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The Room that Craiglist and Yard Sales Built

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I've written before about how to Save Money with Yard Sales. I decided it's about time to put my money with my fingers were typing ("money where you mouth is" doesn't translate nearly as well as in blogging). With few exceptions most of the following things in the two pictures below were bought second-hand. Other major savings were due to Amazon Friday Sales or plain old bargain sleuthing.

The room I'm going to show off is our living room. When we moved a few months ago, my wife saw this area and thought it would be an ideal place to entertain a few guests while enjoying a nice bottle of wine. That's exactly what we set out to do.

Let's start with the first picture:
[When looking at these pictures, it is worth noting that things could be more tidy. (Note to my wife: Honey, I tried to make things look as presentable as possible.)]

Bargain Room - Left Side


  • Wine Cage/Rack - We found this in Craiglist for $300. Usually, you can bargain someone down on Craigslist, but in this case we didn't even try. We considered to instantly be the center of this living area. After we agreed to buy it, we found out it was handmade as a wedding gift, but the couple just moved into a home with a whole wine cellar. Some have said that such a cage would normally cost over $1000.
  • Grape Pictures on the Wall - These were $2 each at a yard sale. They are fill the wall space well and keep with the wine theme.
  • Shelving of Spirits - A lot of the liquor here was brought home from vacations at duty-free shops. For instance, bringing rum back from Barbados is fairly cheap for the quality. Much of the glassware is from the aforementioned Amazon Friday Sale.
  • Rice Paper Floor Lamp - That's a Target Special
  • Chair and Ottoman - We got two of these (see other picture) for $80 in cash at an estate sale. They don't match the modern look of the sofa that you see in the foreground, but they are quite possibly the most comfortable chairs in the world. You can see how the legs are ornately carved in this picture (it's more obvious in the second picture).

Now, we'll go into the second picture:

Bargain Room - Right Side


  • Glass Coffee Table - This was a Craigslist find. It's from Pottery Barn originally. At $200 it was half-price of what it cost in the store. Later, we found a nearly identical looking table at Ikea for less money, which kind of hurt. However, ours has tempered glass, which made us feel better after seeing a report that dozens (or hundreds or thousands, I can't remember) of people are injured falling through glass coffee tables. The tempered glass is much, much safer.
  • Mirror Above the Fireplace - I bought a nearly identical mirror to this for a friend's wedding gift. That was $200 at Pottery Barn, this was $40 at the same yard sale as the Grape Pictures above.
  • Wedding Photo Book - This is a book designed by Snapfish. Our wedding photographer gave us a $1500 flat-rate for just the digital pictures. So while some people pay $5000 for wedding photographers and packages, we were able to print out a decent quality book for around $75. Plus if there's ever a fire in our home, we can have a copy sent to us on the cheap.
  • Candle Holder/Stand - I picked these up for $4 each at a yard sale about 6 years ago. My mother actually suggested I get them, and went as far as painting them to make them look nice and new. For 5 years, I heard my wife complain about where to put them in our previous places, but they finally a home here.
  • Small Champagne Candles on the Fireplace - We got a pack of 12 of these at the same yard sale as the mirror and the grape pictures for about $3.
  • Puppy - It's worth mentioning that we specifically chose not to invest a lot of money into something that he can destroy. He's pretty strong, but nothing he can do is going to dent the wine cage. As a side note, puppy the priciest thing in the picture (given the on-going maintenance costs like food, etc), but he's also the most priceless. That makes him by far the best value of anything in either picture.

There are a few things in the second photo that I didn't address. Many of them are things that my wife had for a long time (the tea set, the curtains, the painting reprint, the stand with the lamp). The things on the stand are wedding gifts with the exception of the lamp which was also a cheap Target purchase (I'd estimate at under $15).

I suppose it's not one of those lavish rooms that you on the HGTV, but we think it gets the job done at a price that doesn't break the bank.

Posted on February 16, 2010.

