How to Score Major Furniture Finds (and Savings) on Sites Like Craigslist

Venini Prism Chandelier, $ 3,800, 1stdibs

RESELLER SITES like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have long had a reputation for being just slightly more curated than the curb. But now that quarantined homeowners have spring cleaning all summer, “online marketplaces are teeming with rare vintage and high-quality contemporary decor,” said Chicago designer Lauren Svenstrup of Studio Sven. Take the vintage Milo Baughman-style sofa she found on the Facebook marketplace for $ 120. Or the $ 1,000 Moroso YY Chair Brooklyn architect Tal Schori, who was brought in from Craigslist for $ 200. Here are tips for finding your own high-end deals.

Search broad, then seven


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Sellers listing a designer piece by the real name know what it’s worth. For example, a search for “De Sede Snake Sectional” might not find any entries simply referring to it as a sofa or couch, Ms. Svenstrup said. “The more vague the description, the better the offer, because they clearly don’t know what they have.” Joyce Downing Pickens of JDP Interiors in Los Angeles, who found an oak campaign box for $ 250, always uses a broad search term like “dresser” and “then I do the tedious task of listing by listing.” Alternatively, said Ms. Svenstrup, look for materials that you like. “I searched for ‘brass’ one day and found a stunning antique brass fireplace panel.”

Time your search

More posts about high-end pieces appear over the weekend – “when people have time to tidy up a house or garage and post it online,” said American Society of Interior Designers-elect Kerrie Kelly – but the weekends are up often too competitive to get the best deals. “Sunday evening will be the hottest bid,” said London designer Nicky Dobree. You can often find the best bargains during the week, especially before lunchtime. (Note that eBay sellers will take advantage of the deadline, but Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace sellers will accept bids at random.) Be diligent. New York designer Rudy Saunders of Dorothy Draper & Company said, “I’m on the resale pages every day.” Just filter your search for “newly added,” he said.

Make nice with the seller

“Be courteous in your negotiated offer,” said Ms. Kelly. Los Angeles designer John McClain, who snapped up a 1970s console table for $ 40, personalizes the transaction: “Let them know it’s going to a good home.”

Be ready to act quickly

You reduce shipping costs by looking for parts that you can pick up yourself. However, larger pieces that intimidate other potential buyers can result in better deals. Ms. Downing Picken’s strategy: “Have a mover that you can call in no time.” Uber-like services like Dolly connect you with drivers who pick up and deliver small loads in their own van or truck, at a far lower cost than moving company costs.

School yourself

Marika Meyer, a designer in Bethesda, Md., Points out that if you stick to a category you know, you can better appreciate a piece’s worth. Otherwise, do some research before you bid: Websites like 1stdibs, Chairish, and Live Auctioneers may provide links to other offers on the Internet. Not everyone will find a green marble table for $ 800 like Ms. Svenstrup did (1stdibs lists a nearly identical table for $ 8,200). But saving money on prestige items isn’t the only reward. There is also “the pride in finding and curating your own collection,” said Ms. Svenstrup.

MORE RESULTS / Designers share the treasures they discovered on peer-to-peer resale websites


John McClain (left)

“I found this wonderfully simple and graceful waterfall console table from the 1970s on Craigslist,” said Los Angeles-based designer John McClain. “My theft of a prize? $ 40. Little did the owner know that this was a great vintage find. “Compare on the right: Waterfall Sofa Table from the 1970s on Chairish $ 1,050


Keith Scott Morton (left)

“I found a vintage Milo Baughman Thayer Coggin chair and ottoman for on eBay 600 dollars“Said Allison Babcock, an interior designer in Sag Harbor, NY.” The chair fits perfectly in my daughter’s bedroom, and I keep the ottoman for future use as the set is much more valuable than the individual pieces. “Compare to the right: Milo Baughman Large Swivel Lounge Chair on 1stdibs $ 4,200


Antoine Bootz / Outside the Box / Pointed Leaf Press (left)

“My biggest find was a fabulous burl wood dining table by Milo Baughman that I was on eBay for $ 990“Said New York designer David Scott.” It had two matching leaves and was just the right size and vintage for my apartment in New York City. “Compare right: Signed Milo Baughman Burl Wood dining table with two leaves on 1stdibs, $ 17,000


Jenni Kayne (above)

“My best find so far was an oak campaign box that Craigslist gave me for $ 250“Said Joyce Downing Pickens of JDP Interiors in Los Angeles.” The chest was the perfect addition to our bedroom and the price was incredible. The previous owner really didn’t know what he had. “Compare left: Mid-Century Modern Baker Campaign Style 7-drawer chest of drawers made of bleached mahogany on a chair, $ 2,100

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers who are listed as outlets for products in its articles. Listed retailers are often not the only retail outlets.

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