Yard Sales 101: Lara Spencer's Tips for Decorating on a Budget

ABC News Blogs

It's true Lara Spencer really does "Brake for Yard Sales"....not to mention flea markets, thrift shops and, no, she's not ashamed to admit it, even the occasional dumpster.

Her passion is finding cheap vintage finds and transforming them into high-end interior design, often bringing them back to life in her very own workshop, a.k.a. her driveway.

When the cameras stop rolling on "Good Morning America," Spencer's jeans come on and her double-life as a designer begins.

The title of her new book says it all. In "I Brake for Yard Sales: and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster," named after the bumper sticker on her mom's car when she was a kid, Spencer offers practical tips on how anyone can achieve blue-blood style on a blue-collar budget .

Her mantra?  Rescue, Recycle, and Reinvent.

Her specialty?  Taking pieces that other people may consider trash and turning them into treasure with a little sanding, spray paint and elbow grease.

Here are some tips from Spencer's new book to help you on your decorating treasure hunt.

Must-Have Pieces for Anyone Wanting to Redecorate:

  1. Unique lamps - A great way to add color and interest to a room.
  2. Mirrors - Lighten up a room and add glamour.
  3. Dog statues - Big dogs, small dogs, foo dogs - they are truly every decorator's best friend.
  4. Original art - Value doesn't matter.  If you love it, buy it and retire mass-produced prints.

How to Find the Best Deals:

  1. Check the classified section of your local paper on Thursdays.
  2. Strategize your hunting route.  Map out your route the night before you plan on hitting estate and yard sales to maximize time.  Remember, early bird gets the worm!
  3. The early bird may get the worm but it's still worth it to hit estate sales and flea markets at the end of the day.  Trust me, they want to get rid of every last thing!

Getting Started:

  1. Don't be afraid to mix and match different designs and styles.
  2. Choose a "scene setter," a single piece that can inspire the décor of a whole room.
  3. Map out exactly what you need for each room before you start shopping.

Tips for Easy, Do-it-Yourself Design:

  1. New knobs are a simple and cheap way to take an old bureau or nightstand and instantly modernize it.
  2. Use glossy spray paint to hide a myriad of sins like watermarks on furniture.
  3. Choose vintage lamps as a cheaper alternative to buying a new lamp.  Just have the wiring checked, buy a new shade and new finial to make it new again.
  4. Ask for remnant fabrics which are at the end of the roll and then have window drapes and pillows made from them.
  5. When painting, always make sure you add a coat of primer before you paint.

View Comments (20)

Recommended for You

  • Jennifer Aniston's Mother, Nancy Dow, Has Died

    Jennifer Aniston is mourning the loss of her mother Nancy Dow.In a statement, the actress said Dow died "after enduring a long illness."She was 79.Jennifer Aniston Talks About Her Mother"It is with great sadness that my brother John and I announce the passing of our mother Nancy Dow. She was 79…

    Good Morning America
  • Teresa Giudice's Bankruptcy Case Will Be Re-opened After She Served 15 Months

    Today, a federal judge in New Jersey re-opened the bankruptcy case against "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice. Giudice just finished serving a 15-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud and admitting that she and her husband adjusted their income on bank…

    Good Morning America
  • Surrogate Mom at Center of Legal Battle Speaks Out

    Melissa Cook, a 48-year-old mother of four who made headlines when she refused to abort one of the triplets she was carrying as a surrogate mom, says she will never give up her fight to see the three babies she bore in February. So she has taken the issue to court, asking a Los Angeles judge…

    Good Morning America
  • How to Survive the Coming Debt Crisis

    Washington s debt is now $115 trillion and it s growing by the day. We face 5 years of crashing stock markets, slashed pensions, layoffs, and more

    Money and MarketsSponsored
  • 'Return of the Jedi' Originally Had a Much More Aggressive Title

    "Star Wars" fans are getting a pretty neat look at what the original promotion and plan was for "Return of the Jedi."The 1983 film, which marked the end of the three original films, was actually supposed to be called "Revenge of the Jedi."Read: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': What Critics Are…

    Good Morning America
  • Prince Harry to Host Coldplay at Kensington Palace

    Prince Harry will be rocking out for a cause close to his heart. The 31-year-old prince has invited Coldplay to headline a concert for his Sentebale charity in the back garden of Kensington Palace on June 28. “We're delighted to join Prince Harry for this very special concert and to support…

    Good Morning America
  • 11-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Creates and Directs Animated Film

