Don't be intimidated by auctions! Nate Berkus says if you learn the lessons of bidding, it's one of the best places to find high-end antiques at affordable prices. We sent him to Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (www.lesliehindman.com) to teach Anne Marie, a viewer, how to snag a bargain. You can browse items in the auction catalogue or check them out in person the day before. All you need to register to bid at an auction is a credit card.
Anne Marie's trip to the auction was a success! She bought a hand-woven 1920s oriental rug that Nate estimated to be worth $5,000 to $7,000 for $450!
Nate Berkus loves to mix expensive things with sweet deals. One of his favorite secrets is shopping at auctions. This antique French marble mantel would probably sell for $10,000, but Nate bought it at an auction for $200 because it had a crack on top. He repaired the damage and now it's one of his favorite pieces in his own house!
Trading Spaces decorator Vern Yip's best-kept secret is a high-end furniture warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia. The warehouse has no electricity, sells last year's models, and some of the furniture does have scratches and dents. But if you're willing to overlook that, you can find well-built pieces at incredible bargains!
These solid wood hand-carved chairs normally retail for $300—but since they were last year's models, Vern found them for $59!
Interior architect Henry Mitchell is an up and coming designer from New York city who knows where to find beautiful things at bargain prices. His tips:
- Shop Bloomingdale's (www.bloomingdales.com) for linens. Four times a year, they have one-day sales where you can buy designer linens for up to 75% off!
- Henry says www.domestications.com is another great place for linens.
- If you're looking for designer furniture and knockoff prices, Nuovo Melodrom (www.nuovomelodrom.com) is a great place to find the hottest styles.
- And if you're decorating on a budget, Henry says Mood Fabric in New York city has the best fabric from the best designers all over the world.
Vern Yip brought some of his favorite bargain finds—designer looks for thousands of dollars less than the originals! The lamps on the left are Fortuny's Cesendello floor lamp and sconce imported from Venice, Italy (www.lightology.com). The shades are crafted from 100% hand-painted silk. Price tag: $1800.
The lamp on the right is a Medina silk floor lamp from Pottery Barn (www.potterybarn.com) that retails for just under $150. (Matching sconce available too)
Vern Yip says one of the hot design trends right now is grouping colored glass vases. On the bottom shelf, we have hand-blown glass vases from Donghia (www.donghia.com.) They retail for approximately $1000 a piece.
On the top shelf, try one of these less expensive versions from Target (www.target.com), Ikea (www.ikea.com) and Smith & Hawken (www.smith-hawken.com) for about $20 apiece.
One of these tables is $14,000 and the other is $398. Can you tell which one is which?
Oprah is standing in front of the hand-crafted Mrs. MacDougall table from Hinson & Company. Made in France from cast bronze molds, it retails for $14,000.
Nate is standing in front of a table from Ballard Designs (www.ballarddesigns.com.) It retails for just under $400 but is a very similar look for less!
The black leather and stainless steel chair on the left from Brueton (www.brueton.com) or the Merchandise Mart in Chicago retails for $1920.
The upholstered look on the right comes from Target (www.target.com) and retails for $249.