market.
6. Know the value of the item. If you’re going to know how much it is going to cost you to fix up an item, then you also will need to know what it’s worth when it’s done. Keep in mind that your attachment to a piece is not going to factor into how much someone else is going to spend on it.
Making a profit from cheap flea market finds is definitely doable so long as you’re willing to put in the time and energy to make it happen. Go into it eyes wide open, though. Any flip can be a bit of a gamble so you do have to be able to afford to take a loss.