I Bought Something Off Craigslist and Didn’t Get Killed By an Axe Murderer

I feel like there are two things that the Internet community at large is so blase about, and that I have never personally been comfortably with. (Which is weird, right? Because I’m personally comfortably making an ass out of myself by singing on camera and posting it to the entire Internet, but dammed if Craigslist doesn’t freak me out.)

So yes, the first thing on that list is buying or selling things on Craigslist. (The second is buying things from Ikea… something I talk about a lot, but have never actually done. Which is not at all relevant to this post.)

Let’s talk about Craigslist and living in the middle of nowhere for a second, okay? I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m pretty sure that going to random strangers houses or inviting them over to your own is how you end up in a garbage bag buried in someones back yard after they used an axe to hack you into fifty tiny pieces. Maybe that’s just my girl-living-alone-in-the-middle-0f-nowhere neuroses– because I didn’t used to think this way when I was sleeping next to a big bearded dude– but I’ll tell you what… I’m 100% comfortable with the security of my house and where I live, but I’ll be dammed if I still don’t sleep with a gun under my pillow every night.

Still… personal neuroses aside, back when I did a little furniture re-arranging for the holiday party, I realized I needed a good round table for the kitchen, and I didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a new one.


Which brought me to Craigslist.


I found a 48″ solid oak table (and four chairs), which is basically just what I was looking for, for a mere $200. I even posted it on Facebook so you guys could weigh in on whether or not is was a good purhcase.


Reviews were mixed, but I’ll tell you what the deciding factors were.

  1. This table reminds me of the one my grandmother has had in her house forever
  2. I planned to spend about $200-250 just on chairs for the office, but I had a feeling a couple of the chairs from this set would work perfectly with a little paint. (So for what I would have spent on two chairs I’m getting four chairs and a table.)
  3. I have a fair amount of people coming over to the house this weekend to learn how to make homemade pasta, and tables and chairs are in high demand

So I decided to risk potential death-by-axe and go pick this baby up. Of course, as it turns out, the people selling this table were fantastically normal, and they had a pretty awesome view.


I actually rented a small U-Haul trailer for $20 because I’m a slacker and haven’t bought myself a pickup yet. Or even just my own trailer. So total cost for this baby was $220.


And it fits in the room just the way I want it to. It doesn’t have a leaf, but that’s okay. Obviously the oak isn’t my color (even though it currently matches the walls in the kitchen rather nicely) but I’m going to sand it down (lord knows I haven’t spent enough time with the sanders lately), distress it a bit, go with a darker stain, and maybe a little glazing.

Two of the chairs are going to be painted a nice teal green for the office and I’ll find homes for the other two somewhere else, but I’ll definitely be buying something different for the kitchen long term. I’m still loving all of the Industry West chairs, so we’ll see what strikes my fancy when the time comes.

Also, I really need to paint the wood in this kitchen. Like now. But I’m having people over to make homemade pasta first…

63 Responses

  1. You’re going to paint the wood in the kitchen? Which wood? All of it, or part?

    1. I am going to paint the wood in the kitchen… all of it. (While it would look great in a cabin up north, it is completely disconnected and out of place in this house.)

      I’m going to start with the paneling though, and hit the cabinets later. Then a new floor, and new counters, before this baby’s done!

      1. Wow. That’s quite an undertaking. For me, it would be. I know you can knock it out of the park. Good luck with the stairs/beer challenge.

      2. You could always just leave the ceiling unpainted…with everything else being painted like the cabinets and walls, new floor, backsplash…wood will look nice!

  2. I think I had that exact same table and chair set through grad school! It had been a family friend’s for many years until she redid her kitchen. Now it’s been living with my sister for the last four years. Hope you find it as sturdy, and the chairs as comfortable, as we did!

  3. Home made pasta for the win!

    My Fiancé sold a bunch of stuff on craigslist when he cleaned out his parents old basement and we found that 99% of the time the people were pretty normal. I always went with him just in case (because a 100 pound girl is great security, clearly). We met one or two crazies, but mostly normal. Good find on the table I’d say!

  4. I found a bar height pub table on Craig’s List for $20 – that was my best find. 🙂 I also sold a car, a couple of cell phones and some motorcycle bags on Craig’s List. I think with anything it is taking precautions that keep someone safe. Great find!

  5. I had a question. Do you have any tutorials or links to help me with repainting kitchen cabinets, the right way? We just bought a house and the previous owners painted a “dirt wash” over a cream on them and it is chipping badly. Not to mention that I hate the look of the wash. I am going to keep them the cream base, but have never taken on such a big project and want to do it right. I can send pics if you need them. Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Ah… good question. I don’t have one myself, but if you google it a bunch come up. I’m pretty sure Young House Love did a pretty extensive one when they painted their kitchen a while back. I remember thinking… I do not have nearly that much patience so I’ll probably break out the sprayer for mine!

