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When Lara Spencer, coanchor for Good Morning America, says that it’s easy to get “addicted to the hunt,” she’s not talking about stalking celebrity news stories. She’s referring to her off-the-clock passion: finding raggedy, outdated, neglected furniture via yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets and yes, even dumpsters, then transforming it and using it to create amazing, high-end rooms on a budget.

I can totally relate, because her lifelong addiction to “sale-ing” is my brand new one: Since I bought my first house, I’ve been a Craigslist and estate sale addict, and the thrill of finding (and transforming) that amazing piece is intoxicating. New to the hunt? Lara’s new book, I Brake for Yard Sales, shows you how to find furniture gems in the rough. (Get more of her tips tonight at 8/7c in her HGTV special!)

I Brake For Yard Sales Cover

Thrifting runs in Lara’s family — she spent nearly every weekend as a child hopping from secondhand shop to yard sale to auction with her mother and siblings — so she’s nailed down the tricks of the trade. She starts by helping you define a your style, then offers tips for how to recognize quality pieces (and duds.) She also shows you how to use the pieces once you get home — a vintage sign becomes an industrial-chic focal point in this space filled with modern, graphic touches.

Sign Transformation

From flea market find to living room showpiece.

And as Lara reveals how she makes over and styles each piece, she also tells you how much she paid for them: Can you believe she picked up an Eames lounger for just $150 and a pair of Picasso sketches for $30?! (So. Jealous.) This collection of medallions set her back only $20, while the ornate “musical” chair was a mere $50. Looks like a million bucks, right?

Yellow Wallpaper Antique Furniture

Retro yellow wallpaper gives traditional furniture a modern look.

The book also shows off some of the interiors she’s decorated with flea market and budget finds. My favorite: This living room in comedian Kathy Griffin’s house that’s decorated in a style the friends jokingly call “Palm Springs gay man going through a midlife crisis in his midcentury home who wants to attract the hottest guys to come over.”

Kathy Griffin Living Room

Kathy Griffin's living room, designed by Lara Spencer.

And Lara is full of ideas that take decorating outside the (reclaimed and repainted) box. After recovering her kitchen chairs one t0o many times, she found the perfect budget-friendly solution to two messy kids: cover the chairs with shower curtains!  She used one heavy-duty plastic curtain per chair, and hid the seams with chrome upholstery tacks.

Shower Curtain Dining Chairs

Dining room chairs recovered with high-end shower curtains.

When you finish the book, you’ll want to drive off and slam on the brakes for the nearest yard sale…I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

Take a break from furniture scouting tonight at 8/7c to watch Lara redecorate her best friend’s home on the HGTV special I Brake for Yard Sales.

Happy bargain hunting!

42 Responses

  1. Nancy Cray says:

    Love this show Lots of inspiration So much fun

  2. katherine alford says:

    This is a great show! The tips for shopping flea mrkts and how to tell quality fabrics and pieces are invaluable!!

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  6. Madonna Wayne says:

    Lovethisbook.My daughter an artist loves it also. It is inspiring, it brings a great message for the young. Everyting can be re-used, and more importantly, can be created with an discerning eye to enhance their environment. Who wants a matchy matchy room that is delivered and placed, like a furniture store display. Great before gritty pictures and wonderful after designer pictures. LOVE IT!

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Liz GrayLiz is a Senior Editor at HGTV.com. She lives in a midcentury tri-level that’s stuck in the ‘70s…for now. When she’s not working on remodeling projects with her boyfriend and...

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