Decorate with Flea Market Finds

Give old dressers, lamps, tables, and picture frames a contemporary facelift.


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Candlesticks: Before

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White paint and cheerful flourishes can give heavy brass candlesticks a contemporary look. "Don't worry about a matched set. A mix of shapes looks better," says Loecke.


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Candlesticks: How-To

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Clean candlesticks with soap and water to remove dirt. Use metal spray paint and primer, following directions on cans. Let dry. Add another coat if you're not satisfied with the color or if there are spots that need touch-ups. Paint stripes, dots, or any other pattern using enamel craft paint and a brush.

Tip: These thrift store staples also look great painted in a solid color of your choice.


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Lamp: Before

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Let an old lamp bloom anew by highlighting its decorative details. When shopping look for a raised or carved pattern that you can embellish.


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Lamp: How-To

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Use ceramic spray paint and primer, following directions on cans. Let dry. Add another coat if not satisfied with the color or if there are spots that need touch-ups. Use enamel acrylic paint and a brush for decorative accents like our raised floral pattern.

Tip: An enamel paint gives ceramic pieces a nice sheen.


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Table: Before

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Fanciful lines made this secondhand table ripe for a first-class makeover.


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Table: How-To

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If the table was varnished or has flaking paint, sand well. Use spray paint and primer, following directions on cans. Let dry. Add another coat if not satisfied with the color or if there are spots that need touch-ups. Once table is dry, add a stenciled design with acrylic paint and a sponge stencil brush.

Tip: Look to the shape of a piece for inspiration. The turned legs of this table had a Moroccan flavor, so we picked a North African paisley motif for the top.


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Chest: Before

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A colorful mix of designs can give a plain chest some pizzazz. "Stencils are the simplest way to create instant ornamentation," says Loecke.


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Chest: How-To

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If the chest was varnished or has flaking paint, sand well. Remove drawers. Prime and paint the chest with latex wall paint, painting drawers separately. Let dry. Add another coat if not satisfied with color or if there are spots that need touch-ups. Once dry, lay out painter's tape on drawers to create stripes. Paint stripes with acrylic paint. Let dry. Stencil a pattern in acrylic paint on drawers. Let dry.

Tip: There are no set rules: Alternate complementary colors and vary the widths of the stripes, or keep it uniform with a single hue or stripe size.


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Wall Decoration: Before

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A neutral hue can modernize an ornate frame and a quirky wall plaque. "The goal is to mimic decorative plaster medallions," says Loecke.


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Wall Decoration: How-To

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If the frame was varnished or has flaking paint, sand well. Clean wall plaque with soap and water to remove surface dirt. Use spray paint and primer for frame and plaque, following directions on cans. Let dry. Add another coat if not satisfied with the color or if there are spots that need touch-ups.

Originally published in the April 17, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.