4 Fabulous Kids' Room  
  5 Bunk Bed Designs  
  6 Cool Kids' Bedrooms  
  Kids' Essentials  
  Storage Ideas  
  Tipsheet: Flea Market Furniture  
Tipsheet: Flea Market Shopping for Furniture

You can keep baby costs down by skipping fancy home-decor stores and heading to your local flea market for one-of-a-kind finds. Before you begin scouring stalls and rummaging through bins, here are a few things to keep in mind.

>> Plan Ahead. "Go early, and bring measurements for rooms, nooks, ans doorways," says Maria Moss, co-author with Barri Leiner of Flea Market Baby. Moss learned the hard way: "I hauled home and entire armoire for my daughter's room, only to find it didn't fit through the front door."

>> Look For Inspiration. "Rummage through boxes and bins for small textiles and trinkets that will help inspire colors and a room theme," says Moss. Leiner and Moss suggest "retro cowboy," "at the seashore," "horsing around," and "souvenir city."

>> Be Patient And Flexible. You're not going to find everything you want in one day. in fact, you may never find exactly what you're looking for, so be sure to keep an open mind. For instance, why not use a dresser as a changing table? "Simply outfit it with an easy-to-attach changing pad and enjoy the extra storage below," says Leiner. Then when baby no longer needs changing, you already have his dresser."

>> Be Creative. Instead of plastic storage bins, look for ovesize dollhouses to store books and puzzles. Stacked suitcases are perfect for storing art supplies, says Leiner. For "instant heirlooms," says Moss, look for "silverwear like monogrammed cups and rattles," and silver charms to adorn baby's first bracelet.

>> Best Bets. For city markets, Leiner and Moss recommend the Annex Antique Fair & Flea Market (Sixth Avenue, between 24th and 26th Streets). Day-trippers should head to the Brimfield Antiques & Collectibles Show (Route 20, Brimfield, Massachusetts).

From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide
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