Good morning. I recently posted a piece that I found on Facebook Marketplace and the questions came flooding in. I am by no means an expert when it comes to shopping the site. In fact, I have purchased only three things but I am happy to share some of my tips and thoughts with you. Below you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions and ways to make Facebook Marketplace work for you.
OUR RECENT FIND
This pretty piece is right at home here. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It’s in great condition, although I do plan to give it a fresh coat of paint. It has a slightly distressed finish and I’d like it to read a bit more polished. I will also change out the hardware.
I am up in the air on whether to keep it black. On first glance it’s an obvious, “Yes! Absolutely keep it black.” And while every space benefits from a dose of black and the grounding effect it has, the jury is still out on this one. I think the hard part is not being in the home to see how the spaces work together. So stay tuned. Let’s jump into shopping tips.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Know what you want. I think this may go against what most people think, but it’s worked for me. I don’t just scroll through Facebook Marketplace looking for pretty pieces. I think that can lead to buyers remorse and ending up with something that may be amazing . . . but doesn’t work in your space.
*Sources in this post: Designing an Angled Living Room
ENVISION THE PIECE YOU WANT
Envision what you want. It may sound crazy but in both instances I could literally see the piece in my room. In this room I knew I wanted something with some weight and pretty lines. I wanted it to fill the width but allow me to add height with a mirror or artwork. I also knew I wanted it to be low enough so I could style the top with a lamp and accessories.
I took measurements and knew exactly what would fit (within a few inches). Don’t let yourself be swayed by a piece if the measurements are off. Move on! Do not talk yourself into it no matter how beautiful it may be. Also be sure that your desired measurements will fit in your car. Or that you have a car that you can borrow in case it’s too large.
USE A COUPLE OF FILTERS
I don’t use a ton of filters but I do put in my city and select “within 20 miles” of it. That usually means I won’t be driving more than 35 minutes. I think it goes without saying that you should never go alone and be sure to look at the seller’s profile. I find that I can get a really good feel with their selling history and the interactions we have through messaging. And once you have a good feel, I find it easier to text one another but that is just me.
Facebook Marketplace is full of junk, sponsors, and stores so I select, “Local pickup” to try and avoid some of that. I then type in a search word such as, “Sideboard” or “Console”. Not every seller knows what a piece is called so be sure to try a few that could possibly fit. Or just search newest listings to catch everything. “Dresser” often yields the most results with various pieces of furniture that has drawers.
We are talking Facebook so guess what? There’s an algorithm. It helps in that if you look at a listing you will see more of that. But that has a flip side, too. You won’t be shown everything. So my advice . . .unless you love it, don’t click on the listing as it will effect your future searches.
Look, let’s be honest. It’s mostly luck. But you can check often and be diligent. If you know the piece you have in mind, it allows you to eliminate most of the items you are seeing. Be patient. The right one will come along. And don’t forget about the power of paint.
This was a Henredon dresser we found on Marketplace in our last home. We sanded it and painted it Hale Navy and refreshed the original hardware with Rub n’ Buff. We still love this dresser. You can see more of that room here.
BE KIND AND RESPONSIVE
Be kind and be responsive in your messaging. Everyone is busy and everyone has their own life happening. Please and thank you go a long way. If you are really sold, offer to Venmo them right away. Otherwise ask if you can come see the piece if it’s a bigger investment. And if you go see the item and it’s not for you, have a lovely response prepared. “Oh, shoot, it’s a different color than I thought” or “I love it, but I’m not sure it will work.” Don’t feel guilted into buying it because you’ll end up with a piece you don’t love.
DO YOU NEGOTIATE?
This is a dresser we bought for the room with the green sofa. It’s EXACTLY what I had pictured. It even had been recently painted the perfect warm white. I always ask if they will take a little less (nothing crazy). Well made pieces have value and they are very hard to come by these days. If you fall in love with a piece, think to yourself, would I want to lose it over the price difference I am negotiating. Usually, I find people price things fairly or if it’s way too much I don’t even entertain it.
WHY DO I SHOP FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE?
We have a more traditional home and I love incorporating pieces that have a history. While brand new pieces are beautiful, you can also tell when they are brand new. A bit of character here and there can really add warmth to a space. Plus the lead times on things are insane right now. It’s also nice to give a piece of furniture new life. There is something romantic about that to me.
WAS IT A STEAL?
Not everything is a steal. You may find one here and there. This is a current $200 listing which I think is fantastic. I would buy this in a heartbeat if I needed it and paint it black. It’s a solid piece of furniture and adds a ton of charm to a room. And that hardware is great. You could buy a brand new dresser at Target and it would cost more and most likely be made from particle board. I’m not knocking Target furniture (I’ve bought a ton) but just keep it all in perspective when considering what to pay.
Here is another example. They are asking $400. You can’t buy a piece with these curves made from solid wood for $400. Not to mention, most furniture is taking months to arrive. This would be so pretty painted Hale Navy. Freshen up the hardware with a bit of Rub n Buff and it’s a gorgeous piece. Or leave it as is.
USE IT AS A PLACEHOLDER
Here’s another thought. Because things are taking so long, if you have ordered a piece but it won’t arrive for months, maybe buy something from Facebook Marketplace until it arrives. That’s when you look for the hidden gem. A $100 table that you could paint white. Then when your piece arrives, turn around and sell it. It really is a nice option if you need furniture right away.
Bottom line, yes, there is so much to sift through but if you have something in mind, it can be a quick check a couple of times a day. Good pieces go quickly so if you see something you like, act on it. Happy hunting. Let me know if you score a great find.