I'm convinced that the secret to finding good stuff on Craigslist for super cheap is to look for the worst ads. "Faux bamboo" and "Hollywood Regency" are descriptions that are going to run the price up, because that means the seller knows a little something about what they're selling. No, you want the ad with the blurry picture, the table taken apart and propped against a wall, and the copy "Coffee table. $10. Need gone ASAP" That's how you score on Craigslist.
I didn't even bother asking questions (size, condition, etc) before I went to pick it up because I knew I could easily paint it white and resell it. In fact, that was the plan (because I wanted an ottoman, remember?). Before I left I even showed the boyfriend Elisa from What the Vita's transformation of a similar faux bamboo coffee table from blah to beautiful with a few coats of white paint.
It's not in perfect condition - mostly just scuff marks and places where the finish has worn away. Here's a close-up of the legs:
|Love the black and brass contrast.|
Firstly, it's a glass table and I have a five year old golfer at home. There was a good chance it wouldn't last through the night. Also, I was so set on the ottoman - I bought the perfect fabric ages ago and have been saving up pennies to buy a massive amount of foam. Ottomans are much more "us" than delicate glass-topped faux bamboo coffee tables. And it smelled of smoke.
Oh, man, did it stink.
Up until now I've had the great fortune of not buying stinky used furniture. So, I wasn't sure what to do. I mixed up a solution of 50% vinegar and 50% water and wiped it down a couple of times a day for a few days. I also set out a bowl of vinegar underneath the table to "soak up" some more of the smell. It sounds like it wouldn't work - but it did. At first, the vinegar smell (lovely in its own right) seemed to be only masking the cingarette stench, but after a few days the table was smelling perfectly normal. (And yes, I'm still regularly bending over and sniffing my coffee table - no pictures, thank you.) So that's my tip of the day. You can also dust the product with baking soda, but I figured that would be pretty messy.
So what to do with the ikat fabric that perfectly matches my color scheme? I have an old rattan table and stools with a glass top that I (big surprise) bought off of Craigslist last year with the idea of painting a fun color. Which has never happened.