Trolling Craigslist… New York City!

Trolling NYC

The amount of furniture I bought on Craigslist when I lived in New York was ridiculous. There aren’t really thrift stores there. I mean sure, there is Housing Works and Angel street, Council thrift .. etc, but they won’t come and get your garbage, and messengering it to them doesn’t really make sense, obviously. People in the rest of the country (aka, people with “cars”) don’t understand the annoyance of schlepping things in New York. Every day becomes an annoyance if you every buy anything. Cut to me, at 25 with literally 13 – 14 shopping bags on my person at all times as an assistant stylist. I one time even accidentally stole a bag at H and M because I tried it on (it was on sale for $4) and looked at the mirror and walked down to pay for it (we were going on vacation the next day so I needed it) but when I saw the line I said, ah, screw it. But I was wearing so many bags that I kinda just forgot that it was on, too, and I got practically arrested by the security guards. The head of security believed me that clearly I wasn’t going to risk my first offense on a $4 piece of garbage resort wear bag, but it was still so hilarious/amazing/embarassing.

Anyway, schlepping sucks so no one actually takes their used goods to thrift stores, they normally just leave on the street, I think. Despite the fact that so much fashion and style happens there, the thrift stores just really suck. I think because of that maybe more people sell stuff on Craigslist – to try to make it someone else’s problem. I bought virtually all of my furniture on CL in my late 20’s (I don’t think that CL existed before that because I’m very old now).

So here you go, New Yorkers. Start spreading the news:

Trolling CL NYC chairs

1. $45 Industrial school chairs Nothing amazing, but a cute shape/finish that can quirk up your boring kids playroom. Although don’t them chew on it (assuming that kids chew on most furniture like rabid dogs) because there is probably some lead paint there. But watch, there will be some study out next month that says that licking lead paint will cure autism or lead to larger calf muscles and a stronger wit. But for now, I recommend having your kids lick water based enamel paint.

2. $100 Lucite nesting tables This is a bit overpriced. Just make sure that its not super scratched or foggy. Sometimes I’m shocked at flea market dealers that try to sell used/damaged/totally beat up lucite for so much money. I mean, even if its a decent shape/style I don’t know how to get those scratches out without getting it professionally sanded which sounds VERY expensive, indeed, so its just going to always look like garbage. Learn from my mistake. Only buy vintage lucite if its in good condition.

3. $80 Chrome side chair Your shape is cute, your finish is not so therefore you follow one of my ‘what to buy and what to skip’ rules. But for $80 its definitely not a steal. It would be cute painted white with a vintage floral fabric seat – something kinda large scale, please, or maybe just some peach or emerald green velvet.

4. $50 Vintage bright green chair Ok, that green is bordering on insane, but what if its a big clean white loft with weird chandeliers and an antique persian rug, with weird antique baroque bust sculptures on midcentury credenzas and paired with a white bertoia chair and an arch lamp. So if you have those things (aka, if you are TOTALLY INSANE) please buy this chair. And then call me and I’ll fly you to LA to hang out with you because you must be awesome.

trolling cl nyc vintage couch

5. $75 Vintage sofa.  This will take a special person/event/restaurant/store to put the time, money and thought into this girl, but if done right she could be beautiful. You could do it in a saturated color, like at The Fig House, or go the opposite route and do it in a heather gray linen or a navy tweed. Tre Chic. I hope I never utter those two words again … tre puke … kill me.

6. $75 Authentic Bertoia chairs. Well i seriously doubt these are still available if they are actually bertoia chairs but sometimes people have been known to get rid of furniture for really cheap if they are just desperate and need to unload asap. I know I have (anybody come to my garage sale last year?). So if these are still available and if they are actually Bertoia chairs, then someone is having a very lucky day and you should also play the lottery. And then cut me in because I just changed your life. You are welcome.

trolling cl nyc chairs2

7. $75 Peacock chair A peacock chair is a hard sell in New York because of its size and crazy california style. You need a fairly big space to put this guy in your room because they are mainly decorative – its not like this is your TV-watching chair, unless you insist on sitting in a thrown, like Snoop Dogg.  But if you have the space (again, restauraunt? Bar? loft? Event space? Design studio?) then you are in luck. Put it in the corner with a white saarinen side table, some hanging plants and a lot of sunlight. Boom. A moment of weird just happened to your corner. This is an incredible peacock chair with a lot of detail/handwork for only $75.

