Interior designer Victoria Solomon of Victoria Elizabeth Design has turned Craigslist bargain hunting into an art form. Not only does she use the resale website to source fantastic pieces for her greater New York and Boston-area clients’ spaces, but she’s also had major personal success on the site; Victoria’s NYC apartment is a treasure trove of designer steals. It contains a spectacular campaign dresser she scooped up for a jaw-dropping $65 and an authentic 1970s Pace Collection brass and glass coffee table she purchased for $85 — it retails for around $3,500.
Beyond incredible patience and diligence (it took her eight months to find all the furniture in her apartment), we wanted to know the nitty-gritty of Victoria’s winning Craigslist technique. Here’s what she had to say.
POPSUGAR: What types of furniture pieces is Craigslist best for?
Victoria Solomon: Craigslist is definitely best for case goods like tables, cabinets, chests, or desks. Buying anything fabric-related on Craigslist would definitely freak me out (unless you’re planning on replacing the upholstery)!
PS: Any search secrets?
VS: I use an app to find what I’m looking for — it’s called cPro Craigslist, and it’s fantastic. It allows you to search for an item across any geographical area in the US . . . if you use the app I mentioned, it’s relatively quick and just scrolling through quickly until you see something. It’s an easy thing to do while you’re watching TV!
PS: Do you have any tactics for getting the seller to commit to you?
VS: The trick is to message or call the seller as soon as you find an item you like — even if you’re not sure, begin a dialogue with them so they know you’re is interested. If you really love the item, then set up a time — the sooner the better. That way you can ensure that you’ll get first dibs on the piece.
PS: What happens if the piece doesn’t live up to your expectations in person?
VS: Don’t feel bad about changing your mind once you see the piece in person. Once I made the trip to see a wooden desk that looked fantastic in the photos, but when I showed up, it was veneer and it was chipping. I told the seller politely that I wasn’t sure it would fit in my space and that I wanted to go back home and measure (an excuse I made up).
PS: Any price negotiation tips?
VS: Try hesitating for a bit. Ask some questions about the piece such as, “Oh, it looks a little scratched here?” or “Oh, it seemed much bigger in the photo.” This might push them to offer a lower price. But if you know you’re getting a fantastic deal, just take it.
PS: What are your tips for determining if an item is authentic?
VS: Do your research beforehand to figure out how you can verify if an item is authentic. If you’re unsure, reach out to a local antique shop and send them a photo of the piece. Ask them if they think it’s real. Don’t send the whole link — they might realize what a good deal it is too!
PS: What are some of your other favorite sites for finding vintage furniture?
VS: Etsy — I found my fantastic Hollywood Regency brass desk there as well as my leather brass chair. They really have great pieces on there. I also love Chairish. eBay always has some good finds too! And a lot of the dealers on Etsy are open to negotiating as well. I always email them beforehand.