I'm no pro, but I have painted and sold enough refinished furniture to have learned a thing or two about what will sell and what will sit. So here goes...
- Be Picky with your Pieces: Pick pieces of furniture to refinish that are versatile. Not everyone has room in an entryway for a table, but if you refinish a piece that could be used as an entryway table or a sofa table you double your chances of selling it. The same thing goes for a buffet which could be also be used as an entryway table in one home or a TV console in another.
- Accent Pieces Rule: Certain pieces of furniture are going to be tougher to sell than others. A dresser, for example, is a piece that many people already have because it's an essential piece of furniture. It will be tougher to sell a stand alone dresser - especially one that has been painted and doesn't "go" with their pre-existing bedroom decor. But accent pieces are pieces that add character, charm, color, and storage to a home's decor. They're non-essentials which means someone will have to fall in love with it to buy it - but since it's something they won't already have, they're not actually faced with replacing one piece for another.
- Keep it Neutral: Painting in neutral tones means you will keep your potential pool of buyers as large as possible. Painting something a bold color - while it may be a beautiful piece - eliminates a huge segment of people who, for example, don't like blue or green just doesn't go with their decor.
- Or...Keep it Red: I have found that red furniture is very popular - and sells fast. For some reason that pop of color is easier to incorporate into a home than other bold colors like green, blue, or yellow. I once painted a table blue and it sat and sat and sat. I reduced the price and sat and sat and sat. I repainted it red and it sold in a flash - higher than the original asking price.
- Buy Cheap, Sell Cheap: The less you pay, the more you make. If you buy inexpensive, but good quality items at yard sales, thrift shops or craigslist when you refinish them for resale, you can still sell them cheap and make a nice profit. I purchased a set (more on the benefits of sets below) of nightstands at a yard sale for $15. I refinished them and sold them for $100 which was still a steal for the buyer. Because I purchased them at such a low price, I was still able to make a nice profit while keeping the sale price attractive to buyers.
- Sets Sell...FAST: Buying a set will always sell faster than a single item. There are two sides of a bed, there are two ends of a couch, there are four sides of a table. A set is more attractive to a buyer because it's complete and they don't need to find a match. A set doesn't always have to be exactly the same - although it's ideal if it is. If you find two very similar pieces, or say four mis-matched kitchen table chairs, repainting them all the same will make them appear as a uniformed set.
- Stage to Sell: Once the piece is refinished, only half the battle is over. Now comes the challenge of selling it for a profit. Let me ask you this? Which of these would you be more likely to buy? It's the same piece...in the same state....just in a different setting.
If you stage your items to sell, potential buyers have an easier time of seeing the beauty AND function the piece will bring to their home. Add simple elements - like baskets, greenery, trays, and candles - to enhance the piece and show how it can be used to add storage, style, and charm to a home.
- Take Good Pictures: Take the extra time and effort to take good
pictures of your item for sale. Good lighting and a nice setting do
wonders for a piece. Instead of taking pictures in your garage, move
the piece into your home and set it up in a sunny spot where you get
good natural light. Take lots of pictures from all angles and distances
so you can show the detail in the piece. If possible, use a high
quality camera, rather than your phone to take the pictures. Sure, it's
easier to whip out your iPhone and then post directly to craiglists,
but you likely won't get as great a quality picture as you will with a
better camera where you can play with settings and exposures.
- Include Extras: If your piece has an obvious spot for a basket or two it will help to sell if it you include the basket. Buyers may not want to have to go shopping for a basket to fit a piece of furniture they may not need in the first place, but if you include it all the work is done for them. It's an added expense on the seller's end, but your piece will sell faster and for a higher price if you include it. Same goes for lamps - sell with a shade and they won't stick around for long.
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