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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You Don't Have to Spend a Fortune - Starting Out!

Loveseat listed on Craigslist - Furniture by Owner Section - I plan to follow up on this one!
It is a rainy day (and week) here in the Atlanta area, and I thought I would troll the local craigslist - furniture by owner - listings to address an issue that has been the source of discussions with a good friend. The issue is creating great decor with high-quality furnishings at super low prices.

I have had this discussion several times. My friends children are just starting out with homes and have limited resources to splurge on furnishings. The inclination for many young people is to buy "cheap" which I define as buying the big, pivotal furniture pieces at places lkea and Rooms to Go and Costco. All can have some good deals on well made pieces but I haven't seen many and certainly not at great prices. The other inclination is not to think much about the furnishings and live in a less than "nice" and comfortable space.

My multiple years of shopping at garage sales, estate sales, craigslist sellers, consignment sales and all other venues where high quality pieces are sold at deep discounts have convinced me that there is a better way. Not everyone has the time or energy to pursue all possible venues but even a regular viewer of craigslist, particularly in larger metropolitan areas, can easily furnish most of their home with great pieces at great prices.

To illustrate, I spent a little time today reviewing ads for several living/family room settings using the craigslist listings for Atlanta. My criteria was as follows:
  • Search for evidence of good quality. That can be description, name brand, original cost data and overall styling. 
  • Search for evidence of reasonable discount. Some sellers think their items are worth WAY more than they are selling through this venue. One seller is trying to get $1600 for a pair of nice enough Henredon chairs that she paid $2200 for - it will not happen.
  • Search for evidence that suggests they can be used as is - described as in very good to excellent condition.
Since this was just a mental exercise and not a buying spree, I didn't follow up with any of the items shown to ask additional questions; discuss possible discounts/flexibility in price; and, ask for more detailed photos.

Here are a few examples of what I found.

I think all these pieces could be bought for 15-20% off of the asking prices but a price-tag of about $1500 for all is not bad.
The board above provides for a nice, somewhat traditional living room with some eclectic touches. Here are the items:
  • Loveseat - identified as "bench-made" and originally $2000 plus each for $950 for the pair.
  • Rug - 8X10 wool - described as 6 months old and originally $1200 for $225.
  • Table - iron and glass - described as vintage for $80.
  • End table Drexel Heritage for $60.
  • Unusual chairs (pair) - cushion can easily be recovered to better match other pieces - $250.

This grouping is organized around the somewhat pricey French sofa - I believe it could be put together with bargaining for about $2000.
The board above is an interesting look with continental flair. Here are the items:
  • French carved wood frame with linen fabric - indicated they paid $2500 for $1300.
  • French Industrial Table made with reclaimed wood - indicated they paid $1200 for  $399.
  • Bombay bow-fronted chest - indicated they paid $1100 for $550.
  • Chairs (pair) and Table - distressed and reupholstered for $285.
This was my challenge to do most of the room's pieces for less than $1000 - here it is!
This low cost option board includes quite a few pieces of furniture.  Here are the items.
  • Hickory Hill (nice USA brand) sofa and loveseat - described as very clean for $350.
  • Iron and glass coffee table for $70 (coordinating end table also available for $60).
  • Beverly Hall Chair and Ottoman (high-end seller in the area) for $295.
Obviously, there is quite a bit more work involved than just sitting in front of the computer in order to check out these items, actually purchase and haul them home. Some, of course, won't be available by the time you respond to ad - others will not be what you want once you actually see them. But, this exercise does demonstrate the possibilities - what do you think?


  1. I think you're right. When I lived in AL (west of Rome, GA 1998-2008) the C/L scene was virtually nonexistant. Here in Nasville? Booming! What's worse is that I "look & see" furniture in a new light & wouldn't buy NEW if I wanted too! I have been dabbling in reupholstery & slipcovers (getting much better & not bad - if I say so myslef!) and I have been collecting furniture for my girl's homes. A little elbow grease goes a long way to creating something you love instead of soemthing you just need. I think you nailed it!


    1. Thanks Sam. CL seems to be everywhere - noticed it is present in Europe as well.

  2. What great advice--I wish I had known that when I was a newly married wife in the 60's. My husband and I bought a house full of Drexel, all matching, and paid for it on time! Even though my parents had done it, I didn't realize that "collected over time" is the most pleasing of design. I still have a few pieces--it was stellar furniture then, but have added many other pieces. I am drooling over that French cane sofa. Oh my!