Five tips for transforming yard sale finds

Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault shares her top tips for getting the most out of your yard sale finds.

Spring has officially sprung, and for many it means the anticipation of warmer weather, greener grass, bluer skies…and yard sales! I’ve always loved bargain hunting for the thrill of a fab frugal find, and this time of year is perfect to shop local yard sales in the hopes of unearthing a unique, affordable decor treasure. Whether it’s a piece that needs a minor tune-up or a complete DIY overhaul, here are my top five tips for transforming your yard sale finds.

1. Break all of the “rules” and think outside the box:

First things first, I don’t believe that there are any rules in decorating! In a sea of beige, predictable design, it’s the spaces that dare to be different which end up being the most memorable. So when it comes to refreshing a yard sale find, think about alternative functions beyond its original intended use. A vintage TV console can easily become an entertaining bar station, or a dated dresser might be reimagined into a bathroom vanity. The key with adding personality is to think outside of the box.

2. Get inspired:

Have you ever stumbled upon a pre-loved piece just oozing with potential? Maybe it was such a great bargain that you had no choice but to snap it up. If an upcycle makeover is suddenly on the horizon, why not look for a little design inspiration first. My go-to source…PINTEREST! I have found and collected countless images on the widely popular site of trendy, high-end furnishing that become great inspiration for my own affordable and inspired DIY transformations.

3. Personalize to suit your décor and taste:

Whether your yard sale find is a thrifty end table or an aged armoire, the likelihood of it perfectly coordinating with your existing finishes and wood tones is probably quite low. I often say, when in doubt, paint it! The easiest way to unify several different pieces of furniture is to paint them all a consistent colour. Although the styles of your furnishings may be different, a fresh coat of paint in a hue of your choice will not only help to harmonize your décor, but also reinforce your design sensibility and taste.

4. Prep, prep, prep:

As much as I love a great bargain, I will never sacrifice quality or style to save a few dollars. When I’m searching for a piece with upcycle potential, I always ensure that it is well constructed and that it doesn’t have any major structural flaws. However, the chance of a piece needing some minor repairs is usually inevitable, and if you plan to add a splash of paint, proper preparation is key. Wood glue, crack filler, thorough sanding and a coat of primer will help to ensure that the end result lasts as long as your love for your new piece.

5. Know when to call in the pros:

I have a motto: know your limit, and DIY within it! Not every upcycle project can be completed simply with an inspired idea and a little elbow grease. If the task of sanding, painting, or reupholstering is outside of your comfort zone, consider taking your yard sale find to a professional to help bring your furniture makeover to life. Sometimes it’s worth a few extra dollars for a quality finish if it means saving a bucket of sweat and aggravation.

Happy yardsaling…let the search for that perfect DIY piece begin!

For information about hosting or shopping a yard sale in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit

Originally published in ONtheGO magazine

Join the conversation

What do you think?


Please read our commenting policies

Hide the conversation