Decorating on a Budget: Thrifty Finds Transformed

The experts at HGTV Magazine go yard-sale shopping. Check out their secrets to spotting potential and repurposing the castoffs into pretty pieces you'll love and use.

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  • The Find: A Shabby Bookcase

    This bookcase has a good, solid frame, but with nicks and wear, it's time for a refresh.

  • The Flip: Cheery Bathroom Storage

    We sanded the bookcase, painted the inside of the shelves a high-energy red (we used Fall Harvest by Benjamin Moore) and the outside blue (ours is Jet Stream, also by Benjamin Moore). Then we popped in some wicker baskets full of bathroom goodies to create a cute bathroom storage piece.

  • The Find: Old Brass Candlesticks

    These outdated candlesticks can be given a colorful new look.

  • The Flip: A Snazzy Centerpiece

    We cleaned, primed and painted the candlesticks, then spray-painted them bright colors to create a vibrant centerpiece. For a cool, cohesive look, try matching candles to the candlestick colors.

  • The Find: A Dingy Filing Cabinet

    This file cabinet may be functional, but it's certainly lacking in the style department.

  • The Flip: A Jazzed-Up Office Organizer

    We created a chic storage space by painting the file cabinet a sunny yellow (we used Bee's Wax by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams) and then covering the drawer fronts with Gold Leaf Damask shelf paper from

  • The Find: An Out-of-Date Coat Rack

    This old coat rack can be taught a new trick.

  • The Flip: A Bright Entryway Piece

    A paint job and new hardware — including more hooks and an accordion-arm mirror — will ensure you never forget anything at home.

  • Before: Boring Side Table

    The trick to shopping at a yard sale is knowing what to buy and what to leave behind. Minus a few nicks and scratches, the $22 side table was in good shape, with sturdy maple legs. All that was needed to reinvent the piece was satin latex paint, a yard of fabric and a clear water-based protective top coat.

  • After: A Colorful Accent

    The legs and sides were painted with the color Leisure Blue by Sherwin-Williams. The fabric, in Waverly’s Lovely Lattice in lapis, was $16 per yard at A generous amount of Mod Podge was applied to both the tabletop and the underside of the fabric. The fabric was placed on the table, smoothed to eliminate bubbles, and finished with another layer of Mod Podge and a top coat to seal.

  • Before: Past-Its-Prime Lamp

    A torn shade couldn't detract from the lamp's sculptural base. Even better, the cord wasn't frayed or damaged, which meant only a new bulb was needed to get the fixture glowing again. It was a steal for just $12. It only took paint, ribbon and an inexpensive shade to dramatically transform the outdated lamp.

  • After: Pretty Bright

    The base was painted with Krylon's Sun Yellow after it was sanded and primed. The lampshade had to be tossed. A 5/8-inch grosgrain ribbon was glued along the bottom and top seam of the new shade. To find the right size shade for your lamp, be sure it's not wider than the height from the bottom of the base to the socket. The shade should be about three-quarters of the height of the lamp base.

  • Before: Lackluster Frame

    While the $6 frame was missing its back and glass, it had a timeless beveled profile. The crafty team turned it into a tray with thick cardboard, wrapping paper, spray mount, drawer handles and satin latex paint.

  • After: Tray Transformation

    The frame was painted with the color Peppery by Sherwin-Williams. Medium-thick cardboard was cut the same size as the glass and covered in Arboreal Villa Goldenrod wrapping paper ($4 per sheet on Handles from Stanley's, galvanized storm and screen door pulls, $2 each, were screwed into place.

  • Before: Old Dresser

    The dresser's elegant woodwork caught their eye; its mahogany frame and working drawers earned it a spot in their pile of loot. It was picked up for $40 and given a fresh look with water-based primer, satin latex paint and new knobs.

  • After: Jazzed-Up Furniture

    The dresser frame was given a good sanding until it was smooth and the shine from the varnish was dull. It was primed and painted with three coats of Blond Wood by Benjamin Moore. The hardware was replaced with ceramic knobs in ivory, $11 each from

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