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How To Create a Designer Home Using (Mostly) Craigslist

Updated on April 3, 2014

Use Craigslist and Your Inspiration Piece to Create the Home of Your Dreams

Thinking of updating a room or two in your home? If budget is an issue, consider using Craigslist to find one-of-a-kind bargains to furnish every room!

Using my own home, a two-bedroom, two-bath Florida rental condo, I will walk you through the process of determining a room's function, furniture layout options and what features to look for when shopping for bargain-priced designer furniture on Craigslist.

The best inspiration piece will provide you with a color scheme and design direction. An inspiration piece can be anything: a majolica plate, an area rug, a piece of artwork, a vintage postcard, even a favorite scarf. Its only requirement is that it acts as your muse, motivating, stimulating and encouraging you in a definite direction.

The photo shown here is one I took of a king-sized quilt I bought on clearance at Marshall's. The price was right, $36, and I adore the bright, happy colors, as well as the floral and paisley pattern. It served as my inspiration for the entire condo.

Are you ready to embark on your next design project with me? Let's begin!

Image:KateHon

What Is My Style?

It has changed over the years

When my husband and I were first married, we loved contemporary style. As we got older, we began to like very traditional furniture. After talking at great length about the Florida condo, we decided to look for clean-lined pieces with a more transitional feel, while still bringing in some traditional elements.

We were influenced in our decision by Florida's climate, the landscape in our complex and the fact that our unit was only 1024 square feet, a fairly modest size.

Even though I had my brightly-colored quilt to inspire me, I knew I wanted my major furniture pieces to be neutral in color. It is much less expensive to swap out decorative pillows, throws and accessories when I get tired of them than to replace a sofa or chairs, even when they are purchased at a discounted price.

The picture, shown above, is a good example of my transitional taste; there are elements of traditional style, seen in the ornate mirror, along with the clean lines of the settee. Love it.

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Unsure of Your Favorite Furniture Design Style? - This book will cure your uncertainty

Furniture: World Styles from Classical to Contemporary
Furniture: World Styles from Classical to Contemporary

I love this book for so many reasons:

It is a comprehensive reference volume covering 3,000 years of furniture design and development.

It covers many lesser-known, fascinating furniture genres, including Scandinavian and Russian design.

It is well-written, appealing to design professionals and homeowners alike.

It contains spectacular full-color photography of each furniture style.

I will cherish this book for its beauty, refer to it again and again for its scope of information, and call upon it for continual inspiration.

It would be a bargain at twice the price.

 

Update: 12/27/2012

As of fall/winter 2012, I outfitted our condo's home office, once again using (mostly) craigslist. I also tweaked the master bedroom a bit, as well as changed a couple of items in the living room.

I hope the information and pictures below will inspire you to use craigslist and other non-traditional means of furnishing your home, achieving a designer look without the designer price tag.

What Is The Budget?

Before I looked for my first piece of furniture, my husband and I agreed on a max budget of $2000 to furnish our condo's three main areas: master bedroom, dining room and living room.

These were my must-haves:

Storage

King-sized bed

Storage

Sleeper sofa

Storage

China cabinet

Storage

My goal? To find as much high-quality, low-cost, multi-functional furniture possible.

You will have a chance later to let me know how well I did.

Now That Inspiration Has Struck, What Is The Next Step? - I needed a plan to discover if everything I wanted would all fit, still leaving enough room to move

Ours is a small condo with only two closets, one in each of the two bedrooms, so I needed to maximize storage space within the footprint of every room in the unit.

The master bedroom is 13' x 12', large enough to accommodate:

1. King-Size Bed: 76" wide X 80" long

2. Two Nightstands: each at 24"-30" wide X 16" - 18" deep

2. Triple Dresser: maximum width of 72" X 16" - 18" deep

Even if I found everything listed above, I figured I would still have a minimum of a two-foot walkway between the bed and triple dresser and between the bed and the door to the master bath, which would be perfectly acceptable.

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The Right Tool Makes Every Job Easier - A small investment now will save you money later!

Home Quick Planner: Reusable, Peel & Stick Furniture & Architectural Symbols
Home Quick Planner: Reusable, Peel & Stick Furniture & Architectural Symbols

I loved using these inexpensive, re-positionable furniture templates as a great, low-tech way to visualize how well my proposed room layouts might work. Placing the 1/4" scale templates on the coordinating grid made it easy to see whether or not my hoped-for furniture would fit in each room and leave me enough space to move around.

In addition to furniture templates, the kit also includes windows, walls, doors, and other critical floor plan elements, such as switches and outlets, to make a technically complete room design. This was especially important when it came to deciding where to position the entertainment center in the living room and being able to place lamps near outlets for adequate lighting everywhere.

Since my condo is relatively small, one set of the furniture templates had more than enough individual pieces to work with, but getting a second set would be wise if you are working on a home larger than two bedrooms or 1200 square feet.

