Buying new is always my last resort. I love being able to curate a space and have one-of-a-kind things, and the treasure hunt is such a big part of the thrill of decorating for me. So, when my husband and I knew we were going to be moving to a new house, I started imagining what the space would look like, and I got really intentional about selling things online that I didn't want to move with us. And, in the process, those sales covered the cost of my entire living room refresh.
I’d been buying and selling things in Groups, long before the social network launched its listings section, Marketplace. I started getting good at finding deals other people would overlook. I’d ask myself, what are terms other people would call that certain thing I want? If I’m searching for a sofa, I’ll also type in ‘couch.’ If I’m looking for a dresser, I’ll also try ‘chest of drawers’ or just ‘drawers’ to see what comes up. Sometimes I’ll try searching for a material I like, like ‘bamboo’ or ‘wicker.’ A huge part of finding good deals online is broadening the title of what you’re searching for. You never know what will come up.
Shopping Helped My Redefine My Style.
As I started selling off the things I didn’t want anymore, I started wandering stores, getting a feel for what I liked at this point in my life. My old house was what I’d call “granny chic”—I could walk into my grandmother’s house and be like, “oh, I want that,” or “I like that.” It was a lot of heirlooms and vintage pieces, which I still love, but I like to fit them in with a more modern, streamlined look. It’s mostly modern furniture, with a few thrift store or estate sale elements mixed in.
Once I had a sense of what I liked, I got to searching online. I’d been dreaming of a Crate & Barrel sofa that cost $2,000 for years. Finally, I told my husband that I was going to bite the bullet and buy it, when a random search on Marketplace led me to find the exact one—for $500. The family had been keeping it in somebody’s master bedroom, so it’d barely been used.
Later, we found a listing for two cabinets—the original owner had been using them as a buffet or something—that my husband and I thought would be great as a media console. I paid $60 for the pair, then brought them home and stripped them. They weren’t looking modern enough, so I wound up painting them, then my husband mounted them to the wall, so they’d look more intentional in the space. Now they look like they’ve been there forever—they just fit with the rest of the room.
I Resize Before I Buy.
That’s another trick I’ve picked up from shopping online listings: Try searching for similar-but-not-quite items. We’d wanted to put a console table behind the sofa, but all the ones we came across were too tall. I realized one day that I could just trim the legs off of one I found online, making it just the right size. Since then, I try to think of everything that could be cut to fit a space better. Maybe it’s a dining room table that’s small enough to be cut to the height of a coffee table. Or an entryway table you can cut to fit behind a sofa. It’s good to broaden your search that way, too.
Reselling Helped Fund My Makeover.
Earlier this fall, we moved into our new house and threw everything into rooms, just to have it done. I had this white shag rug, and it wasn’t working anywhere, so I decided to sell it online. I made about $200 on it, which was exactly what I needed to buy a new rug, a secondhand coffee table and the media cabinet. It was a completely new room for zero dollars! I paid for all of the major pieces in the room with that rug.
I’m all about helping people see what they can do with what they have. I do e-design work for people, and I’ll link to all new items, because it’s easier, but I’m always encouraging them: You have an idea of what you want, but I don’t know what’s in your basement or at your mom’s house that she’s willing to give you. Pull those things together to make the space your own, so it’s something you created yourself, not a space that’s created for you. That’s what makes a home meaningful. That’s the space you’ll absolutely love. And if it costs you next to nothing? Well, that’s even better.
Check out even more of Jessica Nickerson's finds—and see the latest on her home renovation—at House Homemade.
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