Skip to main content
Every man should read this one

Kiss your Old Furniture Bye Bye!

By 06/24/2011January 27th, 201739 Comments

Recently, a designer sent me a link to a bunch of high end furniture that a couple was selling because they were re-decorating. She asked if I was working with anyone that would be interested in the list of furniture.

‘Almost new leather sectional’ Retail price: $35,000; selling for the bargain price of $10,000.  And it’s Rust.

Or here’s another example:

Craigslist ad: “Solid Oak dining table and Hutch” Paid $4,000, (back in 1990 which is not in the ad) selling for $1,200.

So here’s the reality of it. Furniture is so custom to each space there is no way you’ll ever get anyone to pay $10,000 for a rust coloured sectional, even if it is Roche Bobois. You’d need to run a major marketing campaign to find that perfect person to buy it even though it is a bargain.

And the oak dining table? The problem with that is, NO ONE wants an oak dining set from 1987. We want something current. Would YOU buy an oak dining set for your house right now?

You know how, when you move, your furniture suddenly doesn’t work in your new house?  That’s because every space is custom. Your old sofa with a chaise on the right, suddenly needs to be on the left and it doesn’t work. It’s like taking the same outfit and trying to fit it on 5 different women. NOT GOING TO WORK. This is just one of the many reasons it is virtually impossible to recoup costs on old furniture.

So do yourself a favour, list it for a reasonable price and kiss it goodbye!


Having a beautiful home that makes you happy when you walk in the door isn’t worth hanging onto furniture that is holding you hostage! Much better to bite the bullet, sell it for a bargain to create a look and a feel that you love coming home to!

What’s the most you’ve ever made selling used furniture and what was it?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person consultations.

Related posts:

An Open Letter to my Lover on Decorating
When to Buy Leather Furniture
Danger; The First 24 Hours after you take Possession of your New Home

New to this Blog? Click here ; Subscribe to my Monthly Newsletter; Become a True Colour Expert

While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!
0 pins


  • Jennifer, Decorum says:

    So very true Maria. My mother has a long black velvet skirt in her wardrobe that I've been trying to throw out for a decade. She paid alot of money for it so won't part with it. It doesn't fit, she has nothing to where it with and nowhere to go to wear it even if it did fit. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Jennifer xx

  • Nichole@40daysof says:

    $1200 for an oak dining set? That's a good one! It's so funny how we all think our stuff is worth so much more to other people than it really is.

  • Shannon says:

    I browse Craig's List often and it always amazes me when people list their old dated furniture for 50 percent what they paid just like the examples you gave. I think they have a hard time letting something go that they have a strong emotional attachment to. Great post and so true.

  • Notcathy says:

    I agree with your post, you need to balance your concept with the interior designs with your houses. if you have a modern house, you'll need to put a modern furniture too. But sometimes, they also considering the things that have a sentimental value, but it's really rare nowadays.

  • The Linen Works says:

    New to your blog and loving it. I got my ex-husband to take all his big uncomfortable furniture away with him when we sold our house — now I get to start again with things I really like!

  • camdesign says:

    I always end up giving it away…just easier and faster…except for the antique family furniture, we rent a locker downtown for those…can't give away grandmere's portrait or the antique family single bed… someday I hope to have a grandchild sleep in it like everyone else in my family. fingers crossed x

  • Jane says:

    Good advice!

  • Modern Country Lady says:

    So true- and if you let it go, someone else can do a great furniture makeover on it and it can lead a whole new happy life!!!
    My inspiration and friend Bri from Meyouandawiener does awesome makeovers and gives the furniture she hacks first names- here's a cool one – a lamp named Fred ( hahaha)

  • Anonymous says:

    What is the most tactful way to say this. Maria, I love your posts on color. That is where you are obviously an expert. But furniture, not so much. Yes, there are custom pieces that will only work in custom interiors. However, there are tons and tons of pieces that are versatile and timeless. A good decorator knows how to work with this. I think of Alexa Hampton, who has "inherited" several of her father's clients and their existing furniture–Louis XIV chairs, Degas paintings, etc. She reupholsters what she can and goes from there. Now, there is obviously a difference between an oak table circa 1987 and a Louis XIV chair. But that is where I wish you would differentiate these in your posts, rather than making a blanket statement about furniture or other decorative arts.


  • Naturally Carol says:

    I'm in no position to comment like EM..I sold some bean bags for $10 each after wanting $20 for each of them..and our wood fire for $100 after he promised to patch up the hole in the ceiling..which he did well. It seems to me with every furniture fad, different things are in demand and sell the nineties with all that Bali furniture and old doors etc that sold here for a fortune..they're probably worth next to nothing now..hehe!