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24 Responses to “The Room that Craiglist and Yard Sales Built”

  1. I’m impressed and glad that you did the Pottery Barn thing without actually buying from Pottery Barn. My only criticism is that you let the dog on the furniture. Our two labs have easy lives but they do not perch on human furniture. Take charge, Lazy Man!

  2. Lazy Man says:

    Unfortunately our home is filled with human furniture. We have a little dog furniture, but considering he is 1/3 of the family it seemed like a cheaper solution to allow him use of the human future than purchase a considerable amount of dog furniture.

    I’m joking there…

    We have picked the battles that are important to us (no counter surfing for example). We didn’t pick battles with behavior that isn’t detrimental to us. Having him next to me while watching television is actually a benefit.

    It’s our first dog and maybe down the line we’ll run into some reason to keep him off of furniture (unless someone can tell me why here).

  3. Austin says:

    I love this post title and that wine rack is amazing!

    How did you haul everything around?

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

    • Lazy Man says:

      My wife has a decent size SUV from before we met. The wine rack fit by about 3 inches. The chairs required a couple of trips, but the yard sale was close. Everything else wasn’t that big.

  4. Tiffan says:

    I wish I could have that great luck myself! I keep checking Craigslist and such for some cheap new furniture (I’m really hurting for a new desk and bookcase) but there isn’t anything worthwhile in my area.

    As for the dog on the furniture, we let our puppy sleep on the sofa as well. We have to vacuum more because of it, but we’re considering new living room furniture that dog hair won’t stick to as much (maybe splurging on leather, or just a fabric the hair won’t stick to as much). Dog beds are so expensive so we can’t get one for every room. We were extremely lucky and got the right size for my dog (80lbs) for only $10 on clearance, but I see them often for $40 or more.

  5. Andy Hough says:

    Looks Nice! This shows you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a nice living area.

  6. Hazzard says:

    LOL.
    Spoken by a true dog lover. Rooms look good. I’m always amazed at the amount of money some people will spend to decorate their homes. As you point out, a little creativity and a little time can get the job done WAY cheaper and look just as good! Now go get your buddy a dog treat! :)
    Hazzard

  7. I’m about ten dogs ahead of you. Reasons to keep dogs off furniture: smell, loose fur, claws (don’t ever get leather furniture if you don’t have a trained “no furniture” dog), and the number one reason: boundaries. You have to be the alpha in all respects. There has to be territory that is exclusively yours. I have a good friend that has to keep old sheets and blankets on every sofa, chair, and bed in their house, because their older dog never had proper boundaries set. I enjoy having our labs next to me also: curled up at my feet on the floor.

  8. Damn. People pay 5 grand for wedding photos? I’m thinking ours were $500-$1000. We didn’t get the digital pics, but got to keep all the proofs and got quite a few photos for that price.

    Photographer was a friend of mother-in-law. Sort of a hobbyist, but quite good. Well worth the price.

    Again, this is Iowa, where prices to tend to be lower :)

  9. I love Lazy Man’s house. His dog is crazy friendly. And they make good food over there. :) Nice pix of your stuff man! When I first saw that wine rack, I could NOT believe he got it off Craigslist. Then again, you would not believe I got my dining set from there either.

  10. Money Beagle says:

    Nice work! We’re going to be finishing off our basement in the next couple of years and I’m hoping to furnish and outfit it in similar fashion rather than running out and buying everything brand new.

  11. Kmom says:

    I love the room… and the dog on the furniture (making it even more cozy and inviting). To me a dog on the furniture says they feel welcome. Even with my two other dogs, I really missed when my Great Dane got too arthritic to sit on the couch next to me and miss her even more now that’s she’s gone. I know people who don’t believe dogs should be in the house. I know people who don’t let their dogs on the furniture… that is their choice, as is the choice to let my dogs on the furniture. To each his own!

  12. Frugal Babe says:

    Most of our stuff is second-hand too. Craigslist is my favorite website :) We shop at thrift stores and yard sales… it all allows us to have much nicer stuff than we would have if we had to buy everything new. Plus, second-hand is the ultimate green choice. Your living room looks great!

