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Find GOOD Furniture On Facebook Marketplace For Cheap (+ The Search Terms To Use)

OH BOY. Try this scenario on for size: it’s the weeklong stretch between Christmas and New Years. You’re enjoying some time off work and looking at your home with fresh eyes. With the New Year around the corner, you make a mental checklist of all the little tweaks and refreshes you’d like to knock out in 2022. SOUND FAMILIAR?

Well, if it does…HEY, ME TOO. And today, I want to show you how to fix your Facebook Marketplace so that you’ll actually see good stuff – you know, furniture that’s your taste! – so when the urge for a refresh strikes, you’ll have the entirety of your local vintage and antique listings at your fingertips. LET’S GO!

Commonwealth Tv Shot
photo by zeke ruelas | from: introducing my living room

You’re Luckier Than You Think

HEY, HEY, HEY. We’re going to shush that whole “easy for you to extoll the virtues of Facebook Marketplace when you live in a big city! There’s NOTHING good listed in my tiny town!” talk right now.

Because here’s the thing: sure, big cities do have a lot of variety. You know what else we have a lot of? Competition. And price gouging. There’s a reason that vintage dealers take big, empty cargo vans on buying trips to the so-called “middle of nowhere” – it’s because that’s where all the best, most affordable pieces are hiding. So pals, don’t lose faith!! We’re going to optimize that FB algorithm so your Marketplace feed is an actual collection of cheap, quality furniture and not, like, your neighbor’s random junk.

Get Familiar With The Lingo

When you can look for anything, how do you figure out what terms you should actually be entering into the search field? My solution is simple: spend some time building out your favorites on Chairish. (Here’s mine – lots of brass case goods, weird wrought iron chairs, and biomorphic shapes!)

Think of this less as a to-buy list and more as a way to hone the language around your taste. Take a peek at your favorites and make some notes around the words the vendor uses, both in the title and in the description. For me, a quick glance at my own favorites reveals that I have a huge preference for pieces from the 1960s or 1970s and all things regency (Palm Beach, Hollywood, French – it’s all good to me). These are both great jumping-off points for getting into the Facebook search weeds!

home of allison pierce | styling by velinda hellen & erik staalberg | photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: working with what you’ve got – an $8k budget kitchen makeover with a lot of vintage charm

Start Saving Everything

Alright, here’s the real secret: to optimize what Marketplace shows you, you’re going to need to save EVERYTHING that strikes your fancy. It doesn’t matter what you’re actually in the market for – if the algorithm serves up a piece that’s to your taste, you need to reward it with your engagement. Once Marketplace starts to learn your tastes, it’ll get smarter over time, I promise. To speed up the process, try to scroll through all your recommended pieces at least once a day. (To quote Kendall from Succession: “go nut nut.”)

Keep in mind that when it comes to the pieces you’re saving, close enough is good enough. In my case, here’s a super fairly-priced 1970s mint velvet wingback chair that I saved yesterday. Do I have any desire to, you know, buy it? Nah. But do I want FB to continue to show me affordable, colorful, weird upholstered chairs from the 70s? YES.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: our favorite and design-friendly ways to display family photos (so that your home and family look their best)

Search By Descriptor

This is my all-time favorite vintage-buying hack and I can’t believe we aren’t talking about it ALL. THE. TIME. Before we jump into some more specific search terms, let’s take a second to break down some of the words and phrases that I’m looking up daily…

  • Grandma or grandmother: As in “this was my grandmother’s” – these pieces are almost always in the best condition.
  • Must go: Desperate times make for the best prices. This one is best towards the end of the month when folks are moving out of their rented properties.
  • Funky: I know that Emily isn’t the biggest fan of this word, but it’s GREAT for my FB Marketplace searches. (If your style is a little more classic or subdued, you can substitute “funky” for the descriptor of your choice – maybe “timeless” or “elegant”?
  • Vintage or antique or old: Oftentimes, I find that “old” is a treasure trove (literally) of men offloading family heirlooms.
  • Heavy: Furniture is one of those fun things where bigger (in this case, heavier) is unequivocally better.
  • SOLID: Yeah, in all caps, and in the title only – these are the BEST pieces to negotiate on because casual browsers read this as “SOLD” and scroll on by.
  • Cabriole or fringe or piping: Basically, think about the details of the piece you want to find and search for those. I’m going through a traditional phase, so these are top of mind for me. Your terms may be different based on your style! (Maybe you’ll go with “skirted” or “tufted”?)
photo by david tsay | from: styled

Search By Alternate Terms

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that, well, you probably already know the kind of piece you want to buy. Maybe it’s a coffee table or a set of armchairs – regardless, you should swap in a few bonus search terms and see what comes up.

