Treasure-Hunting Tips: Navigating Flea Markets, Yard Sales and Thrift Stores

The Good Morning America cohost, bestselling author and experienced vintage shopper shares some secrets for scoring great flea-market finds.

By Lara Spencer, New York, New York

"I make no secret of my love for all things vintage and antique," says Good Morning America cohost Lara Spencer, and thankfully, she's willing to share her secrets of vintage-shopping success with the rest of us.

1. Survey the 'scape
Look for cool, quirky pieces to create great tablescapes. A mix of big and small, silly and serious–you want these vignettes to reflect the people, places and things you love. 

2. More is more
Scattering collections around a space will make the pieces look like random clutter. Instead, group collections or like objects to create a focal point. 

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3. Name dropper
Look for vintage pieces made by the following manufacturers and designers: Baker, Drexel, Henredon, James Mont, William Haines, Kittinger, Verner Panton, Parzinger and Karl Springer. Their reputations for quality go without saying. 

4. Weather or not
Don't forget to check the weather report since most flea markets are outside. Keep an umbrella and some sunblock in your car to brave the elements. 

5. The essentials
Bring a tape measure, something to schlep your finds home in and cash. (Nothing kills a negotiation like the phrase, "Will you take a check?")

6. Haulin' it
Ask for free delivery if a dealer is unwilling to come down on a price. Many dealers are happy to make the drive if it means getting a big object–or a big-ticket item–off their hands.

7. No Worries
Don't take the whole decorating thing too seriously. Figure out what makes you happy and go for it. Your home is your refuge. So make it uniquely you. Your found treasures will add personality to your home and ensure total one-of-a-kindness.  

Read Lara's story about what inspired her love of vintage shopping!

Download your FREE ebook, Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking, with Norman Vincent Peale.

Flea Market FabulousA cohost on ABC's Good Morning America and the host of Flea Market Flip on HGTV, Lara Spencer is also a best-selling author; her latest book is Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014)

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