      1. Thanks. That looks like a great tutorial…and I have now made the decision to wait until spring/summer to undertake it. Better to do the sanding and painting outdoors. And a sprayer may come in handy. The hubby has been wanting one. Thanks.

    1. With the sheer force of my stubbornness… as usual. (Actually the top comes off of the base so it was pretty easy to move, actually.)

  6. We were *just* having this convo about creepy Craig’s List this past weekend. I have some stuff I’d like to sell or even barter, but….

  7. Can we talked for a minute about how ticked I am to be missing homemade pasta day/night?!?!

    Can we start planning v2 now?

    BTW, I am scared s&*#-less by Craislist, but have purchased from IKEA, so can help you get over that one.

  8. I see pictures of your kitchen, giggle and say to myself got wood? Sorry! I couldn’t resist. I can’t wait to see how you improve it with paint.

  9. That last picture really shows how much wood you have in that room. It’s a great blank slate, though. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  10. I’ve seen you drool over metal chairs more than once now and if you’ve already been pointed at these then you can ignore this. But if you haven’t maybe this will help your bank account cuz it sure as hell helped mine.

    I bought these (http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/White-Tabouret-Stacking-Chairs-Set-of-4/5095636/product.html) metal chairs almost a year ago now and they’re awesome. I looked at a lot of metal chairs before try these out and I was completely surprised by them. No ass sliding, big enough to to seat the common midwestern rear and although the label says not to I stand on these all the time and they’re solid. They come in white, red, black and lime green and you get FOUR for under $200. When I ordered them I really thought they were going to be shit, but they aren’t. If you go with these check them when they come for paint chips, if there are any send the ones with chips back and get replacements. Other reviews said the company was good about that. Since mine where white I just touched up the chips in the paint cuz I’m a rebel (really its cuz I’m lazy).

    1. Hi,

      De-lurking to say that I have that same set of overstock chairs in black and I love them. They’re sooo much cheaper than their counterparts from other stores, and delivery is free.

      They have armless versions, too, and I regret not going for the armless kind. The armless chairs have a higher back, which I like, but they also push under the table further. My dining area is kind of narrow so I wish the chairs could get further in there.

      Enjoy the new-to-you table and whatever chairs you choose! Also, great blog! Found you through your stair challenge with UDH and have spent waaaaay too much time getting caught up on all of your history since then. So good to see another lady who isn’t afraid of the big tools!

    2. Four for under $200 is a great deal… I’m just not sure about the colors right now (although I’m definitely not opposed to breaking out a can of spray paint. Thanks for the recommendation!

  11. Since I already chimed in on your craigslist purchase, I might as well give you another obnoxious opinion: I’m sure you can think of something better to do with that wood than just paint it all.

    Walls, ok.. but why not add some beams and stain to the ceiling? You’ve got a chance to add in some cool details and contrast here.

    This is nothing fancy (or stained) but here’s the general style I’m talking about:


    1. I definitely like the style of that house (if you have seen pictures of the memorial house, it was similar in look and feel) but it’s not the look I’m going for in this kitchen. It would be one thing if just the ceiling was wood– even then it wouldn’t be the right look for this house, but I’d be more likely to consider it– but personally it would bother me to have the same wood paneling on the walls and ceiling, and some of it’s painted and some of it’s stained. (Also, I love big hefty structural beams– timberframe is totally my jam–but constructed beams that are obviously just decorative kind of make my eye twitch.)

      I haven’t spent a lot of time laying out my vision for the kitchen for everyone, so I don’t mind a few opinions, but I’ve got a very clear vision for this room, and usually when that’s the case nothing will change my mind!

  12. I don’t know how you have the energy to open a can of Ravioli much less make homemade pasta. My daughter furnished her apartment in D.C. With Craigslist finds and even had a couple of dates with someone who was selling his Grandmothers furniture. (The grandmother had a penthouse at the Watergate). DC has the greatest stuff and I still look at CL even though she has long since moved! I wouldn’t want her selling stuff from her house though, too risky!

    After you strip the table you might consider bleaching the wood prior to staining it. The wood bleach subdues the stripe-ness of the oak and the stain will be more even. I learned the hard way ànd until I corrected it, my table looked like a tiger.

  13. Well, I too basically live it the middle of nowhere and kind of part-time in Spokane and I can’t even begin to list all of the awesome things I have bought and sold in both locations over the last fours years since I discovered Craig’s List. And I have never had even one uncomfortble experience.

    I basically renovated three apts in my Victorian with sinks, molding, flooring, applicances, you name it. I bought a brand new vintage-look toliet and an antique pedestal sink for less than $100. I couldn’t have done half of what I did if I had paid full price. And then I turned around and sold all the shit I had removed. I also drove across the state and bought my Toyota Tundra off CL, Lets see – what else? I’ve sold everything from vintage cans, furniture, tires, applicances, a shower door, my Mom’s old tupperware,you name it.

