I still have an old Victorian era trunk that I use to store old dresses and items in. I used to have an old Singer sewing machine (pedal driven) that I tried to reuse but was unable to make it work for me. I ended up selling it to a quilter via CraigsList who thought she could fix it and use it.
I was able to furnish a small apartment with these low-priced items and art and took most of it with me when I purchased a house. I still enjoy looking at antique/vintage/resale/thrift shops and occasionally purchase small items. I've purchased brand new couches from going-out-of-business sales and still have them. I am able to purchase a few things from the Dollar Store or Five Below store that I use. The only things I won't purchase for use are cooking items and pictures of family members. But I was able to acquire dishes and pots and pans via saving grocery store receipts and redeeming them for cookware.
With that said, if one is alert and watchful, they could furnish their home for a reasonable price when on a fixed budget. There are other stores that many people buy from that can also add to the home. Ebay, Craigslist, OfferUp, and other online markets have popped up and become competitive with onsite vintage markets and garage sales, but the thrill of going somewhere and looking yourself for a bargain without having to pay shipping is a motivator to still go out hunting for bargains and treasures.
But why does a person like me feel attracted to some of these old items that I can't ever really use but simply show? For me I find Victorian Era, Native American Art, Egyptian, MesoAmerican and some European pieces simply fascinating. I also look for interesting pieces of jewelry (especially silver). For others they may prefer mid-century or pop culture items. What is it that attracts us to these things? Was it good memories from our childhood or something much more? For me, I feel it is much more and possibly a memory from a different life. I have met others like me with similar interests and they have similar ideas regarding this attraction as well.
Simply stated, people still purchase items that can only be used as a show piece in today's world because it makes them feel good and at ease deep down in their soul because it is something familiar to them and with some sort of meaning or interest. Here are some items from Wolff's Flea Market (closing in Palatine and moving back to Rosemont for now) that caught my attention. I photograph things when I am walking through a large market so that I can remember what I may want to come back and purchase. This is generally ok for a vintage shop, but not for a craft show so please be cognizant of this practice and where you are at. Here are the items I found interesting.
How long will the vintage market last in today's world? I don't really know. Things have become more cheaply made and electronics break or technology changes so much that they are almost unusable. Time will tell.