Save Money Furnishing Your Home With Craigslist

Lauren WhiteOctober 22, 2018

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Furnishing a home can be an exciting endeavor, but the cost of buying everything brand new can cause major budget anxiety. If you’re in the market for furniture, you don’t have to order from catalogs to get that picturesque, showroom look. You can save money on quality furniture by navigating the remarkable world of used goods sites.

Craigslist is the most famous of these websites, but it isn’t the only direct seller-to-buyer site anymore. New, similar platforms include:

OfferUp: a secure site with user-friendly navigation and identity verification.
LetGo: an app where you can communicate easily and rate your transaction.
VarageSale: an app based on community groups with identity verification.

With a little creativity, and perhaps some patience, you can use Craigslist and the new generation of classifieds to furnish your home inexpensively.

What to Ask the Seller

Before you buy directly from an item’s previous owner, here are a few questions you need to ask to save yourself time and money.

What are the dimensions?
If the item doesn’t fit in your car, you’ve wasted both time and gas. Ask the seller to send you the measurements to make sure it will fit in your vehicle and your home.

Are there potential bed bugs or allergens?
Any furniture with a fabric component could present a bed bug or allergen problem. Don’t hesitate to ask if either of these should be a concern, especially if you have animal-related allergies. If you’re not sure, don’t buy.

Is the price negotiable?
Many sellers are willing to negotiate their prices, especially if they’re on a deadline. You could save anywhere from $5 on a bookshelf to $100 on a bedroom set.

Tip: People tend to move at the end of the month, when their lease is up.

Sites like Craigslist are a great resource for staple furniture items like dressers, couches, chairs and tables. Large pieces can be the biggest hassle to move, and many people would rather sell them, which means you can save big.

Once you have the basics, look for unique home accents like artwork, lamps, vases and indoor plants.

Practice Safety First

When you decide to jump in and buy from a used goods site, safety should be your top priority. Here are several things you can do to stay protected when picking up your furniture and assembling it.

• Always bring a buddy when you pick up your furniture.
• Use tools carefully when putting it together.
• Check the structural integrity of each piece.
• Wear a mask when sanding and painting your furniture.
• Hire a professional for dangerous or complex installations (ceiling fan, plumbing).

Think Outside the Box

When you begin to decorate your home, start with basic pieces to help you create a cohesive aesthetic. If you can’t find exactly what you want, get creative! Sand and refinish that nearly-perfect dresser to make it a show-piece. Upcycle a ladder into a bookshelf or turn an industrial spool into a patio table. Pinterest is a great resource to get ideas about how to DIY any used pieces you find.

To DIY or to Not DIY

Do-it-yourself projects are a great creative outlet, but they often require a designated workspace, a full toolbox and an empty calendar. If you don’t have any of those, here’s some good news.

You can often hire a professional and still save money on overall cost. Say you buy a vintage chair on LetGo for $20, you can have it reupholstered for $150. Updated vintage chairs sell on Etsy and Chairish for anywhere from $200 to $1,000!

You can use HomeAdvisor’s cost guide on furniture repair and upholstery to figure out how much you might spend to have it done professionally.

Craigslist and other used goods sites can be a great resource if you’re furnishing your home on a budget. Just be sure to follow these tips to save yourself both time and money. And, of course, always practice safety first when picking up and assembling your furniture.

Lauren White is a content strategist for HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor provides homeowners the tools and resources they need to complete their home improvement, maintenance and repair projects. HomeAdvisor’s free resources can help you plan your next project with average project cost guides, local pre-screened home professional directories and instant online booking tools.

Lauren White

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.