Mixing and matching creates style

A home with no art is not only boring but also sterile and unpleasant.

Fortunately, browsing through the flea-market made me realise that decorating a house can be a pleasant experience.

Isaac Garanewako, a Kenyan crafter at the Rosebank flea-market, said art goes in and out of fashion.

"Over the years we have noticed the emergence of an interest in decorating using earthy tones and homey, comfortable looks," he said. "Instead of jumping at the flashy and ostentatious, more people are opting for a design look that speaks of a down-to-earth approach to decor.

"We always make our artefacts according to demand. Sometimes we are the ones who set trends."

The beauty of shopping at a flea market is that you can negotiate - you can haggle with the trader until a reasonable price is reached.

In fact, it's almost expected of you.

And you can get lucky and find a treasure that would probably cost 10 times more in an art gallery.

Anelisa Njoko, an interior designer, says flea markets offer about as many different styles as there are personality types.

"Basically, you need to decide what style to choose for your home because you will be the one living with it. If you decide on the retro-look, the hippy look or the minimalist look, garage sales and flea markets are the place to shop," she said.

"You'll find picture frames, cushions with covers that are removable and washable from R30, tight-knit and textured rugs and small hand-crafted chairs from as little as R80 on a good day."

Buyers can also get child-friendly art and interesting rugs for children's rooms, said Njoko, because market art is cheap, and people tend to buy for the sake of buying.

"It is always advisable to buy something that can be displayed in an engaging way.

"If you buy a lovely piece but it doesn't fit in the room, you really have nothing to show for your excellent taste except a piece of work that fits nowhere.

"This does nothing for your style," Njoko said.