  • For Armchairs: Try “upholstered chair,” “comfortable chair,” or “lounge chair.”
  • For Sofas: Try “couch,” “settee,” “loveseat,” “sectional,” “daybed,” and “bench.”
  • For Coffee Tables: Try “cocktail table,” “end table,” “side table,” “floor table,” and “small table.”
  • For Dining Tables: Try “dinning table” (yes, misspelled) or “kitchen table.”
  • For Credenzas: Try “sideboard,” “buffet,” “hutch,” “cabinet,” “TV stand,” or “media storage.”
  • For Dressers: Try “chest,” “commode,” (be warned: there will be some toilet aids), “armoire,” or “drawers.”

But wait – there’s more! We can get even MORE specific.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: the front room

Search By Material

This is when those Chairish favorites come in REAL handy. Is burl your thing? Or maybe some flame mahogany, instead? How about boucle or velvet or leather? Basically, there are five big categories for you to master.

  • Woods: Walnut, oak, hickory, teak, beech, maple, mahogany, cherry, or pine are great places to start. Full disclosure, though – if someone knows the type of wood their piece is made with, it’ll oftentimes be reflected in the price tag. You can’t beat a well-crafted piece of solid wood furniture, though!
  • Metals: Think chrome, brass, wrought iron, silver, gold, copper – what’s your favorite? See if there’s something out there!
  • Stone: Marble, terrazzo, cement, travertine. Sometimes even “stone” or “stone top” works if the seller isn’t confident in their own identification skills.
  • Other: This is the catch-all for lucite, acrylic, glass, plaster, or laminate.
  • Fabrics: Linen, velvet, microsuede, leather…the list goes on and on, and you’ll know what works best for your family. Another hot tip? Try searching by fabric maker or pattern – “Schumacher” and “chintz” are two of my go-tos.
photo by tessa neustadt | from: my house tour from good housekeeping

Search By Color

So simple, so underutilized. This is one of my favorite Craigslist hacks that translates well to FB Marketplace. When you have some time to dig and sort, simply type in some of the favorite colors for your home – my standard searches are for pink, green, orange, and blue. (If you’re feeling really ambitious, try getting more specific on the shade. We’re talking, like, “mint,” and “rose,” and “seafoam,” and all that jazz.)

Search By Year

When I have a lot of time, I just type in every decade from 1880 through 1980 and favorite everything that I’d want to show up in my feed in the future. When I don’t have a lot of time, I just combine the year with an actual search term, like “1970s bar cart.” (You know, like a normal person.)

design by ryann miller | styling by emily bowser | photos by sara ligorria-tramp | from: ryann’s moto reveal: a moody multi-functional living and dining room with a lot of soul

Search By Designer or Style

TBH, this is a great option for finding exactly what you want…but it comes with a cost. (Like, literally.) Here’s the thing – you’re always going to get a better deal from a vague listing than from someone who knows exactly what they have. Case in point: a few months ago, I found a pair of Sarreid nightstands AND a matching dresser for $50, INCLUDING DELIVERY. Y’all, let me tell you…I SCREAMED. This was a $6,000 find listed under the simple search term of “dresser.”

Buuuut it turns out that I, tragically, am not the only person who neurotically stalks Marketplace. After my brass dresser dream poster was slammed with messages, he re-listed the pieces at a much more appropriate price (about 5 grand, if I remember correctly) with the brand name. It’s a double-edged sword – it’s great and quick to find what you need, but you’re sacrificing cost for ease. At the end of the day, my wallet prefers the vague searches.

If you’re determined to try some brands and styles, though, here are a few worth typing into that search bar…

  • If Your Style Leans Traditional: “Hendredon,” “Herendon” (we love a typo!), “Ralph Lauren,” “Louis XV,” “Gustavian,” “French,” “Venetian,” “Rococo,” “Chinoiserie, and “Federal.”
  • If Your Style Leans Glam: “Baughman,” “Draper,” “Mastercraft,” “Springer,” “art deco,” “regency,” “campaign,” “Chippendale,” “lacquer”
  • If Your Style Leans Organic: “Breuer,” “Noguchi,” “boho,” “coastal,” “minimalist,” “rustic”
  • If Your Style Leans Mid-Century: “Knoll,” “Eames,” “Prouve,” “Broyhill,” “Drexel”
  • If Your Style Leans Modern: “Sottsass,” “van der Rohe,” “Kagan,” “contemporary,” “postmodern,” “Italian,” “Bauhaus,” “Memphis”

This is by no means exhaustive, but they are search terms that I’ve personally had luck with.

Make a Combo

To that end, you now have a whole arsenal of terms to mix-and-match. Start broad to hone your algorithm – remember, save EVERYTHING that looks vaguely interesting – and then try pairing phrases and descriptions together. Maybe “old heavy metal table” will pull up the all-brass cocktail table of your dreams. Perhaps “antique stone commode” will bring you the perfect marble-topped entryway storage piece.

