How to Crush it on Craigslist: A Q&A

This antique-looking dresser was a Craigslist find when I was living in Georgetown!
This antique-looking dresser was a Craigslist find when I was living in Georgetown!

I’m a fan of Craigslist. A big, big fan. As someone who is super into interior design and wants to redecorate frequently without breaking the bank, Craigslist has answered a lot of my prayers over the past few years (I even scored the adorable abstract painting pictured above!). While some of my friends do use the site (whether to buy, sell, find roommates, etc), a lot of people I know are totally put off by the idea. And for good reason. You have to feel safe and confident about picking up something from a stranger, first of all. And while I’ll certainly encourage you to use good judgment when buying and selling, I’m not going to get into that here. Instead, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve gotten about my experience using Craigslist and share a few pieces of advice. (If you google this topic, you’ll find tons and tons of posts devoted to Craigslist tips. I’ve read a bunch of these and agree with a ton of the advice I’ve read, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to share my perspective with y’all).

Q: Who is using Craigslist? (Aka, it’s you and a bunch of old, scattered retirees, right?)

A: Most of the people I’ve bought from on Craigslist actually happen to be young women my age! This may have to do with the pieces I’m interested in buying and the style to which I’m drawn, but also when you think about it, a lot of girls in their 20s are moving around geographically, moving in with a significant other, trying to sell off stuff for extra cash…so it kinda makes perfect sense that they’d be prime Craigslist sellers. I honestly could picture myself being friends with several of the people I’ve met through Craigslist (in a 100 percent non-creepy way).

Q: Why would you buy something on Craigslist when you can just order a similar-looking, similarly-priced item online without the hassle?

A: This is a personal preference. For me, I like the feeling of finding a diamond in the rough and snagging something that’s on-trend but still slightly different than something you can acquire in an online shopping cart. That’s also why I like shopping at places like HomeGoods, thrift stores, etc. I like spotting something cool and slightly less common than what you’d see on the floor at Ikea or West Elm.

That said…

Q: Isn’t everything on Craigslist old and gross?

A: No! Definitely no! Craigslist is full of pieces from stores like West Elm, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, you name it. Sure, sometimes items aren’t in great condition after years of use, but you can also find practically-new pieces at steep discounts. Not everything on Craigslist looks like it’s a reject from your great aunt’s yard sale.

Other tips from my experience as a buyer and a seller:

-Be polite and grammatically correct in emails. If you sound like you’ll be difficult to communicate with (literally and figuratively), I’ll be less inclined to keep up a correspondence with you.

-Don’t ghost. Seriously. This sucks in the dating world, but when there’s money involved? Ouch! I recently had a woman call me the day before she planned to pick up an item. She seemed enthusiastic, took the initiative to call and confirm her pickup time after we had been emailing a bit, and we agreed that we’d meet the next day. Fast forward 24 hours later to our scheduled rendezvous and…there was no sign of her. Thankfully, I had countless other people interested in the item and was able to sell it quickly, but I was frustrated that I carved time out of my day to meet her and she was a no-show.

-Be creative. If an item looks less than perfect but you’re a good DIY-er, consider ways in which you can spruce it up. If you’re already getting a good deal, you can invest that extra bit of money into making something simple look great.

Do you agree with these tips? I’d love to hear any that you have to share!

photo by forbetterdays4@gmail.com 

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Abstract Art

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In high school, my friends and I would sit in the hallway and catch up for 10 minutes or so after our buses had arrived but before classes were set to start. I remember there was this one painting we would sit near every day that was one of those pieces of art that makes you go “Huh? I could’ve made that myself.” It was some abstract piece that looked like someone just dragged red paint across a canvas and called it a day. Yet it was stored in a glass box in the hallway along with other artwork that had been deemed “important” enough to show off. What?

Clearly, I didn’t appreciate abstract art at that time, but now the trend has really grown on me. Although I will say that I am a much bigger fan of pieces that incorporate tons of different colors and brushstrokes rather than something that looks like one big glob of paint!

