Flea Market Makeovers for Outdoor Decorating

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, especially at home, decorating your outdoor spaces makes them feel even more comfortable and inviting.


Old tubs and pots serve as decorative planters for outdoor spaces.Old tubs and pots serve as decorative planters for outdoor spaces.
Rather than blowing the budget on brand-new decorative items that will be used primarily outdoors, try reusing and updating pieces from flea markets and thrift stores to get a lot more bang for the buck. Spend the money you save on additional useful and decorative pieces for the yard, garden and patio.

Old window shutters have a plethora of purposes, both decorative and functional, around the garden and yard. Tall shutters with some of the slats broken out serve as a trellis for climbing plants; give the shutters a fresh makeover with a cheery paint color such as apple green to make them more decorative. A series of mismatched shutters painted different colors creates a decorative fence for the yard, or you can attach it to an existing fence. Arrange shutters both horizontally and vertically to add to the playfulness of the decor. A string of outdoor fairy or holiday lights from the thrift store adds a festive air to the space.


Jewelry items, especially bracelets and necklaces, provide a bounty of trinkets for crafting items such as wind chimes, mobiles and decorative hanging ornaments. Dissect those bejeweled pieces and reassemble the beads on bits of fishing line hung from an old embroidery hoop or bent coat hanger. Mirrored bits from old lockets reflect light as the pieces spin, while colored glass beads seem to illuminate in the sunlight. Broken baubles glued onto an old flower pot or garden statue, mosaic-style, create a kitschy or shabby-chic decorative piece. Tile grout holds the pieces in place.

Tubs, Pots and Bowls

Old metal washtubs or cooking pots add a sense of whimsy or country decor to a outdoor space. Either item filled with dirt serves as a planter for your favorite flowers; add items such as finials or a washboard for backing decor. A shallow bowl serves as the top for a homemade birdbath, using either a plant stand or series of upturned plant pots as the base. If using plant pots, paint them all a matching color, then secure the bowl to the uppermost pot with construction adhesive.

Bowling Balls

Paint several bowling balls to look like ladybugs for a playful children's garden addition. If you have enough bowling balls, use them as a border for a garden or flower bed, painting them to look like smiley faces or turtles. Chalkboard paint provides a space for writing a message or plant name so you can remember which plants are where ... provided it doesn't rain. Cover a bowling ball with broken china for a mosaic garden ornament; sit it atop a stack of plant pots secured in the ground with a stake through the holes in the pot bottoms. Grout or construction adhesive holds the china in place.

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.