  13. Bucksome says:

    I found your living room tour interesting and the room is very charming (especially puppy).

    The wine rack is great and what a bargain!

    We just bought our first big purchases from Craigslist last month (a gently used dryer) and like you recommend it as a shopping venue.

  14. Mrs. Money says:

    Wow, looks great!

    Bad puppy! lol

  15. RJ Weiss says:

    Enjoyed the post.

    I recently just moved in to a house. After not having any furniture besides the trusted college futon, I have been able buy quality items very Craigslist or at outlet stores. It’s amazing what’s out there. They key is to remain patient.

  16. Mrs. Frugal says:

    Great job, the room looks great! We’re using the same methods to build our nursery right now. We got a crib and mattress for $60 off Craigslist. Buying new would have cost closer to $400.

    And about your puppy…we have three and there’s no keeping them off the sofa and chairs. Our big dog waits until we leave the house before he lounges on the furniture but knows to get down before we get home. But he’s not great at covering up the evidence. Gotta love ’em though!

  17. E_Gregious says:

    I’ve bought lots of furniture on CL. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    Copy and paste the whole listing into an email, because if the seller takes it down it is gone. I do this for things I’m just considering so I can find it again.

    Be very careful about furniture being sold new for low prices, especially mattresses or upholstered furniture. You don’t want to spend a couple hundred on something with a frame made of cardboard, or a fumigated mattress.

    Make a laugh list for the used furniture that people are asking WAAAY too much money for. There are some crazy deluded people out there!

    When buying baby furniture, be sure you know the safety regs and make sure the used furniture is safe and up to date.

    Chat with the seller as they are often selling other stuff or may be in the future. I have bought things from sellers that way, and was given a cool folk art table once.

    Don’t overlook freecycle, either. For one, it is a good place to get rid of your excess worn out sofa that no one would buy, and also to find some random crazy deals.

  18. Pam2cats says:

    Lovely room. Would just like to add that pets are more important than furniture. If you don’t believe that – don’t have any pets. As for wedding photos (it was a long time ago) we had a couple of friends take snapshots (point-and-shoot I guess they are called now) and we paid for film and developing:)Putting hundreds of dollars in photos is not an investment.Just a debt. Marriage is more important than wedding. And only “new” things I buy are electronics (tv,pc,etc)

  19. Rachel says:

    Not loving the jab at your wedding photographer. A professionally designed and printed wedding album is expensive for a reason.

    • Lazy Man says:

      It wasn’t a jab at our photographer, it was praise for him. It was a jab at the photographers that tried to get us to $5000 for a product that not significantly better than the one we able to put together ourselves for a lot less. I’ve seen some of the $1000 wedding books that come with the $5000 photographers and they are indeed great, but the picture quality in the book is exactly the same to my and my wife’s eyes. The paper quality is better, but it burns in a fire like any other paper. I’d really hate to have a spill or stain on a $1000 book, but our Snapfish one is a lot easier to replace. It’s also easier to get copies for the parents which is signficant when you’ve got three sets of them (one set of divorced parents).

      As I found with many things in the wedding industry, the “reason” why things are expensive is that the vendor can pull on the heartstrings with the line, “You only get married once! You might as well do it right!” We saw costs for nearly every vendor skyrocket whenever we mentioned the word “wedding.”

  20. Ely says:

    I agree, pups are the best value! We have 2 and they are worth every penny and then some.

    Nearly everything in our house came from Craigslist, thrift stores, yard sales, or discount outlets. Everything else was probably bought on sale. I get 90% of my clothes from clothing exchange parties. You don’t need to spend a lot to have decent, functional stuff and you rarely have to buy new.

  21. Pam2cats says:

    To anyone who thinks pets are tough on furniture – just wait until you have kids!

  22. Polo says:

    Yeah that dog seem enjoy the sofa…, love the room thought…

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