A gorgeous livingroom that reflects your personal design style doesn’t have to wipe out your savings account. You can achieve a great look filled with unique and even collectible elements by shopping at yard sales and even flea markets for inexpensive finds. Often, with just a little sprucing up, you can achieve a designer look at a fraction of the cost. You’ll also enjoy the supreme satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself!
You can find lamps galore at yard sales. With any luck, you may even spot a collectible Marbro lamp (this author found one at a resale shop for $7 and it resold at auction for more than $500) that simply needs a new shade. You can even find plain lamp shades at these sales and make them over yourself with coordinating fabric or decorative trim. Keep in mind, as well, that with a drill and a bit of basic wiring, you can transform all sorts of items into unique lamps—teapots, sculptures, old mason jars, etc…
Yard sales are a great place to find vintage fabric like bark cloth or the retro prints of 1950s tablecloths. Moreover, you can use your fabric finds to repurpose them into seat covers for parlor chairs, valences for windows, and to recover sofa throw pillows. Given enough fabric, you can even cover window shades, make draperies, and even slip covers for furniture finds. Fabric can adorn lampshades in your living room and also be used to cover photo albums atop your coffee table.
Bookcases & Hutches
Having a great yard sale eye means you have the ability to spot the diamond in the rough. Never be afraid to pick up useful items like bookcases and hutches—especially if they are solid wood. Old furniture was built to last. It might look like a cosmetic disaster, but if it has good lines and is sturdy, you can easily transform it to suit your décor. You can even achieve the look of a custom built-in by painting a bookcase the same color as your living room walls. A couple coats of self-priming paint can turn any old item into an elegant focal point.
Sofas and Chairs
When it comes to these items, don’t let an unappealing fabric turn you off. If the items are in good condition and are comfortable, you can purchase or make slipcovers to suit your own style. Slipcovers are ideal for family households—you can wash them easily and replace them far more inexpensively than new furniture. The seats of chairs are easy and inexpensive to reupholster and their wood parts can be refinished or painted.
Tables are functional elements you can really have fun with. If you have a penchant for arts and crafts, yard sales can be kid-in-a-candy-store experiences. You can replace the scratched top of a coffee table with an abstract mosaic design. You can also use stencils or decoupage techniques to transform your yard sale find. A new table isn’t cheap, so keep an eye out for sturdy tables with classic lines—they’ll go with any design style once you make them over.
Other Great Finds
By shopping yard sales all summer long, you can easily find enough Christmas decorations to redecorate your house for the holiday season—inside and out! If you like to change your living décor seasonally, yard sales will really help you save money; some prints, for instance, are better suited to winter than summer. You can also find beautiful vases and collectible knick-knacks for your living room at yard sales. Additionally, living room rugs, magazine racks, basketry, old trunks, picture frames, shadow boxes, ottomans, and light fixtures can also be found at yard sales.
If you love the idea of creating a living space that is perfectly suited to your style, you’ll enjoy making over yard sale finds. You’ll also love the money you save! Sites like garage sale finder or your local newspaper are great places to find sale postings. Shopping yard sales is also a great green practice. Instead of new, shop used and you’ll be doing your part for the environment while creating a livingroom you and your family will enjoy.