My home came to life as I laid out each room using the re-positionable templates. I knew exactly what sizes of furniture I needed, making shopping on craigslist much easier and more efficient, enabling me to maximize my budget.

These templates saved me from making any bad buying decisions! Well worth the price!!

 

Other Furniture Template Options

If you prefer to draw your own furniture templates, consider one of these helpful options.

The Master Bedroom, Courtesy of Craigslist! - I could not be happier with my new master bedroom!

I looked for a long time to find this bedroom furniture. By the time I found it on Craigslist, it had been listed for almost a month. I did not know if it was still available when I came across it, since many people do not delete their listings after they sell their merchandise, so I was excited to learn it was still for sale.

We drove 45 miles to see it and it was better than it looked in the listing pictures, which rarely happens! It came from a very expensive home and was clearly great quality. The polished chrome tester bed was heavy-duty and sturdy, with virtually no pitting, tarnishing or scratching in the chrome finish.

I paid the seller her asking price of $475 for the following pieces:

King-size mattress frame

King-size mattress and box spring (older, but clean, comfortable, and in good shape)

King-size mattress pad (new)

King-size polished chrome tester bed frame

King-size sheet set with two king-size pillow cases in a spicy red-orange color

New king-size white cotton blanket

30" mid-century modern mirrored nightstand

Smaller mirrored nightstand

Round mirrored wastebasket

72" mid-century modern mirrored triple dresser, a coordinating piece to the 30" nightstand. Both the triple dresser and the nightstand are solid wood pieces, with dovetailed drawer construction, wood dust panels between the drawers, mirrored tops and alternating drawer finishes of olive green lacquer and mirrored glass.

Large mid-century modern decorative lamp, which has pride of place on the triple dresser

Candlestick lamp

Small round decorative opalescent oil lamp

Uplight

Night light

I paid an additional $170 for:

Two aqua matelassse Euro shams

Two 28" X 28" Euro down pillow inserts, two inches bigger than the Euro shams, for a fuller, plumper look

Two king-size down pillow inserts

One orange shag decorative pillow (think Cheetos)

Two aqua table lamps with linen shades

King-size aqua dust ruffle (not shown)

Since we edited our clothing before we moved to Florida, we only need to use the nightstands to house any miscellaneous clothing not stored in our walk-in closet, pressing the triple dresser into service as a credenza to hold our less-frequently-used-but-still-needed business paperwork, with a drawer or two remaining empty.

So far I have paid $645 for my master bedroom.

I am still looking for the following:

Window treatments of some kind

Large artwork for above the bed

Large ornate mirror for above the triple dresser. I am toying with the idea of painting it orange.

Image:KateHon

Aqua Drapery Panels Might be Perfect - Love the color!

Stylemaster Soho 55 by 84-Inch Sheer Grommet Panel with Faux Silk Border, Turquoise
Stylemaster Soho 55 by 84-Inch Sheer Grommet Panel with Faux Silk Border, Turquoise

Go super sheer, limiting the pop of color to the perimeter of the panels - dramatic, yet understated.

 
Turquoise Sunshine Sheer Voile Panel/curtain/drape; 55" wide X 84" long; One Panel Per Package
Turquoise Sunshine Sheer Voile Panel/curtain/drape; 55" wide X 84" long; One Panel Per Package

These sheers have a bit more casual vibe, ideal for any bedroom. Use the drapery rings with clips to give the panels a little more length. Consider hanging them so the hems just brush the floor for a very relaxed look.

 
Stylemaster Vivid 60-Inch by 95-Inch Sheer Voile Grommet Panel, Aqua
Stylemaster Vivid 60-Inch by 95-Inch Sheer Voile Grommet Panel, Aqua

The aqua color is soothing, so important in creating a restful environment for sleep. The panels I intend to use will be stationary, not operational, so the sheers will just serve as a punctuation of color in the room.

 
Kenney Classic Square Curtain Rod Set, 66-120”, 3/4” Diameter, Satin Nickel
Kenney Classic Square Curtain Rod Set, 66-120”, 3/4” Diameter, Satin Nickel

Perfect for rod-pocket or grommet panels. Since the ceilings in my condo are 8-1/2 feet high, I can go with 95" panels, which will draw the observer's eye up, making the room feel larger.

 
Anello Premium Clip Rings for Drapery Rod - Made of Extra Thick Solid Iron Capable of Holding Heavy Curtains and Drapes - Set of 14pcs - Satin Nickel
Anello Premium Clip Rings for Drapery Rod - Made of Extra Thick Solid Iron Capable of Holding Heavy Curtains and Drapes - Set of 14pcs - Satin Nickel

Add these clip rings to hang any rod-pocket panel for an instantly updated look. Rings with clips can give just enough extra length to too-short panels, giving them and your room a new lease on life!

