How I Repurposed and Reinvented My Thrift Store and Flea Market Finds

What if I told you that you didn’t need to spend a lot of money to update your home decor? I’ll share a few of my favorite thrift store and flea market finds, and ideas on how to repurpose and reinvent them without breaking the bank.

butcher block kitchen island

Do you have home decor items or furniture that are doing nothing but taking up space? If there is no longer a purpose for them in your house, what’s your next step?

Before getting rid of something that no longer has value, I first think of ways that I may be able to give it new life.

Repurposing or reinventing your flea market and thrift store finds is the perfect way to update a piece without having to spend a considerable amount of money. You can basically spend a fraction of what it would cost to replace an older item with something brand new.

I mean, really, where’s the sense of adventure in buying a new piece of furniture when you can have fun and use your creativity updating an old one?

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cottage kitchen with butcher block island

Updating My Antique and Vintage Finds for a New Purpose

Here’s a look at how I took my favorite pieces of furniture and decor and gave them new life.

Before view of the kitchen

Repurposing a Flea Market Dresser As a Kitchen Island

This is the old drab dresser we bought on Craigslist about 11 years ago.

Trust me when I say that we never imagined we would be using this vintage piece as a kitchen island years later. But it fits perfectly in our small kitchen space.

cottage kitchen and a butcher block island created from a dresser

Our contractor found a butcher block slab at a Dunkin Donuts that was going out of business. It was pretty beat up but he brought it back to life with a lot of sanding and oiling. And we got a great deal on the slab so that was definitely the icing on the cake.

Putting a piece of butcher block on an old dresser and a few coats of paint made this vintage piece function in a completely different way. It also has some great kitchen storage inside the deep drawers which was a welcome solution to our ongoing storage issues.

cottage bedroom with antique built-in cabinet

Reinventing an Antique Stand-Alone Cabinet Into a Built-In

One of my favorite furniture pieces in our 1920 cottage is this built-in.

Do you know what’s even more amazing about this antique? The fact that this was a stand-alone cabinet built at the same time as the rest of the house 102 years ago.

before picture of antique cabinet

Here’s the piece from when we first moved in. Every owner before we bought the house left this special cabinet behind so a piece of history stayed throughout the years.

We were in desperate need of bedroom storage space and this was a perfect piece to use as a dresser for our clothing and other essentials.

vintage French door and antique chippy built-in

When we started renovating the bathroom on the other side of the bedroom wall, we knew it would be a perfect time to build the antique cabinet into it.

Glass cabinet doors, beadboard, and white paint were added to complete this inspired makeover. Now it’s such a beautiful addition to my small but quaint bedroom and adds a lot of charm to this space.

I love that this amazing antique will stay with the house forever, just as the original owners intended.

You can see the entire blog post on this project HERE.

Christmas cottage kitchen with vintage columns and corbels

Reimagining Thrift Store Columns as the Perfect Room Dividers

Every time I go shopping for vintage finds, I always seem to find a variety of old, chippy, beautiful wooden columns. I’ve just always had a problem trying to figure out what to do with them so they usually ended up leaning in a corner somewhere, lacking purpose.

vintage column cut in half

One day a fabulous idea came to me. I wanted to cut the column in half and place each underneath the already existing corbels.

Unfortunately, the corbels were painted white and newer. So we ended up staining, waxing, painting, and adding glue to create a chippy, old finish that looked similar to the columns.

You can read this great way to age wood and give it a layered chippy finish HERE.

cottage living room with vintage columns and corbels

You can see each half-column attached to the sides of the entryway between the living room and kitchen.

seafoam green coffee table with vintage door on top

Recreating a Run-Down Coffee Table With a Vintage Door

This thrift store furniture makeover was a pretty easy project.

Before view of the black original coffee table

I know the “before” picture of the coffee table is hard to see but I’m showing it so you can see the size.

The goal was to create a larger coffee table and hide some major flaws on the top of the table. My husband found a vintage door at an antique mall that we attached to the top to create a bigger piece.

cottage living room with updated coffee table

We were able to increase our tabletop space, cover the scratches, and repaint it all at a fraction of the cost of a new coffee table.

vintage glass door cabinet repainted

Refreshing a Flea Market Cabinet With a Coat of Paint

Never underestimate the power of a coat of paint.

before view of the glass door cabinet

This is what our vintage glass door cabinet looked like when we moved in. It needed some livening up with a pretty new color.

Stenciling is another great way to change the look of a flea market find. I’m going to try it on an armoire in my office soon.

Where To Go Shopping to Find Flea Market Finds for Repurposing

You know what they say, ” One person’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Here are some of the places to go shopping for a flea market find…

  • a consignment shop
  • second-hand store
  • local thrift store
  • garage sales
  • yard sales
  • Facebook Marketplace

In my opinion, the best types of furniture are the repurposed flea market finds that are in good condition and you’ve gotten a good deal on.

Do you have any flea market furniture find repurposing ideas that you’ve been thinking about? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Each month I join my friends Stacy and Jennifer for a blog hop where we share all things vintage, thrifting, and our flea market finds.

Be sure to visit their blogs today where you are sure to be inspired. Their links are below.

Until next time,

Happy Flea Market Find Repurposing!

More Vintage and Thrifting Inspiration

Cottage on Bunker Hill

Jennifer | Cottage on Bunker Hill

You’re going to love my friend Jennifer’s creative ways to use flowers and plants in your home.

fall décor Stacy Ling

Stacy | Bricks ‘n Blooms

You won’t want to miss my friend Stacy’s flea market finds for the home and garden.


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  1. I loved seeing your upcycled treasures. I haven’t done much with furniture as I have a lot that is already the old mahogany color, but do want to try making a desk drawer into a knick-knack shelf. Figured I’d start small. I gained more bedroom store by moving a sideboard that is ALL drawers and doors to the foot of our king-sized bed. It’s a perfect fit and stores a LOT of stuff!

    1. That sounds like a great solution Kathy. Thank you for being here. I’m so glad you liked my upcycled goodies.

  2. Love all of the ways you incorporated the vintage finds.I started to smile with the Dunkin Donuts table. When we did our Boston and NE trips we noted all of the DD. Out here in Colorado there are not many! I do love me a Dunkin donut!
    thanks kim, laura

    1. Thank you, Laura. We don’t have many of them around here which is probably why they were going out of business. I think it might be because Starbucks is located here. I’ll have to try to find one so I can taste the donut you recommend.

  3. OMG, the columns…that’s a genius idea!! I’m just trying to picture Chuck’s face if I said “I have a great idea, we are going to cut this in half”…LOL. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that feature in your home…how did I miss it!!

    1. I never really talked about the project as much as I should have while we were working on it. It really added a lot of interest to this space and I think a whole column would have stuck out too much.

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