15 Room Makeover Tips on a Budget


Convince your friends that you hired a fancy decorator-and possibly won the lottery-with genius home decorating tips from Good Morning America anchor and thrifting savant Lara Spencer. Her new book, I Brake for Yard Sales, shows you how to turn castoffs into gold and decorate your home on a budget.

1. Think outside the trunk. I turned this $100 metal trunk from a thrift shop into a table. I didn't have to do anything to it!

2. Look for a sign. The graphics, shapes, and textures of industrial pieces like this old sign make amazing art and add a little masculine, throw-up-your-feet feel.

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3. Don't forget the extras. Keep 'em quirky and inexpensive. See that roulette wheel I found at a yard sale? It's a great conversation piece. I'm all about fun animal accents too - hence the ceramic owl and the pair of black Foo dogs. You can never go wrong with a Foo dog. Trust me.

4. Consider Lucite. Because they're clear as can be, Lucite tables are a great way to add functionality without cluttering your space.

5. Try a sleek-looking couch. I found the single-cushion sofa I'm sitting on here for $160 at a thrift shop. The fabric was the worst shade of rust damask when I bought it - but the shape was spectacular. I covered it in velvet and it looks like new. I'm obsessed!

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6. Have fun with patterns. When I found these curvy, modern takes on classic wing chairs on eBay, they looked like the photo on the right. So I had them redone in plaid (I'm mad for plaid), and they fit in perfectly.

7. Check the back. The 18th-century lithographs you can see above were another huge find. They were in an old dusty box but had beautiful frames. Sure enough, when I flipped them over, there was a label from a famous London framer. Gotta love a good garage sale!

8. Can you recover it? There are some reupholstery projects you can do yourself. Slip seats (chairs you can pop the seat out of) are easy; all you need is a staple gun and fabric. But hire a professional for elaborate pieces like couches and club chairs. Get three quotes, and if it's still too pricey, have just the back or cushion re-covered for an eclectic look.

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9. Bedroom formula: two lamps + two side tables + upholstered headboard + monogram

10. Keep it balanced. I'm a big fan of symmetry. When things are a little askew, the room feels tilted to me. Flanking a bed with side tables and gorgeous lamps - or bookending a chest with two chairs - is a formula anyone can use, and it always works. If you can't find a pair of something, try two items that are similar in scale.

11. Match your nightstands. I searched for famous furniture designer Milo Baughman on eBay and scored this pair of nightstands in my bedroom for $135 apiece. They retail for three times that! I have the eBay app on my phone so I can always keep track of my bids.

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"I found these Picasso lithographs for $35 and have hung them in a place of honor ever since!" - Lara

12. Go for funky lamps. I top them with white paper shades for a clean look that shows off the base. Always, always check the wiring on old lamps, and if it feels crunchy, get it rewired. A lamp isn't a bargain if it burns your house down.

13. Wallpaper one wall. It's not a big investment or commitment, and it's an easy way to snap up a room. Another option is wall decals - they're super-fun... and cheap. I love paisley designs, but do whatever feels right for your space.

14. Personalize your bedding. An embroidered monogram on the bedspread ties the look together in a chic, personal way. You can also add it to pillows.

15. Detail the headboard. I added chrome tacks to my daughter's headboard to jazz it up. They come in adhesive strips, so you don't have to nail them in individually. The lines are perfect, and most cost just $1 per yard

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