 

Mirror, Mirror is ON the Wall! - Have not found artwork yet, so I painted a mirror instead

I have been looking for artwork I liked for over the bed, but have not found it.

When we returned to Florida in fall 2012, I was tired of looking at the empty wall above the bed, so I painted an old mirror I found on Craigslist and hung it above the bed for a pop of color and some added visual interest.

I had intended the mirror to go above the dresser opposite the bed when I bought it, but I just had to have something above the bed. I will wait for the perfect piece of art for over the bed.

Image:KateHon

February 2013 - Some Garage Sale, Goodwill, and Consignment Store Finds Help to Finish Accessorizing the Master Bedroom Suite - Click on each picture for more i

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I paid $5 at a garage sale for this large-scale shadowbox.  The seller told me it came from a South Venice, FL teardown, where it was used as an indoor 'window' in a wall separating two rooms.  After I sanded down the rough spots, I oil-primed it, thEven Harmony, the tabby, gave it two paws up.A close up of the large shadow box wall feature in the master bedroom.  The white vase in the center of the shadowbox came from Goodwill.I paid 50 cents, at the same garage sale, for this smaller, narrower shadow box.  I prepped, primed and painted it, using the same paint as one the larger shadowbox.I hung it above the commode in the Master Bath.I filled it with some yellow rattan orbs and three picture frames, filled with paint chip art.  I purchased the two small picture frames for $1 apiece at a local consignment store.
I paid $5 at a garage sale for this large-scale shadowbox.  The seller told me it came from a South Venice, FL teardown, where it was used as an indoor 'window' in a wall separating two rooms.  After I sanded down the rough spots, I oil-primed it, th
I paid $5 at a garage sale for this large-scale shadowbox. The seller told me it came from a South Venice, FL teardown, where it was used as an indoor 'window' in a wall separating two rooms. After I sanded down the rough spots, I oil-primed it, th
Even Harmony, the tabby, gave it two paws up.
Even Harmony, the tabby, gave it two paws up.
A close up of the large shadow box wall feature in the master bedroom.  The white vase in the center of the shadowbox came from Goodwill.
A close up of the large shadow box wall feature in the master bedroom. The white vase in the center of the shadowbox came from Goodwill.
I paid 50 cents, at the same garage sale, for this smaller, narrower shadow box.  I prepped, primed and painted it, using the same paint as one the larger shadowbox.
I paid 50 cents, at the same garage sale, for this smaller, narrower shadow box. I prepped, primed and painted it, using the same paint as one the larger shadowbox.
I hung it above the commode in the Master Bath.
I hung it above the commode in the Master Bath.
I filled it with some yellow rattan orbs and three picture frames, filled with paint chip art.  I purchased the two small picture frames for $1 apiece at a local consignment store.
I filled it with some yellow rattan orbs and three picture frames, filled with paint chip art. I purchased the two small picture frames for $1 apiece at a local consignment store.

Master Bedroom Done, Dining Room is Next

My must-have criteria for a dining room set:

Seating for six

Coordinating china cabinet

Not too big

Have just a hint of tropical feel, without being kitschy

Under $200 for everything

Before Picture of Two Dining Room Chairs and China Cabinet Bottom

There were six chairs with the set, all of which had broken seats. We had new 1/2" plywood seats rough-cut at Lowe's and my husband later trimmed them down to size before we reupholstered the seats.

Each of the six chairs has a wonderful caned-back design. Before we went to look at the set, I specifically asked the seller the condition of the caning. Since damaged caning is expensive to repair and I have no DIY caning experience, I was not interested in a dining set with broken caning on the chair backs.

Image:KateHon

Before Picture of China Cabinet Top

This china cabinet has an interior light and two shelves.

The shelves have wood on the front and back, with a groove for plates routed into each shelf back.

Glass inserts complete the middle section of each shelf, allowing light to shine down through the entire interior, illuminating its contents.

Image:KateHon

Before Picture of Dining Table

This table is 54" without the leaf, 72" with the leaf installed. The table top is easy-care laminate with a knotty-pine look.

As with the bedroom furniture, I spent a lot of time on Craigslist looking for just the right dining room set and it took quite a while to track down all the pieces.

During my search, I discovered this furniture is from a mid-century Broyhill collection, quite popular in Florida. There is faux-bamboo detailing on the table legs, chairs, as well as on the china cabinet base. The china cabinet base also features rattan drawer fronts. The drawers and doors on the china cabinet had their original metal hardware, all with faux-bamboo details.

I tried to find the entire set from one seller, but that proved to be impossible. In the end, I found the table, leaf and six chairs 70 miles south of us and the china cabinet 70 miles north of us.

As we traveled to inspect, purchase and pack the various pieces into our van, we took time to enjoy the incredible winter weather that makes Florida such a magnet for northerners.