    Neshama Ryman, of Riverdale, New York, created the characters and storyline for her movie, “The Klumz,” while she was undergoing treatment for the alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma she was diagnosed with while in kindergarten. The now fifth-grade student knew during her treatment that she would have a…

    Good Morning America
  • Formerly Homeless Student Graduates College While Caring for Brothers

    The road toward graduating cum laude on Tuesday with a bachelor's degree in English and a certificate in forensic science was an arduous one for Bianca Jeannot, 22, and not just because of the academic challenges. Paul Santons, 34, was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease some 11 years ago and is…

    Good Morning America
  • GMO Mosquito Company Calls for Expedited Action to Allow Test Against Zika Virus

    The head of a British biotech company that has developed a genetically modified mosquito in an effort to lower the population of the insects that spread the Zika virus called for federal regulators today to expedite a decision about on conducting a test of these mosquitoes in Florida. Hadyn Parry,…

    Good Morning America
  • Jack Osbourne Opens Up About Living With MS, Calls Family 'Heroes'

    Four years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Jack Osbourne calls his family the real "heroes" in his battle with the disease. When Osbourne was diagnosed with the incurable autoimmune disease in 2012, he was 26-years-old and a new dad. Now the father of two girls with wife Lisa…

    Good Morning America
  • New Captain America Comic Has Major Twist

    They killed off Wolverine a few years back, then they took away Steve Rogers' superpowers.Now, Marvel Comics just dropped the bomb of all comic bombs. Captain America is a Hydra agent!?Say it ain't so.In a new series, "Captain America: Steve Rogers #1" out today, writer Nick Spencer and Marvel…

    Good Morning America
  • Hillary Clinton Violated Email Policy, State Dept. Says

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and some of her predecessors violated the government's policies on email use and records retention, the State Department's inspector general says. Clinton's campaign for president has been dogged by questions surrounding last year's revelation that she…

    Good Morning America
  • Born Deaf, 11-Year-Old Boy Takes on National Spelling Bee

    An 11-year-old South Carolina boy who was born deaf has made it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Neil Maes of Belton, South Carolina, received cochlear implants when he was 1 and 5 years old and, through therapy, was able to learn spoken language. "It seems like a bad situation: 'Your child…

    Good Morning America
  • Massive Sinkhole Swallows 20 Cars in Italian Tourist Area

    A massive sinkhole opened up on a busy Italian street today, swallowing some 20 parked parks -- and the jaw-dropping spectacle was captured on video.The chaos unfolded this morning in the center of Florence along the scenic Arno River, a popular tourist destination, but it probably wasn't the kind…

    Good Morning America
  • Court Denies Gawker's Request for New Trial in Hulk Hogan Case

    Gawker lost its bid today to get a new trial in its legal battle with former wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan had sued for invasion of privacy and won $140 million in damages from the case back in March. During the trial, Gawker's legal team claimed publishing the Hogan video, which featured him having…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Dancing With the Stars': Deaf Actress Marlee Matlin Congratulates Mirror Ball Winner Nyle DiMarco

    "Wow @DancingABC!!" Matlin tweeted, with a heart emoji. Matlin, who is also deaf, competed on season 6 of "DWTS" and showed solidarity toward DiMarco by attending the finale -- sporting a Nyle T-shirt and all. Matlin was among the slew of celebs to witness DiMarco's winning performance to…

    Good Morning America
  • Backstage at La Nouba at Walt Disney World

    La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs has been going strong since 1998. But even visitors who have seen the show haven't seen it all.Notable new additions to the show include the B-Boys, a world-famous breakdancing act, and the Aerial Bamboo routine, a love story told…

    Good Morning America
  • Royal Family's Pet Hamster Marvin Comes to Life in Playful Illustrations

    Prince George and Princess Charlotte's pet hamster has earned a loyal following in the Twittersphere. Princess Kate, who apparently had a hamster herself growing up, revealed in early-May that a hamster named Marvin joined the royal household. HRH Marvin, or TheRoyalHamster.com, is the brainchild…

    Good Morning America
  • Hillary Clinton Picks Actor Tony Goldwyn Over Biden, Sanders for VP in a Game on 'Ellen'

    As a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Clinton was shown a picture of two people and she had to pick the one she would like as a running mate. "Oh, Joe!" Clinton said when faced with choosing between Vice President Joe Biden or businessman Mark Cuban. Clinton then picked "Scandal" star and…

    Good Morning America