Festive flea-market finds for the rest of your home

11/21/2013 9:00 AM

11/22/2013 9:34 AM

Flea-market style embraces the notion that a simple, utilitarian item or two found at an auction or thrift store can pack as much visual punch as an expensive accessory from a trendy boutique.

Take the lowly chicken trough. Its purpose is to hold food for poultry. But line an old rusted one with plastic and floral foam, arrange flowers inside, and you have a centerpiece that harkens to another time and place.

Megan Allen, co-owner of Bella Patina, found one in Nashville, Tenn., and snatched it up for her home.

“We put ornaments in it for Christmas, candles for dinner parties, we’re always changing it,” she said.

New ones can be purchased online for about $20, though they won’t have the beautiful patina of Allen’s.

People began using bell jars (also known as glass cloches) during the Victorian period to display clocks, taxidermy and other curiosities that they wanted to protect from dust. They fell out of favor for a long time, but now they’re back.

A bell jar on a pedestal will make even the simplest item — a gourd for instance — seem special. It can also be used to display food, such as a special cheese or pretty cupcake.

Your dining table will be the center of attention come Thanksgiving, but don’t neglect other parts of your home. Spread the cheer by decorating the fireplace mantel, coffee table or kitchen island as well.

A mason jar with burlap ribbon or raffia tied around its rim makes a perfect votive candleholder. A wire basket lined with burlap and moss is perfect for holding colorful gourds and Indian corn. And an old coverless book tied with twine brings texture and nostalgia to any setting.

Pull a collection of such items together, prop a chalkboard or two among them to deliver a message, and you’ve created a personalized holiday display for any room.

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