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Finding upcycling inspiration from Newark Antiques Market

Posted February 17th, 2021 by Eve Oliver and filed under Interior Designers

The drag of lockdown has definitely sparked some creativity in many people. At iacf, we are ethical enthusiasts, and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the increase in upcycling and DIY projects, specifically using antiques and vintage items.

Scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest has had a huge impact on people’s motivation to do projects themselves, with many interior designers offering fun content based around tips on how to upcycle and decorate your home yourself, it’s no wonder why a spark of creativity has been raised! 

When scrolling through Instagram ourselves, we came across this stunning upcycled bathroom sink, a piece found at Newark Antiques Markets by Vintage Home Staging (Karen Murray, @vintagehomestaging). 

“Bathroom sink counters are usually so boring, off the shelf cheaply made things that I can’t face parting with my money for one…” Karen exclaims. “I would always rather find an interesting vintage unit with some history behind it as well as being of far better quality.”

We couldn’t agree more, and it’s so great to see a piece found at iacf antiques markets used beautifully in Karen’s home, see what you think for yourself...

Karen’s innovative idea to create her bathroom sink from this vintage piece of furniture arose from her consistent passion for vintage home interiors from being a Visual Merchandiser all her life. Working in London for 20 years, Karen started to explore the vintage side of interiors when she bought a large property to renovate, and it’s grown from there!

Eve asked Karen why she likes using antique and vintage pieces for her work, “Using vintage and antique pieces are always fascinating for customers as every piece is unique. 

“Once people start on a modern trend, the market gets saturated, so you see the same rug design start popping up in all the highstreet stores, when actually if you look hard enough you can usually find something antique that is on trend, but unique.” Karen hit the nail on the head, infact using antiques has become so popular it’s made its own trend.

In previous interviews, we have discussed how people have two choices, they either love a chosen scheme and find items to fit that scheme or they fall in love with an item and base the scheme around that item. Karen discusses whether she has experienced this, “Yes absolutely, this happens all the time. You find a unique piece that might be a great colour or design which can inspire a whole scheme. 

“In a previous Instagram post I showed a storyboard of my plan for the lounge, but I found this gorgeous print and the colour scheme then morphed because of it (see above), and the whole room developed from there.

“The colour scheme can develop from anywhere. If I am inspired when I’m out and about, I make a note to include it in my next refit. I visited Lemon’s cafe in the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn NYC two years ago, and came back obsessed that I had to paint a room yellow, as it felt so good in that space, then I had to emulate it. The story is coming up on my Instagram page soon!” Follow Karen Murray on Instagram to check it out - @vintagehomestaging.

iacf have enjoyed seeing the number of people who are interested in upcycling and antique items increase significantly in the last few years and even more so since lockdown. Karen provides insight as to why this could be: “Due to the big pause we’ve all encountered during COVID, we’ve all had time to think about what we buy, and what it’s doing to the planet.

“There has never been a better time to buy antique and vintage as now. You owe it to the planet to reuse and recycle everything where possible, so I predict antique and vintage is the trend that is just going to get bigger and bigger.”

If you’re stuck on where to purchase antique and vintage furniture from, check out iacf antiques markets where you can browse thousands of antique items sold by trusted dealers and business owners, visit iacf market calendar to find out 2021 market dates, or if you can’t wait then take a look at to browse thousands of antiques and vintage goods from trusted dealers.

What is Karen’s advice when attending antique markets, how does one best use these markets to find furniture for their home? “I measure everything!”, Karen exclaims, “I work out what that room is going to be used for, and then work out the layout to maximise the space. When I have a list of everything I need, I hit the antiques markets.” 

You can find a guide written by Emma Merry, from Emma Merry Styling, on how to shop at Antiques Markets, take a look!

iacf antiques markets aim to provide visitors with genuine antiques, rare collectibles, decorative vintage items and much much more from our wonderful and trusted dealers/ When shopping at iacf, you also help support the antiques industry and each and every one of our small business owners. Karen helps emphasise what is so special about iacf antiques markets…

“When I moved out of London five years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would get my fix of the big antiques markets, but when I realised that Newark Antiques Market was on my doorstep I was over the moon!

Newark Antiques Market is huge and you can find absolutely anything there! You never know what you are going to find on a particular date, so it’s always exciting to go, even when it’s freezing!” 

We then asked Karen for advice to those who want to get started using antiques in their home, but don't know where to begin… 

“Start small, go and have a look around an antiques market, and see what takes your eye. It’s great fun, dog friendly and a great day out even if you don’t buy anything.

“The iacf markets are just really good at what they do. The set up is fantastic, free parking, quick entry, and great layouts, so very easy to find your way around.”

Throughout the last few months we have seen a massive increase in home offices, if you still haven’t designed your home office, Karen emphasises why you should get started… “I’ve worked from home for the past 5 years, so I have designed my home space around that. After 2020, many people are now following suit in 2021. 

“They are probably thinking, ‘I must sort out that room and make it into a proper office’, so my advice would be that when restrictions are released, get out there and make it happen! It will make your home/work life so much easier and more pleasant if you have a nice space to work in.”

If you’re stuck on office decor ideas, check out’s ‘Office Interior Inspiration’ section where you can browse thousands of antique furniture from trusted antiques dealers. 

Thank you so much to Karen Murray for taking some time out to speak with us, before we go… let’s see Karen’s final hints and tips on upcycling and where to begin!

“Start with a really old cheap piece of furniture, so if you aren’t confident, you can just have a go and if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t lost anything. It’s just a case of trial and error, look on Instagram and YouTube for ‘how-to’ videos if you are unsure. I would say most things can be done with a palm sander, a paintbrush and a screwdriver, so you don’t need much to get started!”

Follow Karen Murray on Instagram for interior design inspiration and more of her hints and tips on upcycling: @vintagehomestaging!

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