8.$280 Saarinen + Eames chairs I love this saarinen chair and even though $280 is a lot, you don’t need to put any money into it so I think that its still a great deal for a classic. These bad boys are crazy comfortable, too. You could just sit and read this blog for hours and hours and hours. In fact they are so comfortable that you could probably go through your entire contact list, and call each person one by one and to tell them to read this blog. It may take hours but your back/posture and myself will thank you.

9. $150 Pair of MCM chairs Imagine these two chairs, reupholstered in a candy colored stripes sitting at two matching white powder coated desks. So cute. Although they are going to be $60 – $100 to reupholster so make sure you calculate that in before you buy them. Oh and at least 2 yards of fabric …

trolling cl nyc set of chairs

10. $300 Set of Thonet style chairs I LOVE these. Now thats a french word I like to say (I have no idea if thats actually french and googling it seems like WAYY too much work right now). Grab them, now. How cute around a little white saarinen table, right? And thats a great deal – $75 a pop which is cheaper than even ikea dining chairs.

11. $200 Pair of Wegner style chairs Cute. I can’t get enough of these and when you live in New York you especially want/love temporary furniture – aka furniture that you can fold up and store away when your guests are gone. Its a good hoard. Ask Jen Gotch.

trolling cl nyc table desk and lamp

12. $100 Mushroom Lamp Hey little mushroom lamp, how cute are you? Super cute, but with attitude. Like Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect. Put it on top of a midcentury credenza with a small collection of weird pottery and some art books (don’t worry you don’t actually have to read them to be cool, just own them) and boom, you just became interesting.

13. $240 Vintage dining set This photo is clearly not selling it, but its a pretty inexpensive set for a lot of style. I’m not freaking out. I’m not going to call my mom to tell her about this set. But clearly i’m blogging about it for some reason. I suppose its that to get a dining table and four chairs for $240 that have integrity and some style is something to blog home about.

14. $175 Mid Century desk Again, i’m probably not going to hire a private plane to sky write a love poem to this desk, but its pretty darn cute and good for this price. Its cheaper than a West Elm desk … and its just yours.

trolling cl nyc rocker and lamps

15. $300 Bamboo Rocker If this is an adult sized rocker I would buy this in a heartbeat. Its not that I would use it in the nursery, but having a secondary rocker that was super chic in the living room would be awesome. I had no idea how soothing and just overall wonderful rocking in a rocking chair is so if this was in LA I would probably snag it and put it in my living room so I could rock Charlie in every room.

16. $175 Pair of brass and wood lamps You guys, these are VERY good. They are simple, modern, smart, stylish, and masculine but with a bit of bling (like Orlando). Put some drum shades, or even better, some really severely tapered white shades (like an upside down V), put them on your nightstands, flank them on a credenza or flank them on your sofa and you have yourself some extremely high end looking lamps. But beware, lampshades cost more than gold … I buy my custom ones at either Practical Props in LA or Replacement Shades online.

17. $200 Rattan pouf Just get it. Albini very happy if you do. Get it? 5 years ago I bought one of these and called it a wicker pouf on my blog and Morgan from The Brick House called me out on it in the comments and I was like, ‘whoops, turns out studying comparative literature in college doesn’t really prepare you for having a design blog’. But then I left it at the studio where we shot the show and they left it outside and after 5 rainstorms was trashed and i was VERY sad and mad and had to check myself and remind myself that it wasn’t a baby that got left in the rain and trashed and that since nobody died its actually inappropriate to cry about an Albini pouf. But now I want one so bad again. There is on on CL in LA that i’ve been eyeing for a while but its $300 and its in the OC, both of which are a bit too much/far for me. So if you live in NYC and you like this pouf, just do yourself a favor and buy it. You can take it on the subway home.

Well, my planes about to land (hello, Portland) so I must go. But tell me where to troll next because i’m on a roll …

*print above from etsy

  1. Rae Ann

    Your writing style is so effortlessly hilarious. So enjoyable and as always informative.

  2. Ardis

    Thanks Emily!!I’ve been waiting patiently for NY for a while and you came through!I’m trying to get the Bertoia chairs today. I’ll be in LA the weekend of Mother’s Day if you want me to snag that pouf for you. Just let me know. I feel like I owe you a solid. I will not mark the price up. :-)

  3. SLG

    OMG I love those nesting lucite tables. But I also have a totally irrational fear of buying something that is about to go out of style. I am THIS CLOSE to getting tables like that from CB2 and I keep chickening out. Help me, Emily Henderson. You’re my only hope. Will lucite stick around for a while?