I now have a few abstract pieces hanging up around my apartment, and I’ve been pinning tons of rooms featuring abstract art for further inspiration. Below are some rooms featuring amazing abstract paintings that totally pack a punch. It’s safe to say I’m more than a little obsessed with all of these looks!

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Leopard Chairs

I recently spotted (ha!) the most adorable leopard print chair on Craigslist for a pretty decent price. However, as much as I love the print, I didn’t know if something so bold would work in my apartment. I think I’ll stick to leopard pillows and accents for now! That’s not to say that animal print chairs don’t look absolutely amazing in other homes. I mean, how adorable are these looks I rounded up on Pinterest? (Yes, oftentimes if I’m thinking about incorporating a certain design into my apartment, I’ll do a quick Pinterest search first to see how other people have made it work — I recommend this if you’re on the fence about something!).

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Legs for Days

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Let’s talk about legs. Furniture legs, that is (this isn’t a fitness blog!). I was browsing my usual design sites (Domino, My Domaine, etc) and came across an article that highlighted this amazing website, Pretty Pegs, where you can buy table legs to go with Ikea furniture! The legs are sized perfectly to fit Ikea’s pieces and they honestly look like they’d make such a difference.

The only thing I’m a bit hesitant about is the price–it seems unlikely that someone would be willing to spend $170 to jazz up an Ikea table (why not just buy one cuter table at that price and leave it at that?) but I do think this is a fun way to mix high and low end looks. I mean, how awesome do the legs look on the table above?

I’m also loving these for a coffee table–gold mid-century style legs? Yes, please!

What do you think about this idea? Silly to spend extra money on inexpensive furniture, or an awesome Ikea-hack type of strategy?

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Scout Totes

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I have always been a big fan of SCOUT’s cute patterns and products (I’ve had one of their storage bins since college and love how it’s super portable and holds a bunch of stuff!). Now that I’m working at a school, I’ve started to notice SCOUT products more and more–the bags seem to be the “it” thing for students of all ages when it comes to toting around sports gear and more. One of my teacher friends also uses a huge SCOUT bag to carry all of her materials to and from work.

I recently purchased a SCOUT bag on sale from Nordstrom Rack and already can see how it will be great to use running around the city on weekends. Since DC has a bag tax, everyone brings their own shopping bags to the grocery store, and this one will definitely hold a ton of food and supplies!

Oh, and another cool thing about SCOUT? The company was actually started in Georgetown! So technically I’m supporting a local business 😉

Do you use SCOUT products? Which items and patterns are your faves?

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A Few Looks For Less

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As y’all know by now, I am a big fan of 1) bargains and 2) home decor, so I thought I’d do a little round-up for you with some of my latest online finds for the home.

If you need an end table…these two options from World Market and Urban Outfitters look so much alike, but the World Market one is $70 cheaper! The arrow trend is a little overdone by now, but since this piece is pretty small, it isn’t too overpowering and would look cute next to a couch or as a small nightstand. World Market has some seriously cute home pieces–if you’re in the market for a bar cart, check out their selection (OMG this lucite one…).

If you’re still loving the palm leaf trend, this pillow is for you! I purchased it from Dormify when they were having a 30 percent off sale on all pillows (bonus: it arrived to my house within, like, three days after I placed the order–love that!). Compare it to other retailers who often only sell pillow covers for the same price. Also, can we talk about how Dormify just launched an apartment line? Their stuff is so. cute. Majorly lusting over this cart (I would use it as a side table or serving tray since I already have a bar cart), and I’m also loving this little tray (it matches the pillow).

If you have your eyes on one of the Jonathan Adler zebra trays, this $18 version from the most darling site 8 Oak Lane is just as cute but slightly less expensive. While you’re at it, you may as well pick up this larger leopard tray or this adorable box–as a huge fan of gold and leopard print (who isn’t?), I love this collection.

What steals have you come across lately?

