Facebook Marketplace could be likened to an online garage sale. But since it has a search feature so you can look for specific things in addition to scrolling what's for sale nearby, you don’t have to waste gas or time driving around, following the neon "Yard Sale" posters only to come up empty handed.
The downside of this second-hand shopping method is that, unlike an old-fashioned stoop sale, you don’t get to see the goods in person or have a chance to inspect them until you go and pick them up. That doesn't stop top designers from trolling Facebook marketplace for key items.
Here, design experts share they nine items—from light fixtures that need some TLC to artwork from undiscovered geniuses—they frequently search for on their feed and buy from the social media marketplace, plus their tips on what to look for and what questions to ask before purchasing. Much like at a flea market, you never know what unexpected treasure you might
stumble, um, scroll, across.
Vintage Light Fixtures
From chandeliers and pendant lights to table lamps and floor lamps, there are so many lighting options on Marketplace, says Willow Wright, owner of Urban Redeux Vintage in Alexandria, Virginia. You can find unique fixtures at a fraction of the cost compared to buying new, adding warmth and ambiance to your living spaces, she says.
"Rewiring lamps is very inexpensive so sometimes I search 'needs rewiring' to find lamps that might not otherwise show up in my feed," Wright says.
Local lamp shops can rewire a lamp for you, which typically costs around $25 plus the cost of materials, which adds on another $10 to $15, she says. Rewiring a standard table or floor lamp is a pretty easy DIY task, though, that you can learn on how to do on YouTube, Wright points out.
More complicated vintage lamps or blanc de chine lamps will take an extra time and materials, and should cost under $100 to rewire, Wright says. Chandelier repair and restoration, though, would best be left to a professional and hung by a licensed electrician
Whether you're looking for paintings, prints, or sculptures, Marketplace can be a great place to find interesting pieces, Wright says.
"You can discover local artists or sellers who are downsizing their collection, allowing you to add some visual interest and personality to your space," she says.
Look for keywords like "original art," "signed prints,”" and "lithographs," she suggests.
Antique or vintage mirrors, decorative mirrors, or statement mirrors often pop up onto Facebook Marketplace when people are moving cross-country and don’t want to risk broken glass in their U-Haul. Before you bite, inquire about the size of the mirror to make sure it’s the right fit for your space.
"For vintage mirrors, be sure to ask about the quality of the glass, whether it's ready to hang, and the condition of the frame," Wright advises.
When people move, their rugs might not be a style or size fit for their new space, which means you can often find some great deals on Facebook Marketplace. Be sure to ask about pets, stains, when the last time it was cleaned, and whether it's machine or hand woven, Wright says. Before committing to buying, Wright suggests, get a good idea of how much a professional rug cleaning might be in your area. Here’s some more great places to buy vintage rugs online.
When kids go off to college or when retirees downsize, they often don’t need such big dining tables—so you’ll often find dining chairs listed on Marketplace, says Cape Cod, Massachusetts interior designer Molly McGinness of Molly McGinness Interior Design. Sets of four dining chairs are great for a game table and six or more can be perfect for a dining table.
"I recently saw a beautiful set of 8 Louis XVI style chairs for free as long as someone picked them up ASAP," McGinness says. "They would probably need to be reupholstered, but that would be a bargain when the job is done."
Plants and Planters
Picking up a discarded houseplant you spot on a curb is generally advised against because it could be harboring bugs, and that’s not the kind of BOGO you were hoping for. But on Facebook Marketplace, it's common for people to try and rehome their plants, in perfect condition, before a move.
"Many people may be willing to offer discounts for groupings of plants, and you'll also find some larger plants or small trees at reasonable prices," says Sarah Barnard, a Santa Monica, California interior designer.
As a bonus, Barnard says, plants will often be sold in their planters, making them ready to display with minimal effort.
Because some plants can be sensitive to new environments, she says, look for ones that are suitable for your space so they can thrive.
"Beyond their functionality, cookbooks are a great way to add color and texture to kitchen decor," says Barnard. Plus, some vintage cookbooks can instantly add character to your kitchen, she says.
When you're scouring Facebook Marketplace, look for items that have great bones and won't go out of style, like a French Bergère chair that may need to be reupholstered but has beautiful woodwork, says Nina Grauer, a designer with Dekay & Tate. These types of chairs are built with sturdy wood frames, and have upholstered backs and arms.
Grauer says she's also had luck finding rattan furniture and mid-century furniture on Facebook Marketplace. Even before you go to pick up an item and look for the maker’s signature, you can do some research by saving the listing image and popping into Google's image search feature.
Children's Furniture, Books, and Toys
Since kids grow out of things so quickly, Facebook Marketplace can be a goldmine for all kinds of items like changing tables, cribs, and strollers, says Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin. You can often find gently used items for half the cost (or less) of retail, she says. "You can also find fun throwback kid things like a collection of the Bernstein bears books or collectible toys," Low says.