    So honestly, it may sound scary, but most people are just trying to make a buck on stuff they have laying around taking up space. I have also rented vacation homes and its the only place I’ve ever had to advertised my rentals.

    Once you get a few good deals it becomes addictive. And you could be selling lots of stuff you’e tearing out of there to make money to do your projects. I don’t watch TV so at night I go to Facebook, DIY Diva, Rolling Stone, and Craig’s List. You just never know what you will find!

    1. That’s crazy! You’re like a craigslist veteran. I imagine it can get addictive, but luckily I don’t have enough finished spaces to go on a furniture buying rampage… yet.

      1. There is MUCH MUCH more useful stuff on there than furnture. Also sold an old Ford 8N tractor and all the implements on there. Really you should at least troll once in awhile. A friend got a $1500 Pottery Barn couch for $100. I sold some antique pocket doors for $500! Its the only way I can afford anything since I retired!

    1. I’ve never bought anything from Ikea! Isn’t that crazy? But honestly this is the first time in 3 years I’ve had a house that was finished enough to require furniture, so maybe not that crazy.

      1. Everything that everyone I know has gotten at Ikea eventually just falls apart. Small gadgets and organizatinal stuff aside, its fine if you’re looking for something temporary and cheap, otherwise…

        1. As much as I love Ikea, I do agree with you on large furniture purchases. Ikea is not the place to go for high quality, long-lasting furniture. But the organization and gadgets win me over every time!

      2. I love IKEA stuff, but unless you pay for the more expensive pieces, the furniture is basically what you paid for it. That being said, if you use your own fasteners rather than theirs, it may prolong their stuff considerably. My bed was great, but it gave out at the connectors.

  14. Wow! This is a post that begs for a couple of comments.

    1. Great table for an awesome price. I bought that set when I bought my first house in 1991. Still have it; on my 3rd set of chairs and ready to paint it RED.

    2. As AWESOME as you are with power tools you could certainly make a leaf for that table if inspired. Or because they were sold by the thousands in the 90s I bet someone has one for sale on Craigslist. 🙂

    3. The Craigslist rules for single gals: a) NEVER go alone to a meet/sale; a hulking bearded man is always handy to have around for security and pack mule purposes. b)If you are selling something small/portable meet in a very public place, for us it is usually Wal-Mart or Starbucks.

    I love reading your blog! I can barely hang a picture straight but, you give me hope. 🙂

    Sand on,

  15. I am also scared of Craiglist. But my brother is a pro at it. He is also a big burley guy that occasionly has a beard so he isn’t scared of much!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ikea. The closest one to me is over 4 hours away but my mom and I make a pilgrimage every so often!

  16. I have to agree with Chris, leave the ceiling alone or add additional beams. I have the same ceiling in our family room, everyone walks in and says wow, it also helps their 14′ cathedral ceilings, but very cool. As for Craigslist I have bought and sold probably 100 items from Craigslist with no problems, well there was that one time I bought 2 matching side chairs from a couple “ladies” I use the term loosely, we’ll call them “Pat” and “Sam” and I had to go into their old MI style basement to get them and they couldn’t help due to their “back” issues…lets just say I wasn’t thinking straight at the time and it wasn’t until the ride home I realized how absolutely retarded I was to do that!

      1. With 3 boarded up houses on the block you’d think I would have been a little leery…but a deals a deal and I’m all about reuse/repurpose/recycle, especially if wood is involved.

  17. Literally every time I buy something off of Craigslist I thank the person for not being a weirdo. No joke. I even went way out in the boonies to meet a man called chicken Bob to get rabbits without telling my husband (who’s a sex crimes/homicide detective) because I knew he wouldn’t want me going. I’m fiercely independent most of the time.

    1. Wait, I’m sorry… you drove out to the middle of nowhere to buy rabbits from a man named Chicken Bob? I mean, if there was ever a formula for axe murder it would be: lives in the boonies + lures unsuspecting victims in with fuzzy animals + is named CHICKEN BOB.

      You’re a lucky, lucky woman!

        1. Chicken Bob was a good man. His rabbits were not so good. I gave them back to him free of charge. He gave me a dozen eggs and a stack of fliers to hand out to promote his poultry business.

  18. Craigslist is the shit. Single girl in DC, have furnished my apartment 3 times over with CL finds, a lakehouse, a condo and now, a townhouse. Have common sense about it, but no need to be scared. Everything I get sick of? I craigslist. Everything I ever wanted? Is somewhere out there on craigslist. I watched Craigslist Joe on Netflix and I agree with the film-maker – CL has restored my faith in humanity. I’ve got stories for days about how great CL is!!!!

