Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"I Could Make That" - Vintage Nightstand

The end table we bought off of Craiglist to use as a nightstand in the guest bedroom was perfect. Except, I did not read the measurements and the 27" depth made it stick out about half the
length of the beds! The plan was to turn it sideways and create a "faux drawer." We also wanted to freshen up the piece with a new color that would complement the room. We bought two bottles of Rust-Oleum: one primer and one in strawflower yellow. After sanding the table, it was time to get painting.

Things get a little tricky when you live in an apartment building and do not have a yard or garage to DIY in. Not wanting to spray paint on the balcony for fear of getting specks of paint all over our deck and not wanting to spray paint in the house for fear of, well, dying from the fumes, we headed out to our back alley parking area to a patch of grass between the building and the fence. Luckily, our parking area has an electronic gate so I was not overly worried about our table walking off when we left it to dry. Two coats of primer and two coats of strawflower yellow later (each coat dried in under an hour), we brought it upstairs to finish drying on the balcony.

We bought a small drawer pull from Home Depot for under $3 and glued it on with Gorilla Glue. Our first thought was to screw it in, but using glue means we can easily remove the drawer pull and not leave a large mark if we decide to use the piece as it was intended. For a little extra flair, Bob painted a design on the faux drawer to give it more of a vintage/handpainted look. Just please don't pull on the drawer handle. It will prove to be quite the let down.

So that is the transformation from a $35 Craigslist purchase to a $44 "vintage" nightstand. And a transformation from this girl thinking spray paint is only for graffiti to thinking it is the best thing since sliced bread.
Thinking back to the kinda creepy place Bob picked this table up from, I thought I would offer some Craigslist Tips!

You Can Never Be Too Careful
- Do not give your address over email, instead provide a phone number the potential buyer (or seller) can reach you at to discuss further details. I usually wait until I have an email exchange going with the person before even offering my phone number.
- Ask the person picking up the item to call when they are getting close so, depending on the size of the item, you can meet them downstairs, outside or in the lobby of your building rather than providing exact address.
- Have a friend tag along if you are picking something up or ask someone to hang out if you have a buyer coming over. Safety in numbers!


Sellers
- Be specific in the subject line and include words that would cover several search options in the summary. When I was selling a couch I called it a couch/sofa/loveseat to cover all the bases.

- Be detailed in the summary on measurements and price points. You might weed out some questioning potential buyers.
- Include photos - you can usually upload up to 4 but sometimes the file sizes are too large. Post a couple quality shots and then link to a free Flickr page for the rest.
- If you are not getting immediate interest, re-post often so your item is on the first page. It is easy to get lost in the crowd with some of the more popular items. A posting will be up for at least 5 days but can quickly get relegated to the second or third results page.
- Post your price a tad higher than you might have otherwise put it. The buyer will probably want to barter a bit so you could end up with your original price. Don't go too much higher than comparable items, though, or you might just get passed over!

Buyers
- Look near the end of the month for great furniture deals. Your nomadic neighbor would LOVE to practically give you his old dining room table if it means he won't have to move it on the 1st!
- Don't overlook the Services section. Okay, I know there is a joke in there somewhere, but you might just find some cheap movers, landscapers or other odd job saviors.

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