That is almost as long as it took for me to make a decision about what to buy. I went around to all the furniture stores in the area, and got thoroughly depressed by the cost vs. attractiveness of what I saw. I don't have anything inherently against spending money for furniture, but I want to really like it if I am going to pay more than I spent for a year's worth of college tuition on a couple of sofas. It wasn't helping that I had a pretty narrow idea of what I wanted: a formal sofa with turned legs for the living room, and a big, squishy, slip covered sofa for our family room. Both these styles are more commonly found in higher-end establishments. As usual, I wanted a high-end look on a low-end budget.
I was trying to replace our family room sofa
and our living room sofa.
Both had seen better days--the living room sofa was a $30 thrift store find covered by a $30 steal of a slipcover, and the family room sofa was a bicast leather sofa that had cracked, then been picked at by my sweet but mildly destructive children until it looked like this:
Shudder}}. Not pretty.
After combing all the furniture stores, I finally decided I do not have the fiscal stomach for buying new furniture. So I started looking on Craigslist seriously, and within a couple weeks I had found two sofas. Both were in great shape, and were really close to the ideal sofas I had in my head.
Here is my new living room sofa (boy and plastic golf ball shown to give you an idea of the scale of the pieces ;) ):
Now for the family room sofa:
There are some things I've learned over my years of buying furniture off Craigslist and the like that really make the process go more smoothly. I'm sure most of you die-hard Craigslisters have lots of wisdom to share, but for what they're worth, here are my tips:
- Measure your space--doors, space for the wanted piece, etc. There are not usually returns when you buy something from someone on Craigslist.
- Ask as many questions up front as possible. Once you've driven to some one's house, you tend to be very invested in buying the piece. You may have reservations once you see it, but feel pressured to get it anyway, if only to justify your time expenditure. The more you know ahead of time, the fewer surprises. Some examples of things to find out are: Smoking household? How old? Any defects? Who was it made by? Why are they selling it?
- Make sure to be courteous to the seller. Even when you are grilling them about their item, be tactful and kind, i.e. "Could I ask you a few questions about the piece you are selling?"
- Do your research. Look up the manufacturer of the piece you are considering. Does it have a good reputation? I eliminated several sofa options this way. Of course if the price is low enough, you may be willing to take a chance--but it is better to know what you are getting up front.
- Take a buddy with you when you go to see the item, both for safety's sake and to help you stuff your item in your vehicle. Also bring directions or a GPS, the seller's phone number, a tape measure/your house measurements and some rope (to tie down your trunk or hatch just in case).
- Plan on paying in cash. If it is a large sum, I often check out the piece and the situation first to make sure I'm interested before I go get the money from my ATM. Usually, if it is under $100, I'll just bring the money with me.
I'm linking up with: