The Best 10+ Tips for Decorating with Craigslist

Craigslist is hands-down THE best way to furnish your home on a budget.  Not only is it environmentally friendly, it actually makes for a healthier home.  It’s also a great source for finding original vintage and antique pieces–especially when it comes to mid-century style.  Plus, it’s the perfect way to find pieces that no one else has!

I’ve used Craigslist to buy my dining table, end tables, night stands, coffee table, bookshelf, our dresser, my fiancé’s desk, our daybed, my son’s play table…the list goes on.  You can literally find anything you can imagine, from houseplants and landscaping to light fixtures and paint.

However, many of my friends have been hesitant to try it out, and I imagine some of you might be too.  So as a seasoned Craigslist comber, here are my DOs and DON’Ts of using Craigslist to decorate your home:

How to Use Craigslist

DO…

  • Try many different search terms.  Some people may list a couch, others a sofa, others a sectional…you get the idea.
  • Check daily until you find the perfect piece.  Set aside 10-15 minutes in the morning to search–if you’re looking for, say, a sheepskin rug, the newest posts will be displayed first and you won’t have to look at all the results every time.  It’s better to check in the morning, as the best pieces can get snapped up quickly.
  • If you don’t have a car, ask if they will deliver for another $10 or $20 (depending on the size of the item and the distance).  Many people are happy to do this!
  • If you do have a car, measure the interior to make sure whatever you’re buying will fit.

Img 4206

  • Offer a lower price–it never hurts to try!
  • Verify that they will help you move it, if it’s a piece of furniture.  I’ve broken this rule before, and shown up to buy a bookcase from a pregnant lady in a walk-up.  I had to disassemble the entire thing and carry it piece-by-piece to my car…not fun.
  • Exchange phone numbers before you set out to pick the item up.  They may need to cancel, or you might find yourself driving around in circles looking for the right place.
  • Let someone know where you’re going beforehand! Give them the name of the person and the address you are heading to.
  • Bring the exact amount, in cash.  There’s a good chance they won’t have change if you bring more, and no one is every impressed when you bring $5 or $10 less than the asking price “by mistake.”
  • Inspect each piece carefully, in good light.  Look for scratches, stains, etc., but only if you think they’ll bother you.
  • Exercise caution and common sense when purchasing anything upholstered.
  • Ask if they’re selling anything else–you never know what you might find!
Clinton Chair

Chair = Craigslist!

DON’T…

  • Be afraid to ask for more details if they are not listed in the posting.  If the photos are small or dark, ask for better ones.  If dimensions are not given, ask for them.  Ask about the condition, if its a smoke-free, pet-free home, etc.  The more you know beforehand, the less likely it is that you will waste your time looking at an item that won’t work.
  • Bring a check.
  • Enter anyone’s home if it makes you uncomfortable.  You have every right to ask them to meet you outside!
  • Be afraid to ask them to meet you in a public place instead of at their home.  Totally fine too!
  • Worry if you arrive and decide you don’t like the item.  You’re never committed.
  • Send money to anyone beforehand, unless it is through Paypal and you can verify that the seller has an actual business.
Living Room New Pillows

Coffee table + mirror? CRAIGSLIST.

Now go save the earth, save your health, and save some serious dough!

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Comments (8 )
  • Kristen
    | 4 December 2014

    All great tips! (Especially the “dont bring a check”! – Cash only, people!!!) 🙂

    • annabode
      | 5 December 2014

      Thanks! I know–someone tried to do that to me once, but I flat out refused so we ended up walking to an ATM together!

  • Jessica van Dop DeJesus
    | 7 January 2015

    Love the chair! We’re moving into our new house and these are some great tips to find new pieces for our place. Found your article via Splendor Styling!

    • annabode
      | 11 January 2015

      Thanks Jessica! I hope you score some truly awesome deals! (Love Mariella, excited to check out your blog 🙂 )

  • Missi Hopson
    | 25 January 2015

    Hi Anna,

    I want to thank you SO VERY MUCH for these wonderful tips. I’m a single woman & I LOVE DIY projects & ALWAYS have. It’s the artistic streak in me & who doesn’t love to save a buck & tell friends you did it yourself ! I LOVE the do & do not’s because I’m a trusting soul & want to see the good in everyone. There has been so many shady deals on Craigslist (that you read or hear about) that you expect to be screwed over to begin with. I’m looking for a side table or small console for throwing my keys a purse on in my large mudroom & now that you have given me the tools I feel confident that I’ll get far. I’d love to tell you how I make out…that’s if you’re interested ?

    Thanks a bunch,

    Missi

    • annabode
      | 2 February 2015

      Hi Missi–you’re very welcome! My experiences with Craigslist have always been excellent, but I very firmly stick to these rules because you’re right, there are a lot of shady people out there. I’m so glad I could help, and I’d love to know what you find! You can even send me an email (anna@annabode.com) & some pics! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kimberly Bruhn
    | 27 February 2016

    Great cautions…i have been having pretty good luck selling on some of the FacebooK sites here In our area. Fast response times, too. My daughter just got her first place and betwEen Our hoMe, thruft stores and on-line…her place is totally re-cycled!

    • annabode
      | 29 February 2016

      Thanks Kimberly! Since this post I’ve written a more extensive one on Hither & Thither — you can find it here. That’s awesome about your daughter’s place! I love buying used furniture not only for the price, but for the planet. 🙂

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