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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 She’s referring to her off-the-clock passion: finding raggedy, outdated, neglected furniture via yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets and yes, even dumpsters, then transforming it and using it to create amazing, high-end rooms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!

32 Responses

  1. Holly G says:

    Really, REALLY am enjoying Lara Spencer on HGTV. Her great enthusiasm, energy and amazing talent for "finds" and putting it together is so much fun! How in the world does she have the time to do it, with all her other things….GMA and so much more, not to mention family!

  2. Roz says:

    Really enjoyed Lara Spencer. Entertaining, informative, fun! Best Saturday afternoon I've spent in front of the tv. Keep more of Lara coming!

  3. helen says:

    Well Lara has a fun, fresh hit of a show!! Have always loved her in the mornings and sure hope this show will be regular. She really makes the show. Picked up a lot of great ideas and lessons. Our local Restore has a set of chairs that I am going to go back and hopefully buy after watching the show today. Wish she was driving thru Kansas to help me out.

  4. Connie Haack says:

    I love thrifting! Love all your ideas and decorating. I haven't been able to talk many people to join in on my second hand bargains. Their loss. I will be getting the book – ASAP. The one thing that I do is I also buy things that I can sell on ebay to cover the cost of the items I am keeping. At an auction I bought a box lot that had a teddy bear in it. I bid $7.00, my grandsons got the toys in the box and I sold the teddy bear for $719.00 on ebay. I am addicted.

  5. Marvin Massive says:

    I would like to know if Lara Spencer will be doing any more shows for HGTV?

  6. Danielle Holbrunk says:

    Thought this show was fantastic. Had no idea Lara Spencer was into all of this stuff. Ordered the book from Amazon. I am into this kind of thing myself. Once I picked up a table from a garage sale for only $20 and painted it up and made it look like new. Everyone walks into my den and wants to know where I bought it from. Love the style of Lara Spencer and loved Lara's cute contractor Justin too. Does anyone know if they have more shows together? My daughter said Lara has another show and Justin is on the DIY network.

  7. Brenda C says:

    loved the show !!!

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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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