  19. I’ve used Freecycle sometimes. The only problem I’ve had is people who make appointments and don’t show up. Those I then embarrass by posting their email addresses back on Freecycle so other people don’t get inconvenienced either.

  20. Joining the club of have not CL’d or Ikea’d – that table is identical to one I grew up with – then my father gave it away…to someone who needed a table. Don’t come much sturdier for sure. Looking forward to seeing the painted woodwork in kitchen…how are those stairs coming along?! Cherring you on!

  21. CL is awesome. Just take along the gun from under your pillow and no worries! 🙂
    Seriously, it’s really no different than buying at a garage sale or from the want ads in the paper!
    Have you considered maybe a whitewash on all that wood in the kitchen?
    Wood conditioner is also supposed to be good for reducing the wood grain in bare wood.

  22. I too have also been scared to use Craigslist – however I’m in the process of remodeling my kitchen and could not stand the thought of tossing out perfectly good Oak kitchen cabinets, laminate countertops, sink, faucet and a few appliances that family members wanted. I waited until after the cabinets were removed from the home and stacked in my garage before posting them online. They sold within 28 hours of posting them to the first person who was able to come pick them up and the leftover appliances sold within 6 hours. Not too bad for a first time user – oh, did I forget to mention I got full asking price!!

  23. I love CL. I have a table almost identical to that, got it free on Craigslist. here’s what I did to mine: http://toughkittypuffs.blogspot.com/2011/12/table-makeover.html I left the leaf in, my kitchen space needed it.

    I sold my condo on Craigslist. Hilarious – I was waiting for new carpet to be installed in the bedroom before I put it on the market. I had taken pictures of the other rooms, everything ready to go, then I though, what the hell and created a nice ad. I didn’t even get sign up in the window! The woman who bought the place from me said she’d been wanting to buy in the neighborhood but all other places were really not move-in ready and ours was perfect. Sold it for full price minus a commission. So that’s my craigslist story. CL is just full of normal people like us who are trying to get rid of their stuff!

  24. I love Craigslist but I’m never quick enough to get what I want. However, several times I have posted on my personal Facebook page about looking for a particular item and had someone give it to me. I even asked if anyone knew where I could find some cheap oars and within 2 hours a friend of mine was standing at my door delivering two very old, very dirty wooden canoe oars (and they are AWESOME). Another time I got a couch, love seat and chair for my kids playroom by asking on FB if anyone was getting rid of furniture. Luckily I’ve never paid a dime for any of it 😉

    I really want to go check out Chicken Bob’s rabbits. I am incredibly curious about what a man named Chicken Bob looks like….

    1. 5’4″, slightly over weight, glasses, a ring of white hair, walked with a limp, and had extremely swollen arthritic hands. Probably late 50’s early 60’s. I could take him 😉

  25. Love the table, it looks like it’s made for that kitchen. I go see stuff from Kijiji all the time. (Kijiji is similar to Craigslist)but I usually have my husband-to-be with me, a big burly kind of guy…
    Hopefully you won’t paint “all” the wood and leave some natural?

  26. $200? I wouldn’t have paid that for that table on Craigslist. Here, near Philadelphia, the same exact tables go for $40-$100 (and we’re not in the middle of nowhere). But, as long as it’s in good shape….

    I have scored numerous times with Craigslist deals. The best so far was a gigantic antique hutch which I bought for $10 and since it was too big to fit in the back of a pickup, I paid $10 more for it to be delivered right into my house. I wallpapered the back (that was the only ugly part of it) and it’s now a huge statement piece. The trick to going to pick stuff up from strangers on Craigslist? Bring a former Marine along with ya.

    I also love IKEA stuff, especially because most of the furniture is made surprisingly well, and because you can customize nearly everything. I’m proud of you for giving Craigslist a try! But you don’t know what you’re missing by not shopping at IKEA!

    One last thing, please don’t paint the ceiling wood. Paint the paneling and cabinets, I agree, but that wood ceiling is gorgeous! And it fits perfectly in that old farmhouse.

  27. Kit you need to watch the documentary Craigslist Joe. It is about a guy who travels the country and lives only off of items/services/housing for free off of craigslist and the kindness of strangers. It was really inspiring. They have it on Netflix. I have used craigslist several times and it is addicting.

  28. Love the post title! I can relate. I bought my table saw, planer, and router off Craigslist and always took one of my sons with me ( security blanket plus muscle) and always told someone where I was going!!! Paranoid? Maybe….but I feel better.

  29. Since you’ve never shopped at Ikea, you should definitely go get the showroom experience. But what nobody’s mentioned is the magic that happens with Craigslist + Ikea! People post Ikea things by their names, you know exactly what you’re getting, and you get it reduced. And as a DIY’er, make sure you hit up the “As Is” section at Ikea.

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