Framed coffee table books

Photo: ChiChi Ubiña/Flea Market Fabulous

The Coffee Table Book That Just Takes Up Space

If you're always moving photography or art books off your coffee table to find a place to rest your cappuccino, it's time to consider throwing them on the wall. No, really. Cut out your favorite pages, frame them and hang them above the sofa or console table in two rows of three, suggests Lara Spencer, Good Morning America co-host and Flea Market Flip star, in her new book, Flea Market Fabulous. Matching tchotchkes—like that bowl of shells, sand dollars or vintage keys—are also ideal for grid-style wall art. Just buy four to six frames, depending on the size of the wall space you need to cover, remove the glass, place a piece of grass-cloth wallpaper in each frame and glue one ex-coffee-table accoutrement to the center of each one.

But Go Ahead and Toss: Any nubby or heavily detailed trinkets, which can become impossible-to-clean dust magnets.
Restored table

Photo: ChiChi Ubiña/Flea Market Fabulous

The Water-Ringed Table

Tabletops take a beating over the years, but when Spencer saw this side table was missing its leather top, she only saw opportunity. She trimmed a scrap piece of wallpaper to the insert's size. The similar pop of color ties the table into the rest of the room, even if the wood is lighter or darker than the other furniture, Spencer writes. Her quick fix for other simply battered tabletops: Lightly sand, then rub with wood wax to polish and protect them from future coaster-less cups.

But Go Ahead and Toss: Any table with wobbly legs or at an awkward height—reinforcing and resizing the legs is often not worth the effort.

Photo: ChiChi Ubiña/Flea Market Fabulous

The Bland-But-Big Mirror

A massive mirror can make a room look larger (provided it's not reflecting a cluttered wall), but the most affordable styles tend to have thin, boring frames. Try hot-gluing pieces of driftwood to the edges (a look inspired by one of Spencer's flea-market finds, above), spray-painting the frame in the room's accent color for a notice-me change of pace or covering it with molding.

But Go Ahead and Toss: Flimsy, over-the-door mirrors that cost more to fix up than they would to replace.
Media console

Photo: ChiChi Ubiña/Flea Market Fabulous

The Generic, Old Media Console

A discount media console can immediately look high-end with just three steps: Add thin wood molding to each cabinet door, paint it a glossy neutral (white brightens the room) and trade out the existing hardware for oversize door knockers, like Spencer's team did for one couple. The attention-getting pulls are more substantial, she writes, creating a statement piece that's more Jonathan Adler than cousin-Jonathan's-hand-me-down (No media console? An old dresser works just as well; simply drill holes in the back to allow the cables to slide through.)

But Go Ahead and Toss: An entertainment center that doesn't fit your needs (it's too low, it doesn't have enough storage space, it reminds you of your cheating ex—no matter how many times you repaint it). Just because it could be stunning doesn't mean you need it in your life.
Old chair

Photo: ChiChi Ubiña/Flea Market Fabulous

The Funky Old Chair That's Survived 3 Moves and a Very Hungry Terrier

That chair may look ragged, but as long as it's still sturdy—and you love its overall shape—it's worth reupholstering. Spencer used just 2 yards of fabric to revive this seat, and suggests looking for 'remnant fabric'—leftover pieces—at stores to score a better deal. This project is a great opportunity to add pattern to liven up a neutral living room: Try toile, like Spencer did, for a traditional look, or an oversize nature print, like fern leaves, if you're more contemporary. Fair warning: The seat of a dining room chair can be an easy DIY, but for more complex projects, like this settee, with its curved arms, you may want to call in a pro.

But Go Ahead and Toss: Any worn piece that doesn't have at least two of the following: solid construction, an iconic shape and great details (like the claw feet on Spencer's settee).

Lara Spencer is a co-host of Good Morning America, host of Flea Market Flip (HGTV and Great American Country) and author of I Brake for Yard Sales and Flea Market Fabulous.