I paid $160 for the china cabinet, table, leaf and six chairs.

Image:KateHon

DIY Furniture Painting Videos - You CAN do it! What is the worst that could happen?

If you follow some basic instructions, take your time and check your work as you go, you can successfully give old furniture a new life with paint.

Start on a small, simple project to set yourself up for success. Once you have accomplished an easy job, make the next task just a little more challenging and before you know it, you will be totally ready for the big time!

Remember: I am only an email away if you run into problems. I am more than happy to help guide you through any painting issue that may arise, so now you have no excuse!

For more how-to information on painting furniture, check out another article I recently wrote on the subject, entitled 'J' is for 'just do it'!

The Rest of the Dining Room Story... - Here is the completed set after painting and chair seat reupholstery

How I achieved the transformation:

I lightly sanded the furniture, then cleaned the sanding dust with a damp cloth.

I applied three coats of black acrylic paint in a satin finish to the table, chairs and china cabinet, allowing a day to dry between coats. Usually acrylic paint dries faster, but the dark color required more drying time.

I painted the inside of the china cabinet with a green color taken from the chair seat fabric. Once again, it took three coats to completely cover the interior.

I used Rub 'n Buff, a metallic paste wax, in 'Silver Leaf' to change the color of the china cabinet hardware from dingy antique brass to a cool silver finish.

After my husband had cut the new chair seats to size, we re-applied an original padded top to each with spray adhesive.

Using the original chair seat fabric as a pattern, we cut new seat cushion fabric, being very careful to match the stripes from piece to piece.

We stapled the fabric to each chair seat, paying close attention to keep the fabric smooth around the outside corners.

We re-attached the chair seats to the chairs using slightly longer screws than the originals, due to the new, slightly thicker plywood seats.

We spent an additional $58.50 on fabric, paint and sundries to renovate our dining room furniture.

Adding that amount to the purchase price of $160, we spent a total of $218.50 for a completely new dining room set.

I went $18.50 over the amount I budgeted for the dining room furniture, but considering how wonderfully it turned out, I have no regrets.

I love it all!

Image:KateHon

Rub 'n Buff Is So Easy To Use, Even Harmony, the Tabby, Could Apply It... - ...if she could open the tube

These quick videos will provide you with everything you need to know to become expert at Rub 'n Buffing. Buff on!

Rub 'n Buff - A Lifesaver in a Tube

AMACO Rub 'n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Silver Leaf, 0.5-Fluid Ounce
AMACO Rub 'n Buff Wax Metallic Finish, Silver Leaf, 0.5-Fluid Ounce

I first used Rub 'n Buff years ago to hide a chipped finish on the frame of a favorite mirror.

I was hooked.

Since then, I have used it on a great many things, a few of which include lamp bases, picture frames, chandeliers and cabinet hardware. You squeeze out just a tiny bit and apply it with your finger, a Q-tip, a soft cloth or paper towel. It dries almost instantly, after which you buff it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

The resulting finish is durable, permanent and beautiful!

Rub 'n Buff comes in silver leaf and several colors of gold, as well as lots of other metallic colors. Everyone should at least have one gold and silver Rub 'n Buff in their touch-up arsenal. It is an invaluable product. After you have used it once, you will be as convinced as I am.

Rub 'n Buff is GREAT STUFF!

 

Tell Me What You Think

Image:KateHon

What part of the dining room transformation do you think made the biggest difference?

See results

Finally, We Come to the Living Room

I had several living room furniture requirements on which I absolutely would not compromise:

Neutral or black sleeper sofa

Sofa table

Two side chairs

Entertainment center with lots of storage

Coffee table with storage options

Narrow storage for angled wall next to master bedroom

Under $1000

Confession Time... - ...this sofa table did not come from Craigslist

Actually, I found this wonderful citrus-colored sofa table at Ikea for only $79.99. It is 73" long, 12" wide, and is on casters! I wanted to put it behind the sofa for three reasons:

1. To move forward whatever sofa I found, in order to bring it closer to the entertainment center. The condo living room was just a bit too wide to make TV viewing comfortable had the sofa been against the wall.

2. To provide a pop of color.

3. To provide a surface for a pair of lamps that would give illumination to the entire sofa.

Mission accomplished!

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However, I Did Find the Sleeper Sofa on Craigslist! - In my opinion, this sofa was the deal of the century

Over the years I have worked with a lot of clients who did not have a spare bedroom, but who needed sleeping options for the occasional overnight guest. Understandably, none of them were very interested in a traditional pull-out sofa, probably because they, like so many others of us, had spent miserable nights on sleeper sofas with the rigid metal center support bar under the mattress twisting their bodies into unnatural origami shapes.