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Quick Decor Fixes

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While I’m not really one of those people who changes out pillows and decor for each season, I do understand the appeal of making some small, affordable changes to a room every now and then! I’ve scanned some of my favorite sites to find some cute pieces that will allow you to spruce up your living area on a budget.

H&M Home: Want to introduce the pineapple trend to your living space but don’t want to go all out just yet? In comes this black and gold pillow cover–at only $9.99, it’s an affordable way to change up your space. Feeling the leopard/dalmatian trend that’s all the rage right now? This cushion cover is for you! Lastly, how cute is this palm tree candlestick? It looks just like something you’d find in a vintage store or Etsy shop!

PB Teen: PB Teen prices can run high, but the company has some great sale items! This navy number is a great way to dress up a bed or couch and looks much more expensive than it is (less than $20!). If you want to spruce up your bed without paying for a new comforter or duvet, swapping out pillow shams is a great option–I love these floral ones!

TJ Maxx: If your desk or bookshelf is looking a little blah, just add some fun bookends–this Eiffel Tower pair is too cute. This white bamboo frame couldn’t be classier (seriously, LOVE), and rivals designer versions.

What quick fixes have you made lately? I’m all ears!

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Gallery Wall

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As you may know, I moved into my new place last weekend and am finally feeling a little more settled! I was so excited to start unpacking and decorating so I managed to set my place up pretty quickly (also, since I have been living in apartments for three years, I didn’t have to purchase too much new stuff, which made the process easier–although I may have added a few new pieces of decor, oops!). On Friday I decided to take the plunge and put up my gallery wall. I have actually never hung a gallery wall over my couch before but have always loved the look. Even if you aren’t looking at the pictures when you’re sitting on the couch, I think having a fun gallery there looks great when you walk into a room. I am a wall art fanatic so I had TONS of pieces to sort through, but I’m happy with the ones I chose for this space! Many of the pictures and frames came from HomeGoods/TJ Maxx or Etsy!

I am not the most patient person when it comes to decorating, so I actually didn’t do what you’re supposed to do when laying out a gallery wall, which to cut pieces of newspaper to match the size of your frames and put those on the wall first to make sure you know exactly where you want your items to go. However, I am pretty confident in my basic handyman skills and went ahead and hung my stuff anyway. I have the worst spatial perception when it comes to important things, like parallel parking, but I’m not too bad when it comes to hanging artwork 😉

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I’m loving how my gallery turned out (despite the poor quality of this photo), and the the best part is that if I ever get tired of these prints, I can just swap them out with new ones and still keep all the fun frames.

What are your gallery wall tips?

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Framing Wallpaper

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I love changing up my gallery wall, so purchasing prints can become an expensive habit! When I lived in New York, I ordered a few wallpaper swatches that I ended up framing (although I can’t remember the company from which I ordered at the moment), and they looked super cute. I came across Spoonflower on Instagram (actually on one of my favorite accounts, @pineapplesandcoffeecups, to be specific!) and I loved the patterns that Adriana snapped. I decided to explore the site myself and realized that these designs would also be great for framing. First of all, there are tons of patterns to choose from, and second, an 8 x 8 swatch is only $5 (you can order larger sizes, too, but this is really all you’ll need for framing, especially if you have an 8 x 10 matted frame with a 5 x 7 opening). I am thinking about ordering a few of these once I get my gallery wall going in my new place! Here are some of my faves below, would love to know which ones you like!

Ginger jars

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Scalamandre-esque zebras

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Lips (like Lara Stone’s!)

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Banana leaf 

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I think this one is my favorite!

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Junk in the Trunk

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My mom keeps several old trunks in our house that were from her childhood home–one is used as a coffee table in our basement and I love the look. I purchased a greenish-brown trunk in Philly (it’s prettier than it sounds, promise!) and used it in my apartment there, but lately, my eye has been on classy, shiny trunks. Above are a few of my favorites. I LOVE the PBteen version (shown below) but the Target one (while still a splurge) seems a little more realistic, not to mention that it also looks easier to clean (I feel so adult taking that into consideration, haha). Which ones do you like?

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