Photo: Michael McNamaraBy Lara Spencer
Hang It if You Love It
Flea markets and estate sales are terrific places to find oil paintings, vintage signs, old maps--even beautiful pieces of wallpaper that can be framed. For example, there's a large chartreuse midcentury oil painting anchoring my living room that provides the inspiration for the color pops I use throughout the first floor. I got it at a garage sale, which means I have a one-of-a-kind, original painting that looks like a million bucks--for the same amount of money as a reproduction.
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Photo: Aimee HerringGive Objects New Life
Almost anything can be used for a different purpose: I turned a vintage champagne bucket I bought for $10 at a yard sale into a planter by potting a gorgeous orchid in it.
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Photo: Michael McNamaraSee Past the Plaid
When it comes to seating, don't judge. Club chairs can break the bank, but I found a great pair, covered in a bad plaid, for $45 each at a charity shop. When reupholstered in bright-yellow fabric, they're anything but mellow!
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Photo: Michael McNamaraLook Beyond the Frumpy Mirror
I love mirrors; They add light and glamour--and because there are usually many of them for sale at thrift shops, flea markets and tag sales, you can get a great deal on them. The only problem? You may have to transform a dated, dark, mahogany-brown frame, for instance, by painting it a fantastic fuchsia. I like Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x in Berry Pink for an easy update.
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Photo: Michael McNamaraLeave No Lamp Left Behind
I prefer lamplight to overhead light--it's so much more flattering--and I've found so many statement-making, expensive-looking lamps tucked away at charity thrift shops and estate sales. I never break up a pair, even if I only need one. Trust me, the second will come in handy somewhere--after all, you may redecorate, or move and need the matching lamp. You'll want to check the wiring on any secondhand lamp; the lowest price isn't a bargain if you burn your house down. If the cord or switches seems stiff or frayed, have the lamp rewired, which is an inexpensive repair.
Lara Spencer is the co-anchor of Good Morning America and the author of I Brake for Yard Sales: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops and the Occasional Dumpster.
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