Enter the Comfort Sleeper sofa by American Leather. It has an innovative design with NO RIGID METAL CENTER SUPPORT BAR! Instead, it has a 'firm foam' mattress, very similar to a Temper-pedic mattress. This sleeper mattress folds out in sections and really is very comfortable.

Of course, this innovation comes at a price.

A new Comfort Sleeper sofa can retail in the vicinity of several thousand dollars, depending on size, fabric or leather choice and other extras.

As I was looking (and looking and looking) for a sleeper sofa, I happened to come across a 72" black Ultrasuede sleeper. In the furniture industry, this sofa's length is considered to be an apartment or condo size, designed for smaller living areas. After I had used my furniture templates to grid my possible furniture layout, I knew my maximum sofa size was 72". Anything larger would not allow me to have two side chairs.

The asking price of this transitional sofa was a bit more than I wanted to spend, UNTIL I realized what I was looking at. After confirming my hunch via emails to the seller, I learned he was offering a months-old $3000+ American Leather Comfort Sleeper for what I considered to be the bargain-basement price of $500.

The seller was a young man who needed the money to pay off some bills, so he was unloading his sofa. His loss, our gain!!

Since the sofa is a sleeper, it has a firm 'seat', which I rather enjoy; I do not like sinking way down into a sofa, making it next to impossible to lever oneself up and out.

I had already spent almost $600 on the sofa and sofa table, I had to exercise restraint in my remaining living room furniture choices...

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Craigslist Comes Through with a Touch of Animal Pattern - Every room needs a bit of the wild kingdom

I love this chair! I found it on Craigslist before we even moved to Florida. I asked a friend, who lives near our new condo and near the chair's seller, if she would check it out for me, since I was afraid it would be gone if I waited until I arrived to see it. She has exacting standards and I trusted her taste. I asked her to buy it if it passed muster, promising to pay her back as soon as we arrived in town.

She and her husband went to look at it, they both loved it and they paid the $80 asking price.

There was one little glitch, however.

I have no idea how the seller got the chair into their room, but evidently it could not be removed from its location unless and until the room's door was popped off its hinges. The flared arms of the chair made it too wide to otherwise clear the opening. The seller was an older woman who did not feel confident of taking off the door herself and her daughter, the only person she felt she could ask to help her, was out of town on business.

Our friends could have done it, but the chair was too wide to get into their SUV, so they left the chair and we just waited until we got to Florida a few days later to pick up the leopard chair ourselves.

Although the picture, above, makes it hard to see the pattern clearly, it is a small, tightly-woven leopard pattern in tones of black, dark olive green and tan. Overall, the chair's color reads dark green-black from a distance, a perfect companion with the black Ultrasuede sofa.

While the chair is not the highest quality, it is sturdy and VERY comfortable and I knew I would get far more than $80 of enjoyment and use from it.

Image:KateHon

Another Non-Craigslist Purchase - Ikea to the Rescue!

Since I needed so much storage, I decided to opt for the Expedit TV entertainment center by Ikea. It was reasonably priced at $229 and had the dark finish I wanted. The unit is 72" wide X 72" high X 15" deep, perfect for my purposes. The opening for the TV was just right for our 32" flat screen TV.

As you will see in a later photo, I filled most of the cubes with coordinating storage boxes, labeled for easy use. Once I had the unit assembled and filled, I decided I did not like seeing all the storage boxes, so I intend to purchase door kits for several of the cubes to present a sleeker appearance.

Since I bought this unit, Ikea has come out with a new Expedit entertainment center, which can accommodate up to a 55" TV set. If my husband knew that, he would want to upgrade everything, including the TV size, so let's keep it our little secret, shall we?

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A Peachy Keen Craigslist Bargain! - Easy way to transform a traditional barrel chair to a more transitional feel

I found this peach-colored barrel chair on Craigslist for only $30! It was the perfect size, although I was not overly thrilled with the button tufted back, which gave it a somewhat dated, traditional look.

I lifted the seat cushion to discover a label indicating it came from Ethan Allen. Ethan Allen is a retail furniture store who uses their private label on all their furniture, which is supplied to them from various independent furniture manufacturers. During recent years, EA has been using less US-made furniture and buying more of their pieces from the Far East; consequently, quality has been a bit spotty.

However, this chair had been made about twenty years ago and featured a solid hardwood frame and was well built, with every joint tight and intact. It was obvious the chair had received only light use over that time, since the upholstery was in pristine condition.

The button-tufted back cushion was not attached to the chair and simply lifted off, leaving a clean-lined inside back, making the chair perfectly transitional! In order to fully integrate the peach upholstery into my color scheme and have the chair live comfortably with the orange-orange sofa table, I found a funky accent fabric and stitched up a coordinating lumbar pillow. Once I put the pillow on the chair, all was well.

Image:KateHon

This Craigslist Find is Better After!

Amazing what a pillow change can do, isn't it?

Image:KateHon

My (Rub 'n) Buff Etagere - Before...

