How to Shop Craigslist for Furniture, Lighting and More

The editorial staff at is no different than any other edit group – we’re a bunch of nerdy word geeks who find bad grammar, misspelling and misusage hysterically funny. We’re also a handy bunch who regularly scours Craigslist for old relics to reinvent. So you could imagine our delight when we find unintentional creative spellings while perusing the web for upcycle gold. We go giddy over things like “Wayne’s coating,” the various ways to spell ottoman — such as automan and “oddamin — “rot iron (black metal), “chester drawers (sounds like a cartoon character from furniture land), “armwar (a big cabinet to store clothes), and the very lethal, “slay bed.” The lesson? If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try searching with some creative spelling, and you might hit the jackpot.

DIY ottoman

This “oddamin” was made from an old wooden spool and a wool blanket.

If you haven’t tried it before, repurposing and upcycling furniture and decor can be a blast. Start with the hunt – you never know what’s going to be at the next junk shop or the next page of search results. You’ll know that special piece when you see it, like a light bulb of creativity flicking on, and you’ll get so excited that you’ll want to start immediately.
table or desk can be a good starter project; they can be made out of so many things. When looking for a piece to turn into a table, the first (and probably the most obvious) thing to consider is the size of item. Is it the right height and width for your space? Will it fit in front of your sofa or next to your bed? (Coffee tables are normally 16” to 20” tall and nightstands are 24″ to 28” tall).  If it’s not a perfect fit, can it be cut down, lowered or raised up? Can it easily be painted? You may want to stay away from rusty metal, because it can take a lot of time and effort to properly prep it for paint. Consider storage too. It may look cool, but is it functional?
Upcycled lighting options are endless. The trick is to find an item that can be drilled and fitted for wiring. You may have to buy a special bit for your drill (like masonry or glass). But, it’ll probably be cheaper than buying a new lamp. You may want to practice on a test piece. For instance, if you want to make a lamp out of glass jug, do a few practice drills (yes, that is a pun) on some empty wine bottles.Speaking of wine bottles, they’re perfect upcycle fodder — chandeliers, memory jars, citronella torches (watch video below), centerpieces and more.  One of the best parts of wine bottle projects: getting together with friends to empty the bottles.

13 Responses

  1. Emran says:

    Nice post

  2. MarcioWilges says:

    I cannot imagine people not having the time to proof read an advertisement for furniture items from their house! If they are trying to declutter before a house removal, then I'm sure that they would want their items to be found in the listings and they've got to have proper spelling for that!

  3. Tony_Preston says:

    I love Craigslist for being just a wonderful virtual marketplace. Honestly if somebody is looking to buy something obscure, you'd probably be able to find someone who sells it! I bet you can probably even get garden fencing and picket fences if you're lucky too!

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  5. carrys says:

    craiglist is the great source for buying any old furniture and also new one. you shared an really useful info over here. I like this one.

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  12. Lois says:

    Thanks Jackie, for providing some interesting ideas. I think to find best match in Craiglist for furniture shopping purpose such ways will help me significantly. I just love this blog.


About Jackie McGilvray 


When I'm not pulling together great projects and inspiring ideas as editor of, I'm watching my two adorable boys play whatever sport is in season. Or I might be ...

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