How I Saved Money Furnishing Home With Upcycled Pieces: Mistakes, Tips

Look out for listings that use words like “vintage, “classic” or “loved.” Those are how I found some of my biggest scores, like a dining table that I amped up with primer, paint, and gold detailing.

The author’s pre-owned dining table before and after she revamped it.

Michelle Gross


One of the first pieces I found when starting this process was a gorgeous dining room table for $75 on Facebook Marketplace. The seller described the table as vintage, but in great condition.

She said she bought it at a flea market in Brooklyn three years ago for over $500, but when I went to pick it up, I realized that its excessive scuffs, marks, and chipping would require a lot of work.

Still, I loved the table and saw its potential.

There are a couple of things you can do if you find yourself in the same situation. You can just cut your losses and walk away, or if the condition isn’t what you expected or wasn’t disclosed, you can ask the seller if they’d be willing to negotiate. Of course, they can always say no. But if you think you can salvage it, you might be able to walk away with a better deal.

In this case, the table needed a little TLC. After a fresh coat of primer, new paint, and a little gold appliqué on the details, I gave this vintage beauty queen a new life in my dining room, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

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