Skip to main content
Advice for HomeownersBefore and AfterColour lessonHow to Choose ColourPhoto shoot styling

Three Steps to Make More Money Selling Furniture on Craigslist

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!


Thanks Kelly!


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?

Related posts:

Refresh Your Dining Room with Upholstered Chairs: Before & After

How to Create a Useable, Kid-Friendly Dining Room

Ask Maria: Must my Kitchen Coordinate with my Dining Room?











  • Noni says:

    I’m on Craigslist all the time for myself and for clients. I’m sorry I missed them! They are beautiful. Well done. Thanks for such a practical post. 🙂

  • Karen Elliott says:

    The red painted chair with that fabric is great!

  • Joanne Michael says:

    Thank you, Kelly and Maria. You’ve inspired me to style my Ebay photos. By the way, if the chairs were mine, I would choose the blue photoshopped version.

  • Nancy says:

    Red for the win!

  • Sharon AJJ says:

    Noni, I also usually go for blue, but I’m loving this red! Kelly, your styled shot for selling made me want to sit right down with a margarita and some salsa and chips…really nice!

  • karen says:

    Great post Kelly! I really liked the way you walked us through the whole process right up to the end sale!! Favourite coloured chair? The blue one!! Can’t wait to see your dining room reveal as well 🙂 Beautiful photo of you and your husband by the way!

  • Mary Ann says:


  • Norine says:

    My logical mind says choose the blue. . . but, the red has more flair for me!

  • Joanna says:

    This is great advice. I’ll be more aware of styling when I post on Kijiji next.
    Picking a colour from the fabric makes a big difference. It has more impact than the cream. Personally, I love the red one!

  • Martha A Henson says:

    Red or blue

  • Pam says:


  • Michele says:

    Great post Kelly! Can’t wait to see your new chairs. I do like the chairs once Maria photoshopped them!

  • Desiré says:

    Red ??

  • Karen T. says:

    The RED WOWS me!

  • gery souza says:

    Thank you for a great topic, one that nudges me to repurpose my better things. Unfortunately, a lot of my bigger pieces are in an ugly garage, so I could photoshop out the background and style the shelves and the table tops.

    I like the blue or the background beige color of the fabric best, and would also paint the lyre shape.

  • susan says:

    Yellow-gold is my fave, thanks!

  • Michelle Eaton says:

    The blue really pops!

  • Sonja Bermingham says:

    All three colours work, but my pref is Yellow!!!

  • Loribeth says:

    Great article, except for one minor little thing. The chairs weren’t repurposed. If they had been repurposed, they would no longer being dining chairs, because repurposed means something was adapted to serve a different purpose than it was originally intended. A good example is a treadle sewing machine base being converted into the base for a bathroom sink vanity. These dining chairs are still being used as dining chairs, which was their original purpose. They’re very pretty, but please call them upcycled or refinished and reupholstered, but not repurposed. Sorry… off my soap box now.

    Styling a the photos for Craigslist is huge if you want to get more money for something… However, I since I’m usually looking for a great bargain when I shop Craigslist, I tend to pass over the ads with styled pictures. I know I’m can usually get a better deal when people post things and haven’t styled their pictures.

    I like the red photoshopped chair the best.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Loribeth, haha how can you tell that this is not a DIY blog! Thanks for educating us on exactly what that word means! I appreciate that! Maria

      • Loribeth says:

        You’re welcome! Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of DIY blogs and a lot of listings on Craigslist get it wrong too! But I knew with your attention to detail that you’d want to get it right.

  • Great post, I sell items on Craigslist and FB often, but for some reason I don’t think of styling the items – of course I should!
    Thanks for having think a little more about how I photograph furniture for sale!

  • Liz says:

    Great styling, Kelly. I furnished our last house from Craigslist and nobody styled anything, so I had to use my imagination. The red chair is my favorite.

  • Donata says:

    Nice work! I love the red ones for this reason- the over the top curlicues and fussy style deserve a statement color!
    I’m always amazed that Realtors post up messy ugly pictures of homes they are posting for sale on the MLS sites. I mean it really doesn’t take much to stow a bunch of clutter into a closet, open the curtains or blinds to matching levels of openness and just simplify the mess a bit to “market” a home. Pet peeve!

  • I’m going with my first reaction – Blue!

  • Katherine says:

    All three colors look great but the blue really pops for me the most. I hadn’t really considered selling any of my things on Craigslist despite having shopped there myself! Now that you’ve shared your lovely styling idea it might be fun for me to try!

