With 11 miles of shopping and thousands of merchants lining Highway 237 and beyond, finding a treasure at the Round Top Antiques + Design Show shouldn’t be that difficult. But everyone could use a little help to find the best treasures possible.

What constitutes a Round Top Antiques Show treasure largely depends on who’s doing the hunting. However, there are a few universal secrets for finding special pieces in Round Top.

Here’s your Round Top Antiques Show Treasure Hunting Guide: 

Shop By Heart

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to eras, styles, materials and color. A Round Top antiques treasure need not be in fashion, nor have a pedigree to be of value. It can require a truck to haul, or it can fit in your pocket. If it works for the space, falls within your budget and triggers a visceral response, it’s worth buying.

Take Things Out of Context

Round Top dealers are particularly skilled at repairing and reworking pieces, and creating stunning vignettes with them. They are experts at imagining ways to update, use and style their finds. When shopping less stylized venues, practice envisioning pieces at home, or in ways that others dealers have styled them, rather than in their current environment. Attracted to something, but not sure why? Try to imagine using it in a different way than it was originally intended.

Also try to envision pieces for their potential. How might something look after being cleaned up, polished, or possibly refinished, reupholstered, or repainted a fresh color?

Great pieces can be found anywhere, including at Punkie’s Place in Warrenton. (Photo by Jordan Geibel)

Don’t Be A Snob (Or A Reverse Snob)

On a related note, Round Top antiques treasures can be found at any venue — whether it be high or low-end. Don’t be afraid to pull over and check out spots that are new, or off the beaten path. Conversely, don’t pass up a high-end venue based on outward appearance.

Even if the pricing turns out to be out-of-reach, take a moment to speak to the dealers about the origin and history of an item. The dealers themselves can often be considered treasures. Many have traveled the world, and are filled with information and ideas. Pay close attention to how they style their spaces and how creatively pieces are used. Inspiration and knowledge are valuable treasures that don’t cost a cent.  

Shop Slow

It’s harder to spot special pieces in a rush. Don’t try to conquer the entire Round Top Antiques Show in one visit. It’s better to carefully comb a small number of venues. Slow shopping not only makes a Round Top visit more enjoyable, but it also greatly increases the chances of finding a true treasure.

In fact, it’s always a good idea to take a second look at a space or venue. If possible, make a second loop around the entire venue, or at the very least, take a second pass through a few favorite booths to be sure nothing has been missed. 

Consider Shopping Solo

Round Top is known as a group-friendly getaway. Having friends and family along for the journey is part of the fun, but the focus that comes from shopping without distractions can’t be underestimated either.

Shopping with a hired gun like a professional decorator or designer is an exception, but true Round Top treasure hunters always schedule a day to shop alone. Plan to meet up with the gang later for dinner and drinks and to show off your finds. Another option is to split up upon arrival at a venue and schedule a time to meet the crew back at the entrance.

Stories can be swapped on the drives in between stops. 

Solo shopping at The Compound can be a joy. (Photo by Jordan Geibel)

Ditch The List

While it’s a good idea to bring a list of furniture and decor needs and measurements from home, sometimes a special piece that’s not on the list will steal the spotlight. Pieces that elicit an emotional response are more important than scratching items off a checklist. If finding a particular item is the sole purpose of the trip, however, ask the dealers for help. Most of them can suggest the right booth, or the right venue to find exact pieces.

Buy On The Spot

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a special treasure will still be available a few hours, or even a few minutes later. It’s not worth the heartbreak, or the time wasted backtracking.

Shop Early

Many Round Top venues have strict opening and closing dates and times, but others are happy to allow shoppers into their spaces before posted hours. Get into town a couple of days before the official Antiques Show dates and try to spot dealers unloading or setting up their spaces.

Approach dealers carefully and politely. Always ask for the green light before shopping. 

Don’t sleep on great pieces, they won’t be there for long, especially at Marburger Farm. (Photo by Candice Cowin)

Shop Late

Setting up for the Round Top Antiques Show is an incredible amount of work. For dealers that travel into Round Top for the show, the prospect of loading up unpurchased wares can be daunting. The less they have to load up and take home, the better.

Try scheduling a Round Top trip for the tail end of the show and stay for a day or two after the official close of show dates. Check with dealers you see loading up to see if they’re still interested in selling. Again, politeness and respect are key.

Shop The Winter Show

Held in January, the Round Top Winter Antiques + Design Show is more relaxed and less busy than the main events in the spring and fall. A handful of venues are open, along with year-round weekend shopping favorites. Some dealers bring in new items for the winter, while others may offer discounts on remaining inventory from the fall.

With generally mild temperatures and hardly any traffic, winter is the perfect time to find a Round Top antiques treasure without feeling rushed. 

Shop Outside The Antique Shows

Many Round Top stores and a few venues are open year-round. Virtually every weekend is a good weekend to go treasure hunting in Round Top. Check out RoundTop.com’s digital guide to see what’s open year-round. 

Learning how to find Round Top treasures is a skill, and it’s one that can be improved upon with every passing season. Don’t miss a chance to brush up on treasure hunting skills at the Fall Round Top Antiques + Design Show, scheduled for October 14 through October 28.