  • Calla Du Pree says:

    OH MY ! I have a client who moved from Ann Arbor Mi to Toronto and fought me every step of the way to keep her massive furniture from a MCMansion to go into a beautiful Tudor- once she moved these hideous pieces in, she could see how off scale they all were, so ever so slowly we have been "replacing" but what a fight ! ( but I think she just put it all in storage….)

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with EM that a good decorator should be able to work with existing furniture. I say this because we've become such a disposable, wasteful society and inevitably, much of our fickle, change-of-taste furniture ends up in landfills.

    I realize redecorating keeps colorists and decorators in business, but being responsibly green (sustainably green, that is) is important as well. In fact, that could be a selling point.

  • Anonymous says:

    So true in an ideal world. This is precisely why I like reading your blog. I wish that I could part with my furniture that obviously doesn't fit my space, but I can't afford that every 2-3 years. That's how often the military transfers our family.

    That's why I love to learn about color! Color is something I can work with. I try to buy pieces that can work for more than one room in colors that are more timeless. I also try to limit my color scheme. That one is the toughest. I'm not afraid of color! I know I'm not living in my ideal home, but with your help I do the best I can. 🙂

  • Linda @ a design snack says:

    Maria, you are right again!Furniture that doesn't fit, out of style, or not in the new plan is a huge stumbling block. How many times have we heard "oh, it's oak!!!", "oh, it's cherry!!!". If it has some use left in it give it to a shelter or the Good Will where it will do some good.

  • Braxton and Yancey says:

    I couldn't agree more. I recently sold (practically gave away) two antique velvet pieces (sofa and chair) that had belonged to my husbands grandmother. Our entire marriage she told us how "valuable" those pieces were – but you know what? when the time came to sell – no one wanted them – I didn't want them either. So, we sold them for $100.00 each and I couldn't be happier.
    Have a beautiful day Maria!

  • Tonya says:

    Interesting post Maria. We recently sold 2 old Vermont Tubbs chest of drawers (early 1990s natural ash) for more than we paid for them. We made a profit of $250 each but I suspect it's because the product is still offered on their website and our asking price was significantly less than current MSRP.

    I know many folks would have just painted them but we wanted a different look altogether. It was so much fun to part with them and take our eldest shopping for new furniture for her room. ; )

  • Cherie says:

    To keep or not to keep — depends on where your treasures lie. I hung onto a real Kennedy Rocking Chair for 40 years, still great condition and finally parted with it when I found a fellow who wanted to take it apart and study it so he could learn how it was made and caned, etc. And then make himself a set. Sold! We're now giving away a perfectly good arts and crafts wooden bed frame (headboard, sideboard, footboard). Paid the bucks but we are so not there now and want a softer look, an upholstered bed frame, something that doesn't take up the whole room! This young man who would love it is happy happy to have it and there's no way he could afford it at this point in his life.

    So, short story, do some good with your giveaways and don't beat yourself up for changing your direction. It's liberating! DIY, shop for bargains, refuse to pay outrageous prices, do it for you, not because it fits the current magazines and blogs, you'll find something that works.

  • Creative in Chicago says:

    Gosh I totally agree with you, as much as you want your old furniture to work in a new house it never does.

    Just experienced this first hand with a recent move to Chicago. My bedside tables blocked the windows, my old dining room table was horribly undersized and nothing I had worked in this room. It was time to shop!

  • Gloria says:

    Ahh you are so right I just wish everyone listing on the Tulsa, OK craigslist was reading this! There are WAY too many overpriced items on there.

  • Bonnie says:

    Needed to hear this, thanks. Now, to convince my husband….

  • LittleBlackHome says:

    SUCH good advice, Maria. I see SO MANY PEOPLE burdening themselves with furniture that is a hand-me-down or a "sentimental piece" that isn't even their taste and they don't REALLY LOVE it. Obligatory furniture, you might call it. Furniture you feel obligated to hang on to for some reason- who's it was, who gave it to you, how much it cost, etc. LET IT GO. Now I'm not saying you should throw away something that has TRUE meaning and emotional value to you, especially if you can make it work well in your home, but there comes a time where you really have to ask yourself: "Do I REALLY LOVE this piece? Is it working for me? Do I feel happiness every time I see it?" If "no" is the answer to any of those questions, give it the boot! I just moved to Florida from Alabama and I donated a ton of furniture that was useful, but I didn't LOVE it. It was just "ehh". Our home deserves better than "ehh". Months before that, I sold some furniture in a garage sale. Didn't make much, but I DID feel a sigh of relief. That stuff was really holding our home's potential back! Besides, donating furniture you no longer want or need can help others out- like tornado victims, for instance. It can be incredibly freeing (not to mention fun, since you get to replace it!)to let go of furniture and start anew! Great advice, Maria.

