If you’re a vintage lover then chances are a trek to Round Top, Texas is high on your bucket list. America’s biggest antique fair, which happens three times yearly, stretches out across 11 miles, attracts over 2,000 vendors, and is attended by scores of celebrities, designers, and more. So how do you make Round Top Top your oyster? We posed that question to interior design blogger Emily Henderson (a veteran Round Topper) and she broke it down for us like only Emily can. Here, get Emily’s insider secrets for working Round Top like a pro.
1. Strategize Which Spots to Shop
Round Top is BIG and divided into numerous sub-markets, so Emily recommends pre-selecting what areas you want to hit to make the most of your visit. “Marburger is definitely a must,” she says, “It is very well curated, filled with hundreds of booths and has a great collection of items—not to mention it is under shaded tents, which makes the heat a lot more manageable.” Beyond Marburger, Emily suggests Warrenton, noting that it’s great “if you are looking to really dig through some items and hunt—it has miles of tents and pickings.” For larger home pieces, she likes “Excess I and II, as well as Paul Michael Company which have some great booths and shops. The Compound, with Eneby Vintage, is really amazing, too.”
2. Browse From Big to Small
It might sound counterintuitive but Emily says, “my biggest advice is to browse for larger items first and then circle back to look through the smaller items.” Her reasoning? “Big ticket items always go fast, as they are the first to be seen, so if you see something you love in the moment, grab it.”
3. Focus on Shape and Size
The sheer inventory available at Round Top can be overwhelming, especially when it seems like most items could use a little TLC. In these moments Emily advises that you “look at shape, scale, and size, rather than finish or color. You can easily paint, reupholster, or refinish items, but you can’t change the shape. I recommend looking for good bones and don’t be deterred by old upholstery or a bad paint color.”
4. Seek Out Your Style
As Emily notes, “anything vintage, antique, industrial, salvage or rustic are very well represented at Round Top.” If your style skews in a different direction, however, don’t be discouraged! “Even if the rustic farmhouse, industrial style is not your favorite, you can still find plenty both big and small to suit any style,” Emily says, noting that it may take a bit more digging and visiting a variety of fields.
5. Keep the Days Manageable
As any flea market-goer knows, vintage hunting can be exhausting! “After 7 hours of shopping even I was ready to call it a day,” Emily says of her last outing at Round Top. “Next time, I would spread the time out a bit and do 5-ish hours of shopping everyday over a period of 4-5 days rather than trying to cram it all in during one single weekend. My only regret was not having enough time to be able to thoroughly comb through each booth.”
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Lead image by Sarah Moore