About two weeks ago, Kelly (my design assistant) texted me a picture of her dining room chairs. She wanted me to approve the way she had styled the chair to post it on Craigslist.
“Stunning!” I texted back, “And I need you to write a post for the blog after you sell them!”
Kelly sold her chairs immediately and here is her guest post:
I’ve been wanting to sell my dining chairs ever since my husband and I moved into our new place.
Kelly and Mike
It’s challenging to find the right house that fits all of your existing furniture! When we moved in last August, the dining room was separate from the kitchen, the house had been built in the early 90’s and each room was closed off.
Here is the before picture when we moved in, looking from the dining room into the kitchen.
Here is the before picture looking from the kitchen into the dining room.
We decided to remove the wall separating the kitchen and dining room. After the wall came down it felt so much larger and open, however, this eliminated the designated area for our dining room table and now 6 chairs was too many.
Also, they were too traditional and didn’t look work with my living room furniture now that they were visually in the same room.
I had bought my chairs six years ago, during the design process of redoing them I knew I wanted a bright colourful fabric.
I found this fabric from Etsy:
After I installed it and chalk painted the chairs in cream, I couldn’t figure out what bothered me about the finished chair.
I couldn’t explain it until I met Maria of course.
In the end, white or cream is not a default neutral. If there’s no white or cream in the fabric, then it’s not the right colour for the chair.
The delay in getting rid of these chairs has been trying to find the perfect replacement. Finally, with the help of Maria, we found some cute replacements from Home Sense that fit the space really well. The final transformation will be up on the blog soon.
So it was time to sell. I decided to use Craigslist, which most people know about but if you don’t, it’s an online site used to sell new or used household items, advertise job posts, selling cars etc.
And it’s absolutely free.
Every community has its own version of this. I used our local community site to sell my chairs.
The key to having a good posting that will receive a lot of traffic and ultimately your items will sell quickly is the following:
Take detailed photos
Show the quality and condition of the furniture you’re selling. After all, it’s second hand, so people want to know if there is any damage, for example. Get a close up of anything scratched up.
The more honest you are when selling used items the better, Maria told me a story about her brother-in-law who was selling a used car for $500. It was that cheap because there was so much wrong with it, yet he listed everything. The next morning there was a lineup around the block waiting to see the car. He sold it immediately.
Make the photos as pretty as possible
Online sites are generic because it’s a classified ad for selling items. There is no touch ups or editing features and the fonts are all the same so the only place you can enhance the ad is through the photos.
Provide a detailed list of measurements, colour, etc.
Don’t leave any questions to be answered when they see the item in person. This way you will also immediately eliminate unnecessary emails asking questions about the item that you have not answered in the ad.
It was the weekend, I had some time to myself and I figured since I’m fortunate to work with one of the most talented stylists around (Maria) I better get out my basket of tricks and fancy up the dining room table to sell these chairs.
While I was puttering about, minding my own business, organizing the table vignette, my husband (who was sitting right behind me, watching football) turned around to say: “Do you have any idea what you’re doing, is all of this really necessary to sell six used dining room chairs??”
Meanwhile, the kitchen next to our dining room is A MESS, torn up with all sorts of accessories and pieces of greenery I was working with. I responded, “Honey, it’s all about context!” He understood very quickly I was in creative mode and he left me be, haha.
So let’s challenge his statement for a moment, shall we?
Let’s compare what the average craigslist post looks like (I used this as inspiration to take the before pictures of my set before it was styled):
Now, would you be jumping up and down interested in buying these chairs??
Perhaps if you were a designer and had vision you would snap them up, but most people can’t visualize so if you want to make the most money you can, take a little extra time and set up a vignette.
Here are my chairs with the images taken the same way. Are you excited yet?
Here is my styled dining set that I posted:
I was digging through my cupboards and found the soup bowl from my Mexican dishes that perfectly matched the fabric! Then I added some greens and a few accent pieces.
My chairs sold in 1 week for $200! I couldn’t believe it – hooray!
And even better, the family that purchased them also loved colour! She asked me to colour match the fabric to Benjamin Moore. She had been searching for dining chairs to coordinate with her adjoining blue and yellow living room for 2 years. Custom chairs weren’t in her price range so she was completely shocked to find chairs on our local craigslist site for a screaming bargain! I couldn’t have found a better home for them.
In fairness to my sweet husband, he was concerned I was setting people’s expectations too high before they even came to see our chairs. And that they might think we’re selling the entire dining set.
He was easily convinced with the after product after everything was all cute and styled. The truth is we’d don’t live like this. Our table is very minimally styled because well we use it for eating. But I had fun working on this project and I was VERY happy to find a buyer that had a blue adjoining living room that coordinated with the chairs.
Maria was helping me this weekend buy a few more pieces for our home, to bring it all together. We’ll share the transformation soon!
Okay, so she photoshopped the dining room chairs using three colours in the fabric so you could see what they could have been!
Red, yellow or blue? After
Which colour is your favourite?