  • Sandy says:

    To me, the red suits the chairs the best, at least in the photos. The chairs look great! Also, I prefer the ones without the caning, and would prefer to have the entire wood frame painted. Great job on the chairs, and the photos are fantastic!

  • Linda says:

    I choose red however, they would not relate to anything in my home. I love craigslist. I have scored some terrific deals on Craigslist and sold all of my baby stuff.

  • mrsben says:

    Two thumbs up Kelly! Great job and proving going the extra distance pays off. As for the buyer, agree with you that she certainly scored a bargain. Though not generally a fan of red; in the photo edited version I prefer them over the blue and yellow but as a few others have suggested would paint out their lyre splat. -Brenda-

  • Adrian says:

    At first i thought blue, but I think majority rule of red is right! Very nice!

  • Adrian says:

    At first I thought blue, but I think majority rule of red is right!

    • Karen says:

      Absolutely loved this post! I had never thought about this idea of styling out something I wanted to sell. Clever!

      As for the chair colors, I would use all three on each of two chairs. I probably would then paint the splat (chair back) yellow on all the chairs.

  • Kelly,
    Wow, you really did a wonderful job selling those chairs! I can’t wait to see what you and Maria come up with for your newly stylized Dining Room…BTW, I love the Blue chair!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    This is so timely. I’ve been trying to sell 2 dining chairs on Craigslist & nobody has contacted me. I’ve lowered the price twice!
    I think you were successful because your chairs were cute to start with. Mine have a dated cranberry colored fabric on the seats & back. Nobody wants that.

  • Sandra says:

    I’m usually the “blue girl” but the red is more in tune with the fabric. Great advise about styling for resale. TFS!

  • They are all adorable in color! Whatever works with the rest of the decor – or 2 of each!

  • Martha says:

    Great job, Kelly! I use Craigslist a lot myself but only for smaller items that can be picked up from my front porch and the money left under the mat. So far, no issues. Last time I sold a piece of furniture, I was very glad my son was with me…we both felt very uncomfortable with the person who showed up and didn’t seem to want to leave. FB is a great resource and, IMHO, NextDoor, for those who have access, is even better. You deal with neighbors and can usually get a better price.

    Red for the chair, blue a close second!

  • Great post with some helpful tips to style for Craigslist or whatever sight you might use to sell and buy from. Thanks for sharing! BTW – I’d choose the saucy red!

  • Katie says:

    Red! Love this story, thank you!

  • Janet says:

    Red is the best by far!

  • Mira says:

    I’m not surprised you sold your chairs so quick on Craigslist…they are stunning! From the photoshopped colors, I choose red. By the way, I really like the color of your dining room wall. Looks especially elegant with the trim. What color is on the walls? Thanks again for another great and informative blog!

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Terrific post. Kelly congrats for selling your chairs for a good price and relatively fast. Your staging worked! One caution on Craigslist or any site for buying and selling. I have had this happen to me . A person says that they love the item without hesitation and never asks questions as to whether they are in good shape,. size or any specifics. They then will send a cashier’s check with an overpayment and ask you to use the overage to pay for a delivery truck to pick up the item. Luckily I got suspicious and went to the bank and asked if the check was legit. They told me no that it was a scam. I’m sure most of you know that but there are so many scams occurring now you need to be cautious! Only deal in cash and a local pick up.

    One question that I have about your new chairs is are you using an upholstered host and hostess chair or are you using the arm chair that goes with the set? I love red but what is your pallet? I am sure you will want them to work with your colors. Looking forward to seeing your new home.

  • Carrie Smurthwaite says:

    Kelly you did a great job writing the post, I am looking forward to seeing more. I really like the red chair.

  • Nicola Warner says:

    It never occurred to me to style furniture when selling it. It makes complete sense! What a great idea to see what they’d look like painted too. Thanks for the post and all the photos Kelly & Maria.

  • Guerrina says:

    Great post! My fave is the white (ok, color match it :)), but red a close 2nd for that fabric, possibly blue, definitely not yellow! Then again, neither red nor yellow would work in my current dining room lol. If I’d been looking to purchase, I’d have purchased the white, but not the other colors.

  • Some of each regarding the colors. And it’s really smart to “stage” the chairs. Everyone appreciates a bit of magic..

  • Marissa Mahagnoul says:

    Hello Kelley & Hello Maria!
    Thanks for the helpful post!
    What caught my attention is that blue door! It is stunning with the brick exterior. Would you please share the specific color and finish?

Leave a Reply