This is the first post in a series called Ode to Secondhand, in which I regale you with the wonders of Craigslist, the online resale feast that has supplied much of our furniture (and fodder for refinishing projects).
It was a glorious day when I discovered furniture shopping on Craigslist. Granted, I was living in a major metropolitan area whose inhabitants were selling anything I could ever want.
(The pickings are a bit slimmer here in Farm Town. Not that we aren’t willing to drive 2 1/2 hours to buy a hardly used double stroller).
Yes, for a young family trying to piece together furniture for our first real house, Craigslist of Dallas-Fort Worth was a veritable wonderland of bargains.
One of my favorite finds has been our kitchen table and chairs. Here’s the 411.
Not a fan of CL or lacking one in your area? Garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, and antique shops can also supply a bounty of quality pieces that you can spruce up with a bit of sandpaper and paint.
The Inspiration Pic
How I Did It
1.) I lightly sanded everything.
2.) Then, I primed the base and legs of the table ONLY. I don’t like extra steps so I won’t prime unless I think I have to. The base was a dark blue and I knew it’d take too many coats of white to cover it well, so I spray-primed it with this, then painted a couple coats of white.
3.) I painted everything with at least 2 coats. (white = Behr Magnolia Blossom, red = Martha Stewart Barn, yellow = Behr Feather Gold, green = Behr Marsh Grass, grey = Behr Ashwood)
4.) I sealed it all with a spray polycrylic.
5.) Then I rubbed some Rub ‘n Buff (from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s) on the edges and nooks of the table and chairs to give it a bit of an aged look. (This was before I discovered chalk paint and waxing, but 2 years later, I’m still happy with the way Rub ‘n Buff worked out).
6.) Finally, I removed the chair cushions (by unscrewing them) and recovered them with new fabric (from Joann’s with 40% off coupon*) and a staple gun. Seriously, recovering dining chair cushions is soooo easy. Do not be intimidated to try it with your own if you’re wanting a new look!
- $100 for the table and chairs
- $25 for the fabric (estimating here…it’s been a little while)
- $55 for 4 quarts of paint at Home Depot (I already had a gallon of magnolia blossom)
Total = $180 For a kitchen table and chairs that expands to seat 6
What I Learned About Secondhand Shopping from this Project
1.) Have a pretty clear idea of what you’re looking for. I was hunting for some Napoleon-style chairs and the Pottery Barn pic inspired me to paint them different colors. I knew a round table would fit best in our kitchen at the time and I wanted it to have a removable leaf so it could expand as we had guests. So, I could easily filter through the stuff that didn’t fit my qualifications.
2.) Be patient. In a large city, I’ve found that most of what you’re looking for eventually comes up if you’re willing to wait. If you’re not in a large city but are willing to drive a bit, check listings nearby.
3.) Look for “good bones.” That is, look past ugly fabric and finishes you don’t prefer. A little paint and some new fabric covers a multitude of sins, but you can’t change how well something is constructed. Choose solid wood pieces with lines you like.
4.) It’s not a good deal if you’re not in love with the piece–or don’t have a vision for changing it into something you could love. The chairs that originally came with the table were good quality but not the look I was going for. So, I resold them and scouted for the Napoleon-style ones.
Do you buy secondhand stuff? If so, where?