Talk about a blast from the past. I am sure this polished brass/glass shelved etagere (et-a-ZHAYR) was the height of fashion in the 1980s, but not so much today.

However, I liked it because:

1. It was only $60 and I knew I could get it for less

2. It had wonderful storage potential

3. It had the perfect dimensions to fit the wall leading into the master bedroom, 48" wide X 84" high X 12" deep

4. I could easily transform it with my paste wax friend, Rub 'n Buff

5. It was amazingly sturdy, the brass was in immaculate condition and none of the glass shelves were chipped, cracked or missing

After Getting Rubbed and Buffed - A silver-leaf stunner!

Even I was pretty impressed with the transformation of this etagere.

Here is how I did it:

1. I removed all the glass shelves and set them aside in a safe place. These shelves had survived intact for over thirty years and I wanted to keep them that way.

2. I lightly sanded the piece with a medium-grit sanding block, wiped off the sanding dust with a damp cloth, and allowed it to air dry.

3. Using my finger, I applied small amounts of the silver leaf Rub 'n Buff to the etagere's metal frame. Seriously, it doesn't get much easier than that. I watched a couple of DVDs while engaging in r 'n b.

4. Once I had the entire piece covered, which took about three hours, I buffed it all with a soft cloth.

5. I went over the entire frame again, touching up areas where the coverage was not complete, giving everything one last buff.

6. Finally, I washed and replaced all the glass shelves (whew!) and moved the etagere into location.

I used three tubes of Rub 'n Buff @ $4.30 = $12.90, and I still have a partial tube left over for future projects. I paid $50 for the etagere, for a total etagere expenditure of $62.90.

Image:KateHon

Etagere Afterglow

I filled some of the shelves with nine, previously-purchased storage boxes with sewing, office, and gift-wrapping supplies, as well as some table linens, napkins and napkin rings. There are still two or three empty boxes, which will undoubtedly get filled eventually.

I achieved my goal of creating a designer home using (mostly) Craigslist and I could not be more pleased with the results!

Image:KateHon

Keep Clutter in Check With Storage Containers - Use covered boxes or open bins, depending on your needs

Ideastream Snap-N-Store DVD Storage Box, Holds up to 26 DVDs, Glossy Black with Chrome Accents (SNS01524)
Ideastream Snap-N-Store DVD Storage Box, Holds up to 26 DVDs, Glossy Black with Chrome Accents (SNS01524)

Keep your DVDs in order with this spacious box. Organize by genre or alphabetically - your choice!

 
Snap-N-Store Letter and Legal File Box, Interior Dimensions 9.5 x 14.75 x 12.25 Inches, Black and White Scroll Design (SNS01835)
Snap-N-Store Letter and Legal File Box, Interior Dimensions 9.5 x 14.75 x 12.25 Inches, Black and White Scroll Design (SNS01835)

Store your monthly paperwork in this classically-patterned container. Staying organized should not be boring!

 
RiverRidge Kids 2pc Soft Storage Bins, Orange
RiverRidge Kids 2pc Soft Storage Bins, Orange

Embrace color in your storage solutions with these vivid orange bins, ideal for toys, shoes, magazines - the sky's the limit!

 

How Much Did I Spend?

Master Bedroom: $645

Dining Room: $218.50

Living Room: $1200, including artwork, throw, decorative pillows, miscellaneous accessories, lamps and vintage coffee table

Total: $2063.50

I went a smidgen over budget, but I am so pleased with the results that I do not plan on returning anything that could be returned.

I hope you agree...

Living Room After Picture

I made the artwork for around $40, using $3 black frames from Walmart, green scrapbooking paper @ $.49, for the background, and vintage Florida postcards @ $1.

The orange throw was $8 from Ikea, the vintage Italian oval glass-and-laminate coffee table was $80 at a local Habitat for Humanity ReSale shop, large glass vase was $10 from Marshall's and the two oversized faux leaves were $32, found at Michael's.

I already owned the two small striped lumbar pillows, as well as the larger gray lumbar pillow, all seen on the black sofa. The pair of black lamps on the orange sofa table were discovered at HomeGoods for $30 each.

Image:KateHon

Dining Room and Living Room View

Image:KateHon

A Close-Up of the Orange Sofa Table

Image:KateHon

Take Advantage of the Storage Space Under the Sofa Table

Since our condo only has two closets (one in each of the two bedrooms), we have to make the most of every square inch of storage available. We stow boxes of little-used items out of sight under the sofa table.

Image:KateHon

Ikea Entertainment Center

After I saw this photo of the entertainment center, I realized how badly I needed doors across (at least) the bottom row of storage. Even though the storage boxes keep everything neat and tidy, I still think the overall look is too cluttered.