Combine terms, search, and save. Before you know it, the algorithm will start recommending similar pieces – based on aesthetics (isn’t the internet wild?) or based on the item’s description – and you’ll be able to snag those perfect picks for a song.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: staging my dream parisian hotel suite with sothebys

Check Other Items

When you DO find something interesting, make sure to do some exploring. First, open the seller’s profile in a new tab and see if they’ve listed anything else – I’ve found some great pieces this way. Next up, close that tab and return to your original page. Scroll down, look at all the similar finds, and click on anything that looks close to what you want. Again, we’re always trying to reward the algorithm for showing us what we want and we’re training it to get closer and closer every day. WIN/WIN, FRIENDS.

Change Your Radius Frequently

This is the weirdest part of the search that doesn’t really make any sense. When you’re poking around, you’re going to want to play with the search radius as different items WILL pop up. I usually have my radius set to 60 miles, but I’m shown a TOTALLY different swath of items when I switch it down to 20 miles.

No one I’ve talked to can really explain this, but play around. If you’re in a less populated area, the difference may not be as marked…but it’s worth giving it a try to get that deal, right?

design by velinda hellen & sara ligorria-tramp | from: 6 easy hacks from sara’s house

Timing Is Key

To no one’s surprise, most folks are listing items on the weekend. You’ll want to check daily (TBH, I often check once when I wake up and once before bed) but SO many great finds are listed on Saturday and Sunday. If you have any free time, try and pop the app open a few times over the weekend – if you’ve started to optimize what’s being shown to you, the “Just Listed” section may be filled with treasures.

Negotiate Nicely

And as always, go for the deal! I’d like to present to you the only phrase you need to know for haggling (in person, online, anywhere): “Do you happen to have any wiggle room on the price?”

About 80% of the time, you’ll get a deal. Sometimes, it may be worth it to buy the piece at full price. Oftentimes, it’s worth holding out for another. Know what you’re willing to pay and stick to your budget – the right piece at the right price will come along as long as you have some patience. Building a home is a marathon, not a sprint, after all 🙂

That’s it for me (for now) but please share ANY of your pro tips or recent successful finds in the comments. Collectively – with all your knowledge and learnings – I think we, as a team, can compile enough info to ALL earn our internet master’s degree in online vintage shopping. SHARE WITH THE CLASS, PLEASE. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Styling To Sell: How We Staged Our Dining Room And Kitchen (With The Changes I Should Have Done Years Ago!)

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2 years ago

“On a dumb level, I’d like my [Facebook Marketplace] to be off the hook.” -also Kendall.

2 years ago

Love the misspelled searches. Great info.

Loveley of @lovelyloveley
2 years ago

caitlin, these are one hundred spot ON.

2 years ago

What a FANTASTIC article! Already found some amazIng items with these tips.

2 years ago

Love this post! I am an avid marketplace hunter in the Twin Cities… in the last year I’ve found a Baughman etagere for $10 and a Togo sofa for FREE! I’ve found the best things go within literally minutes so I basically scroll every time I’m on my phone, but definitely some good tips here I plan to implement. Thanks!

2 years ago

This is sooo helpful! Thank you for sharing your hard-earned tips and techniques!

2 years ago

Yes, and h*ll yes! The only one I haven’t tried is changing the radius!

Very beautiful these decoration furniture. I loved this article.

2 years ago

Great article about finding furniture on the Facebook marketplace. Very good article.

2 years ago

Another fantastic article on this site. I loved the furniture. Excellent article.

Cynthia Gylov
2 years ago

One of my favorite posts! Soooo informative – thank you!

2 years ago

LOVE THIS!!!! I in very small town (800 people) 40 miles from a town of 150k LOL so our FB marketplace is pretty slim, but I’ve found some good stuff and cant wait to put this to use!

Crissy Perham
2 years ago

Love that you included “dinning”!! So many misspellings! Some current faves…”Rod Iron” and “Chester Drawers”. 😉 You never know what you’ll find!!

2 years ago
Reply to  Crissy Perham

Absolutely agree! “Rot iron” is another longtime fave…

Cris S.
2 years ago

I’ve been working on maximizing the algorithm thing. And it did work for me on one item, but boy, I have something else I’ve been looking for over months and months and twice I’ve missed out on the perfect thing. I have to just have faith that the one for me is still out there and on its way. But, as I’ve tried to explain to my mother, that its a buying game that lives both in the past and in the future. I have to wait for someone who bought something in the past I might love and hold out until they decide they don’t want it in the future and are ready to get rid of it in the present.

