5 Cheap Tips for Home Happiness
Lara Spencer, author of I Brake for Yard Sales
, reveals her strategies for decorating on a dime.
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.
Give 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.
See 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!
Look 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.
Leave 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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