    • Emily

      Hmmm. i think they are so simple that they transition easily from style to style and therefore year to year. if they had a neon edge or a chevron pattern on them i’d say hold off (because of your fear condition) but these are just simple and easy.

      • SLG

        Hehe. Thanks for helping me with my condition. :-) I think I’ll have to take the plunge.

  4. Muoi

    Sacramento, CA please =)

  5. Ventura County California… ie Thousand Oaks :)

  6. Julie

    Howabout Toronto?! Love these/all posts.

  7. Taryn

    Charlotte, NC! I can NEVER find anything and I want you to prove me wrong!

  8. Sandi

    Boston please! Also, any tips on searching craigslist would be appreciated. How do you find these gems?

  9. Lee

    Orlando, FL, please :-). Found your awesome website a week AFTER we moved back from LA. :-( I find even the other cities helpful though. Reminds me to look deep and give scary a chance. I recently bought an orange chair nearly exactly what Orlando bought for Jon but mine has a metal rocker base. Same scary orange fabric, tufts, and shape. My husband only agreed to purchase it after I showed him how Orlando’s turned out. That it was surprisingly comfortable and only $10 helped (I say surprising because we are both over 6ft and it’s rather small looking). :-P We also bought a 70’s brown pleather chair like that tan one you reupholstered in teal. Again, showed him what you did and we bought it for $25. And it turned out to be a most comfortable chair similar to his huge la-z-boy recliner we left behind when we moved to LA except it’s WAY cuter. So thanks for the time you both take to write these. (Sorry so long winded, husband says I overshare).

    • Emily

      Ahhh, thank you so much. I love hearing these stories – it seriously makes this job worth while. xx

  10. Aimee

    Anchorage, AK, I dare you! We do not have nice things up here! Luckily I can just live vicariously through your posts. :-)

  11. Tessa

    Oklahoma City!

  12. jo

    I love the trolling bits!!!
    I love to do this in my spare time, so relaxing for me and I feel like I find things that you would love all the time.
    Surprisingly Minneapolis/St. Paul has good stuff often and so does St. Louis!! I have sibs in those cities that are used to getting somewhat frantic emails from me about how they should go buy stuff or go buy it for me and then ship it to me in-NH– which is somewhat unreasonable!! Although, one time, my very organized older brother did ship an entire table and 4 chairs to me all bubble wrapped nice and neatly, via Greyhound Bus!! It was a couple years ago and I had a near heart attack when up popped a chinese chippendale rattan 5 piece dining set on CL for the bargain price of $100.00!!! I just had to have it!
    Anyway, I just love this part of your blog so….pick a city, any city….there’s always some treasure waiting to be discovered. I only wish I could CL hunt for hours everyday because I actually do not get tired of trolling!! ;-)

  13. violeta

    Boston Please!!

  14. Joanne

    LMFAO you crazy, awesome girl! And I NEED that Rocker! Happy weekend!

  15. Rebecca

    Baltimore! We will charm you.

  16. Megan

    Two weeks ago (right after your Detroit post), I bought 6 Thonet Cesca chairs with royal blue upholstered seats and backs for $200. They are so fun. Can’t wait to pair them with a nice white lengthy table for our new dining room convert to eat in kitchen. Thanks for your inspiration!

  17. Jennifer

    Birmingham, Alabama! We’re the Magic City!

    Incidentally, it is because of these posts that I tried to buy a peacock chair off CL. (It didn’t work out. I’m still sad about it.) My husband thought I was insane and telling him that it would make us more like Snoop strangely didn’t help. But I think our porch needs a little weird, so I’m still on the hunt. Love the blog!

  18. Erika

    I actually found my Franco Albini pouf at a thrift store for $5! Have used it every day since as a cocktail table by putting a round piece of glass on top.

  19. Kylie

    TROLL LINCOLN – NEBRASKA also known as the “thrifting hidden gem of the midwest” (I just made that up)

  20. Maddie

    It might be just an impossible challenge but I would love if you did Tallahassee, FL! I’m at college here and moving to a new place next year that could use some furniture lovin.

  21. stacy

    i’d love for you to do portland again as i’m moving there in 2 short weeks! ;) i wish you hadn’t done it already!