  • Chelsea says:

    I actually bought a used Pier 1 furniture set (charcoal grey, contemporary lines) for $250 in college, and a few years later when I was ready for an upgrade, I was able to sell it for $400! I was so happy that grey furniture was now in when I sold it – because brown furniture was all the rage when I bought it, and I think that's what made the price difference!

  • Laura HH says:

    I so want to copy this post to craigslist and kijiji!

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    I look at craigslist a lot only because it's where most of my clients budgets are these days. But I do have to say it takes ten times longer to find that needle in a hay stack. And yes there are always those folks who want a ridiculous amount of money for that sofa or dining room set that seemed perfect at the time and now they will "sacrifice" for $10,000. But honestly that is what most people can afford on a whole room!

  • Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) says:

    Maria– Hello hello Ms. 2000 Followers! Congrats!

    Just donated a piece of furniture to Habitat For Humanity Restore. They even come in a truck and haul it out! So easy.


  • Nan @ Playful Decor says:

    Perfectly said. I love craigslist but can't believe what people call "beautiful" c.1980's! To each his own.

    Luckily, I've had some great finds on kids gear, used it for 2-3 yrs and sold it for the same!

    I, of course, am hoping to get a good price for our 4yo sofas so I can re-do our new living room! Caramel brown with green & red flowers anyone?

  • Annie Wilcox Designs says:

    If I don't love it, I don't keep it and usually give it away! Someone could always make it better. I donate to Restore and feel good about it.

  • Donna says:

    Maria..I so agree with you here. I sell things on Craig's List all of the time. When I try to sell 'some' antiques or old's just ridiculous to try to get a decent price. Most of what I see is either junk or over priced. Sometimes can work. My DIL is the queen of finding what she wants..because she wants IKEA. This you can do.

    Getting rid of the old stuff is so freeing!! I love it! One piece at a time..I'm dumping the old for new. But our oak dining table is going to have stay awhile. :o) In fact we plan to resurface it.

    But then I get visions of 'arts and crafts' style furniture..or something…and I think well, maybe I won't keep this table 'forever'after all. Many people will buy a table for a bargain price, but few for what it's worth.

    Lower your price and SELL it, I say! I sell everything the first day. :o) I look up what the item is going for..and sell it lower regardless of brand name.

    Great post!

  • angie says:

    Such food for thought! And so true.

    It's like I can't pay $1000 for a second hand Chanel bag even if the original price was $2500.

    Hmmm. I have never sold a piece of furniture!!!

    Friends of mine just sold 20 year old Italian kitchen cabinets on Craigs List for $2000, original price $64 000.

  • angie says:

    Oh yes! And they sold their 20 year old oven that wasn't fully functional either. Isn't that amazing??!!

  • Terri says:


  • Sheila Zeller says:

    This is exactly the post I needed to read right now! We moved on Wednesday and the furniture ISN'T WORKING! I've given one chair away, have a hutch to sell (I know, good luck with that!), and am so not loving the love seats. Clean sweep?

  • mrsben says:

    I disagree and agree with you Maria as there are times 'what is ones man's trash is another man's treasure'. In other words on occasion there are those who will pay a big buck for second hand BUT I agree on most accounts the key to turnover anything is to be reasonable when pricing. Myself, if we are speaking of furniture pieces I would rather give it away to someone who appreciates it (and have done so).
    With respect to furniture not fitting I totally agree with you it happens; reason why IMHO one should be selective in choice and not necessarily go with trends. That way when the day comes and you have 'to fit', you can usually salvage a few favourite pieces.

    P.S: Even when talking Real Estate the same rule applies when pricing. In the past I have sold two of my homes within a time frame of three days. Both were actually listed 'as is' and the price 'non-negotiable'. On both accounts I got serious buyers only, not a cent below my asking price and made a substantial profit and … I'm not even in the business! To make a point; though not trash, they were definitely someone's treasure and the price was obviously right.

  • Judy says:

    Are we talking about antique/old world furniture here? I read that you should have at least one antique piece of furniture in a room. If this is not true I will be devastated! Lol

  • Pinkie Crabtree says:

    You have inspired me to take a hard look at some outdated “free” furniture I am hanging onto that stores stuff that no one wants….thank you, Maria!

  • Connie says:

    If you approach selling furniture like a neutral marketer you can recoup part of your investment but you have to have quality items in perfect condition also currently desirable.and mark other items very low. When we downsized 2 years ago we sold many pieces and received over $ 12,000. It was WELL worth it because that money went into our new, smaller scale home.

  • Lynne says:

    I can’t even comprehend having the money to spend $10,000 on a new couch, let alone a second hand one 😀

Leave a Reply