If you’re looking to decorate your apartment with one-of-a-kind items, skip the mall and hunt local shops to find pieces that will give your place personality. Here are three of Columbia’s best places to find used and antique wares, from a lower-end flea market to a more pricey antiques mall.
U.S. #1 Metro Flea Market
3500 Augusta Rd., West Columbia
We didn’t have much hope showing up at the flea market on a snowy Saturday morning, but we were excited to find that the market was bustling with activity. Even though it was January, there was still row upon row of vendors, though relatively few customers.
The outside portion of the market consists of tents selling everything from beanies and scarves to burning oils and produce. Everything was reasonably priced, and the merchants were chatty and willing to barter. Used appliances and nicer furniture are protected from the elements across the parking lot in the inside portion of the market.
Unfortunately, only a few of the stalls were open when we visited, as the market is more popular in the summer, but if you are in search of cheap but sturdy used furniture, this is the best place to look.
Best find: Used furniture
Best time to go: Summer
6642 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia
While you most likely won’t find clothing at the flea market or an antique mall, Goodwill is the place to go for thrifty apparel. The bulk of what Goodwill sells is clothing, and you can find it for cheap, though you may have to hunt through a few racks to find what you’re looking for. While garments do make up most of what Goodwill has to offer, you can also find furniture in the back, along with appliances and decorations.
No matter what it is you’re looking for, stop by Goodwill toward the end of the season you would use the item. Right now, the shelves are crowded with Christmas decorations, but you most likely won’t find any bathing suits.
Best find: Clothes
Best time to go: Year-round
Columbia Antique Mall
602 Huger St., Columbia
The antique mall doesn’t look like much from the outside — just two long, squat buildings clustered around a courtyard filled with lawn fixtures on the corner of Blossom and Huger Streets. One building is home to the pricier antiques, though smaller and less expensive items are nestled among them.
The second building is home to almost exclusively smaller wares, including a sizable used records section. While you’re probably not going to be able to furnish your apartment for cheap here, you will be able to find smaller fixtures, like lamps and dishware, that can fit any budget.
The mall is picked over in the summer and fall as students move into new apartments, so in order to find the most variety, make sure to visit in the spring.
Best finds: Unique trinkets, antique fixtures
Best time to go: Spring