  22. Kate

    Thonet is German and you should definitely google the pronunciation-
    as a designer it wouldn’t be cool to be mispronouncing it and sounding all foolish…just sayin’

    • Rosie

      Go pack sand, Kate. There are many ways you could have worded that bit of “advice,” and you went with the nastiest. Good for you.

      • Lol. Susie, that was brilliant. I’m an English teacher, and I would still rather be real with my students and admit I’m not omniscient than feign perfection!

  23. Jolene

    Fun finds!! I assume you’re checking Portland since you’re there. There’s a pretty cool rattan canopy bed for an insane amount of money, but it’s fun to look at. Also a couple peacock chairs. Always fun to “shop” with you!

  24. mildrey

    Will you let us know how you are finding these!? I never seem to find anything so good. Are you just looking under the Furniture section?

  25. Daena

    Greetings Emily! When you have a moment, kindly share your experience with Replacement Lamp Shades. I’m considering using them & would like to know about their work/quality (sure it’s quality if you patronize them!). Ever consider a post (tutorial)on selecting lamp shades/custom shades/which fabrics to use? Of course, if you haven’t already!
    Best regards!

  26. Jenn

    Here’s a challenge: Craigslist Maine!

  27. Moya Miller

    How about giving Canada some love — would love to see you troll Toronto. I’d probably end up buying everything you recommend, turning my small apartment into an episode of hoarders. But it would be SO WORTH IT. :)

  28. What do you do with said Rattan poufs? The 2 that I have are dark brown and I don’t know where to put them! Help!! PS: Shout out to Charlie. Woop woop little dude. You are the cutest.

  29. LuAnn

    Washington, DC! And keep in mind that I really need a midcentury console for my TV and a dresser. And end tables for either side of my R&B Hutton sofa. Thanks!

  30. Euniece

    Philly next please:)

  31. Bridget

    Syracuse, NY please!!:)

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  34. Jessica

    Dallas, TX. please! Love, love, love your blog and funny way of communicating design principles (seemingly effortlessly), which so many of us find interesting but effort-ful and a bit daunting when it comes to making the ideas into reality. Love your sweet little blossoming family posts, too. Keep up the amazing work.

  35. patty blaettler

    Ok: 2 things. Your ‘boss’ Target has a surprisingly good array of lampshades at fair prices for us regular people.

    Those nesting lucite or glass tables…my husband stole one out of our living room to use as a printer stand. One printer is under, and one printer is on top. So clever, it just disappears!

  36. Rachael

    I got the same exact chair in #15 in a thrift store here in Switzerland for 25 bucks. I think you should visit thrift stores here. Rich people throwing away gold…

  37. Kelly

    Please troll Montreal!

  38. Ah, I would love that rocking chair and the wicker pouf — oh sorry, Albini Rattan pouf ;). These posts always want me to get back into trolling craigslist. You find the best stuff!

  39. SarahZ

    I found an Albini pouf on CL for $25! Seller didn’t even know what he had, and I didn’t dare tell him… didn’t want him to re-neg on the sale! I felt like I won the internet that day.

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  41. Elizabeth

    Hello Emily,

    Housing Works does pick up! Appointments can be made by calling 888-493-6628 or making an appointment on their website. I am the online equivalent of a “long time listener, first time caller,” and love what you have to say and share, but in this one instance the wrong info is out there about an organization raising money. Forgive me, my husband works for housing works (also a devoted fan) and would be heartbroken to read this post. Housing Works has great thrift stores and an even better mission. And they LOVE YOU!

  42. Megan

    East Bay Area of San Francisco- Oakland, San Leandro, etc.


  43. If you do Phoenix AZ I will probably buy everything you find! :)

  44. Leia

    The fear of getting so,etching with bed bugs is too great! Being that I know 2 people that it’s happened to (bought/found used furniture and cause a bed bug epidemic) it’s not that unlikely!

  45. Jennipher

    Girl, I love you, but your homophone typos crack me up(e.g. thrown instead of throne, and my favorite mid-evil instead of medieval). Thanks for a great round up and would love to see one for one of the Dakotas – North or South, you pick!

  46. Ashley

    Tampa, FL please!

  47. I second Vanessa’s request. Also, forget love poems. I’m MARRYING that MCM desk. Will you break the news to Ikea?

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  53. Chelsea

    ATLANTA, Emily. Atlanta. All the stuff here on CL is buttttt ugly. Moving in a month and need some CL beauties to materialize stat.

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