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

This is useful! I’m not looking for anything right now, but I used to search 1st Dibs and Chairish when I worked for Zillow and was looking to link people to products they found, liked, and posted on Zillow. If you are really into it, you can find and buy books on furniture history where you can identify and get very specific on the styles or designers you like. A lot of these books are used and not expensive. You learn a lot about the furniture, too, which might make it easier to spot authentic stuff online.

2 years ago

I hope the commenters who piled on with the overly dramatic hate for a few too many gift guides feel embarrassed now that we are back to these amazingly helpful design articles.

2 years ago

Caitlin! First of all, I’m so happy to hear that I’m not the only one checking FB Marketplace several times a day. My family makes fun of me for it, but I love the hunt. 😀 Second, the thing I find most frustrating is that you have to select “local pickup” or you’re bombarded with stuff that folks want to ship for a zillion dollars. Have you been able to find any kind of setting/hack to show local listings only – all the time?

2 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Sooo frustrating. Bc FB makes money on ads, I don’t think you can set it up for your own optimal experience.

2 years ago

LOVE this! Thank you so much! Still regularly visit your Craiglist search tips article for reminders and encouragement, and this one is getting bookmarked right alongside. It is *chef’s kiss* amazing!!!

Julie Tarman
2 years ago

Yes, this is really helpful – but I’ve been using marketplace a LOT lately (whole house reno!), and most people post almost nothing in their description / title. Like the title is “Delta faucet” and there’s no description at all, just one or two photos. I’ve scored some awesome stuff by being patient and looking frequently, but FB marketplace in Sacramento – at least for the things I’ve been in the market for – isn’t a real online store, with people carefully wording their listings, if you’re looking locally. Either people don’t know what they have or don’t take the time to list it carefully.

2 years ago

this is absolutely brilliant

2 years ago

We have bought so many beautiful items from Marketplace – furniture, decor, lamps, art, area rugs, etc. Some vintage and some almost new (like a month or two old) or new/never used (bought it and decided they don’t like the colour/size/style?). In fact, we are renovating our basement and it will be almost entirely furnished with Marketplace items – you just have to be patient and focused. Far too easy to get caught up in “this is a fantastic deal” mode! The best one, though, has to be an authentic vintage deep red Paolo Piva Aura leather chair in pristine condition – not one scratch on the leather. It was far more than I wanted to pay but I periodically checked back and the seller had finally reduced it to a very reasonable price – the exact chair is selling on 1st Dibs for over $6,200 and I got it for $500! You do have to act fast in our area though; I’ve missed more than a few great items that I knew were perfect but decided to think about it and they were gone in a heartbeat.

2 years ago

Such good tips! I just started using FB marketplace to furnish my house and this info is so helpful. I also have an unrelated question but the comments were locked on your post about wallpaper – could you send me Mark’s contact info? Also if you know any painters in the LA area I would appreciate a recommendation!

2 years ago

You can also set alerts for search terms so it will show you whats new in the search. Room and Board is one of my common ones. Lots of filtering to get a few amazing deals on stuff my kids can’t destroy.

2 years ago

I thought I’d try this. I was looking for chairs for a fictional character for a novel I’m writing. I looked for leather chairs and boom! Up popped two contenders for his fictional home. For $50 or $100, a fraction of what his designer would have charged him. One was even perfectly worn in. Good leather gets better with time.

2 years ago

I love helpful articles like this, especially when Caitlin writes them! How about one on how to sell your items too??

2 years ago

Such great tips! Thank you!

2 years ago

This is such a great post. I’ve been frustrated lately because I can’t find anything I like or any good deals on marketplace so I’m so happy to have some tips to get me out of my rut. I also agree with the other commenters about checking common misspellings. I’m from Montreal which is English/French bilingual and I usually have to search everything in both French and English, then all the synonyms and all the common misspellings.

2 years ago

I always look for furniture on the facebook marketplace and find really cool things.

2 years ago

Let’s follow these tips. Very good this article. Thanks.

2 years ago

Great tips! I’d 10x rather buy used/vintage than new.

Misspellings are definitely your friend. Searching “Chester Draws” (my personal fave) will yield a whole lot more good dresser options than you’d expect!

2 years ago

Excellent tips. Thank you!

2 years ago

I really like to buy through the Facebook marketplace. That’s why I liked these tips.

2 years ago

These are great tips – I just want to complain about Facebook Marketplace! Because they are focused on making money from ads, their features are quite frustrating, and they divert stuff away from craigslist, so you have to look in two places. Really makes me appreciate what craigslist did for all of us!

2 years ago

Hello! I love Facebook Marketplace! During Covid shutdown, this was almost the only way to furnish my new home! It is hit or miss! I looked every day for 6 months for the perfect nightstands, gave up and bought expensive new ones in a boutique store, only to find great options 2 weeks later on FB! Patience is really key!