I debated about showing you this picture, but I think it is important for everyone, myself included, to realize that not everything turned out the way I had hoped. Still, considering the entire project, I am chalking up the whole experience in the 'win' column!

Image:KateHon

We Put Doors on the Bottom Openings in Fall 2012

Having added doors to the bottom seven cube openings helps to ease the visual clutter enormously. I also edited the pictures and accessories for a cleaner, more streamlined appearance.

Image:KateHon

So What Is Next? - It is never over until it is over

Now that I have our Florida condo equipped with the basics, what is next?

In addition to what I mentioned earlier for the master bedroom, my next priorities are to add a side table beside the sofa, a large faux palm or other tropical tree between the sofa and the leopard chair, a pharmacy lamp next to the leopard chair, a few more decorative touches in the kitchen, as well as some more functional office furniture.

But for now I am content.

Whenever I walk into our condo, I love what greets me, and that is enough.

For now...

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We Needed a Home Office with Storage for Books, Accessories and Office Supplies - In Fall 2012, Craigslist again came to our rescue!

I found a pair of wall units, one of which is seen here, for just $5 each! Admittedly, they were in pretty sorry shape when I got them, but nothing that a little paint and wallpaper couldn't improve upon.

Image:KateHon

Make the Most of Every Inch Of Storage Space Available - Another craigslist find!

After I primed the wall units with CoverStain, I began to paint them with three coats of Sherwin Williams ProClassic acrylic latex satin enamel in 'Alabaster', SW7008.

While I was painting them, I measured the wall where they were to go, and realized I still had another 48" of wall space available.

Not wanting to squander any potential storage area, I again turned to craigslist, where I found two of these 4-shelf etageres for $20 each. When I met the seller, I was able to negotiate the price down to $15 each, a great price for such stylish display and storage pieces.

Image:KateHon

Wanted: A Desk for Two - Once again, I looked to craigslist for the answer

My husband and I like to work together (we've been doing it for 29 years!), so I thought a table, rather than a traditional desk, might be a good option.

I found a table, the same as the one shown here, only much longer, on craigslist for only $49, to serve as a kind of 'partners' desk, with us sitting across from one another.

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Our Home Office Revealed

I have all the room I need in this lovely wall of storage, both for display items and more practical office necessities tucked away behind closed doors.

Image:KateHon

View of our Home Office from the Doorway - We now can work together with room to spare

This home office is perfect for us; not only is it pretty to look at, but it is practical and functional. We each have plenty of room to spread out our work papers and nothing is more than a few steps away.

Image:KateHon

Our Inspirational Family Wall - They keep us motivated

Pictures and documents of our family who went before us keep us company as we go forth to fulfill our destiny. We added nine images in Fall 2012 to complete our family wall.

Image:KateHon

What Did We Spend on Our Home Office?

1. Wall Units - $10

2. Etageres - $30

3. Glass Shelves - $48

4. Primer, Paint & Sundries - $79

5. Table - $49

6. 3 Knobs - $6

7. Drapery Rods & Finials - $35

8. Wallpaper - Free (Gift)

9. Draperies - Free (Gift)

TOTAL = $257

Update: March 9, 2013

Our rental condo has been sold; closing is March 22, 2013. The buyers bought 90% of our furniture, declining only the entertainment center, the two wall units with glass shelves in the office & a few decorative items, which we then sold on Craigslist.

They bought our unit in part because the interior felt like 'Florida' without being too cute or kitschy, which was my goal from the beginning of the project.

We'll get another winter home in SW Florida & I'll write about that, too!

KateH

Let These DIY Books Inspire You!

I challenge you to find and revitalize one piece of old furniture before the end of the year. DO IT! You will be hooked!

Did You Have A Favorite Area? - Cast your vote!

Image from Microsoft Office

Which area of this condo did you like best?

See results

I know there are as many different ways to furnish this condo as there are squid in the ocean, and I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the finished product and/or how you would change it. We will all learn something new!

I Would Be Honored To Hear Your Thoughts - Don't hold back!

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    • profile image

      Susn 2 years ago

      brilliant! I bought my baby grand on Craigslist and a $2000 BERNHARDT etagere for $165. when people are moving or redecorating, they just want the stuff out and generally, I have found, that they negotiate with the buyer who shows up...."a bird in the hand...."

      I have also sold on Craigslist...and same thing applies, if someone shows up they generally follow through with the purchase as they have already decided to buy what I'm selling by virtue of the fact that they have shown up....suggestion: I ask for their name because we have to inform the gate....then I google their name just to make sure I'm not expecting someone on the FBI list ...

    • Spirality profile image

      Spirality 3 years ago

      It was hard for me to pick my favorite area because they were all so lovely. You have a wonderful sense of style and an eye for re-purposing items.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      I could never make everything look this good. Some people just have it. I am not one of those people.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      You have a wonderful gift for decorating and this lens is a fabulous tribute to your writin skills as well. Congrats on the Purple Star. It is well deserved! *Squid Angel Blessed*

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Your bedroom looks lovely & I love the idea of adding bold or fun colors you love to items that are easily changed down the road.

