How to find furniture on Facebook marketplace

I’ve been sharing a lot of my Craigslist finds for our new home on Instagram lately, and have been getting a bunch of comments and questions about how I’m actually able to weed through all the crap and find the stuff that’s actually worth going to a stranger’s house on your day off for. While some of it is dumb luck, and some of it is that I spend too much time on my couch at night scrolling through page after page of “for sale” ads, I do have a few strategies that help me figure out what’s worth buying.

shopping on Craigslist strategies
I bought the light fixture, table, lamp, wishbone chairs, and settee in this photo on Craigslist.

Search by Brand

If you search “coffee table” you’ll get about 200 results, and most of them will be ugly, broken or overpriced. One of the best ways to narrow down the good finds is to search by brand. I regularly go on the site and just type in my personal favorites, like West Elm, CB2, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, etc., just to see what pops up. Searching the names of specific stores, showrooms, and decor websites also works.

Get Descriptive

If it’s a slow day for your favorite store on the ‘list, try more descriptive search terms, like “round coffee table,” or “marble nightstand,” or “tulip table.”  You’d be surprised that a lot of the time, you’ll be able to find results for even more descriptive terms. You can also search by era or style, like midcentury modern (or MCM in CL speak), French Country, or Louis XVI.

shopping for furniture on Craigslist
This coffee table was a $10 CL score. (I added a new top for $30)

Find the right sellers.

Sometimes, if you search for “sofa” the first 20 results will be ads from bargain-basement furniture stores trying to sell their awful overstuffed couches for $599. To bypass Bob and his discount furniture, set your search to include only results from owners, not dealers (it’s a search option.)

Use your imagination.

Some of the best things I’ve found on Craigslist looked a little haggard when they came to me. But, I’ve restored them to their original glory (or a glory far better than their original) with some combination of paint, knobs, spackle, and Lysol. Look at the bones of a piece. Is it made from solid wood and has great midcentury lines, but the paint is chipping and the knobs are horrible? Challenge accepted.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

This is basically the best part of Craigslist. Most people who are posting their stuff on it need to get rid of it, whether it’s because they’re moving, or they need to make room for other stuff, so don’t be afraid to email and ask if they’d take two-thirds of what the asking price is. A lot of times, they’ll say yes. On the other hand — I’ve also gone the opposite way and paid $25 more for something I really wanted if the seller had multiple people interested.

Good luck with your bargain hunting!

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