    • InfusionArt LM profile image

      InfusionArt LM 5 years ago

      Really interesting lens, what a great way to decorate on a budget. You can pick up canvas art at a good price now, check out my lenses for some ideas!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      This is incredible. Funny how our styles change as we get older. I think some of your ideas are terrific and, since we are remodeling, I may incorporate some of this. Happy Thanksgiving and blessed!

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 5 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      Awesome lens! You did such a beautiful job!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      The green, oeange, and black looks vibrant and elegant at the same time. Well done! You're inspiring me!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Outstanding! I am so inspired. We're doing okay with furniture for our new home, but we're stuck on the bedroom. It'll get there. My son is the smart one in our family - he recently got some fabulous furniture on Craigslist for his apartment. Whew, did I say I'm inspired? Love this page, love your condo!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice and excellent lens.

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      Great job decorating your condo! Everything looks really beautiful.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Great job on this lens and decorating your condo. It looks fabulous! Blessed!

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Great job on the lens. I use Craigs list all the time.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      What a great job you did on such a small budget - I'm now sitting here looking around my small house and seeing the possibilities! ~~Another Angel Blessing for an outstanding lens~~

    • belinda342 profile image

      belinda342 5 years ago

      I love the fact that you showed us your finished rooms. I definitely picked up a few ideas I'll be using. Thank you!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Popping back in to sprinkle some angel dust here on this lens! :)

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Excellent, excellent, excellent!!! I absolutely love the rooms...they look fabulous! :)

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 5 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Fabulous job on the décor inspired by CraigsList! One of my favorite small projects was a 80's style glass table painted sort of an aqua color. Thank goodness it has a glass top. I painted it with a stone textured spray paint and love it. My daughter loves it too and wants to take it with her to her next home. Not gonna happen. :) Thanks for sharing your design success.

    • profile image

      tssfacts 5 years ago

      Great job indeed! You brought back many memories of my DIY home projects that I have done in the years past. I am amazed that you found these beautiful things and the price you paid all on Craiglist.

    • profile image

      trendydad 5 years ago

      great job on earning a Purple Star

    • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

      mistyblue75605 lm 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Craigs list is a great resource from getting really affordable home décor.

      Angel Blessings**

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      That'd truly creative to decorate your home from items on craigslist! Original!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      This is amazing! I've never even used Craigs list! I am obviously missing some really great things there.

    • profile image

      EnjoyLens 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thank your for sharing!

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Nicely done! Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      Spectresoft 5 years ago

      Well done! I wish I had that talent...my décor is pretty lame lol

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      You are very talented. d

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      You sure got a lot of bang for your buck! Congrats on your purple star.

    • Kathryn Beach profile image

      Kathryn Wallace 5 years ago from Greenbank, WA, USA

      I love following your "thinking" - for me, the process is important. Lovely home even though our tastes differ. By the way, I would put "doors for the entertainment unit" on the top of the priority list....

    • profile image

      dessertlover 5 years ago

      Awesome finds here! And you did a fabulous job of renovating them to look amazing!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      love your selected furniture. blessings and congratulations for winning the purple star.

    • profile image

      wecomparebooks 5 years ago

      I love Craigslist!!!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Shhhh... you let the cat out of the bag with the Craig's List tip - now it will be even harder to score on those great finds! (just kidding) As a devoted Craig's list shopper, I'm always amazed at how many people have never looked at what can be found there - truly a great place to find or recycle treasures! I really enjoyed your decorating story and photos.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 5 years ago from USA

      Very inspirational lens! You are obviously talented, and it shows that you enjoyed working on your home improvement project!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      You can get some excellent deals on Craigs List. You have to use your head, of course.

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 5 years ago

      Wow! This was absolutely amazing. I'm decorating our home right now and never once thought about Craigs List. I'm definitely checking it out now!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What an interesting idea! I may have to look deeper into craigslist...

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Reading your page was almost like relaxing with my favorite HGTV shows. Very enjoyable following along in your decorating experience. Well done.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I think we are definitely kindred spirits. :) Love your transformations and budget accountability. I adore Craigslist for buying and selling. And thank you too, for the shout out above. I'm honored. Can't wait to read more of your lenses.

    • katlovestrouble profile image

      katlovestrouble 5 years ago

      Oh, I almost forgot..."high Five". My favorite part of your lens was the clear and easy to understand instructions. The photos were beautiful too!

    • katlovestrouble profile image

      katlovestrouble 5 years ago

      The orange table behind the sofa really brings the room together. Great ideas and exceptional work too. Your explanations and instructions made me feel like I was chatting with a friend. Thanks for sharing!