I was a teenager the first time someone told me I had an addictive personality, and I didn’t know what it meant. “Oh!” I said brightly. “Meaning people find me addictive?” I was picturing myself as this alluring, magnetic creature. “NO,” they shot back rudely. “It just means that you get addicted to things very fast.”
It wasn’t the last time anyone said that to me, and I have to admit, they have all been correct. When I start getting addicted to ANYTHING, I feel this pentup, excited, nervous energy coursing through my blood, like there is a happy little person is in my brain hopping up and down on the spot shouting more more more “MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE OF THIS”. It’s at the back of my mind always. (So many examples. The Sims. Chalk paint. Jamaica Blue walnut brownies. Marie Kondo. The other night, when Mr Nerd taught me how to play Blackjack, then dragged me away from the table once my eyes got the crazy gleam. Forbrydelsen. Work. Pinterest. Manhattan Nest. Words with Friends. Coffee. SNES Battle. etc).
One of my latest addictions is Facebook Marketplace. (“MORE MORE MORE,” shrieks my inner crazy). It’s like Gumtree but better, to be honest. Firstly, a lot of things in the homewares realm tend to be priced cheaper than they would on Gumtree, with some people just offloading stuff for very little or even free. Also, with the ability to check out a seller’s public profile, I like to think you have a lesser chance of going out to a stranger’s house and them being an axe-wielding maniac (I hope).
Similar to image-sharing platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, Marketplace is predominantly image-focused, making it more visually pleasing and fun to browse. This is a feature that I also think makes it pretty effective if you want to make a sale. One of my friends was telling me how she listed three items on Gumtree for a week with no bites; on Facebook Marketplace they were gone within the day, one within 20 minutes.
While I think the userface could be improved in some ways, on the whole Facebook Marketplace is great – particularly if you’re decorating a house. There are so many furniture and homewares bargains to be had. Sure, some of it has that scary “did someone die in this armchair” vibe, but it’s all about envisioning (and maybe re-upholstering).
There’s a LOT of cool secondhand furniture, art and homewares – and a lot of bargains. Especially at the moment, with a whole lot of people going KonMari-mad after binge-watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix show Tidying Up during the New Year break. (You might have seen my Instagram, I definitely went a little Konmari nutty). Something might not spark joy for you; but it sure as hell can spark joy for someone else browsing Facebook Marketplace.
HOWEVER. We now have a six-month-old in our midst and I’m only working part-time (essentially in naps and at night, ugh. Which as you can imagine isn’t the most conducive set-up).
Ok, so I’m not exactly broke (that was me getting your attention with my click-baity title, and you’re here so clearly I succeeded) however, we are pretty much a one-income family at the moment and are trying to be more careful with our spending, so we’re on a bit of a budget. Also, to be honest, I have everything I want, really. Our not-huge house is full; I wouldn’t mind swapping Mr Nerd’s bedside table for one with more storage, but at present, furniture-wise there’s really nothing I neeeeed.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t fun to just look! Sometimes even when I’m just on Facebook, things on Marketplace pop up on my feed and I can’t resist an idle browse; the same way I scroll realestate.com without the aim of buying a weatherboard cottage in the Blue Mountains.
One of my friends who shares my fondness for online bargain hunting is Nelly Reffet, an interior designer at Twinkle and Whistle. Nelly’s signature style of interiors caught my eye long ago when I first saw them online – what I liked about them is that she relishes the challenge of finding vintage and secondhand things and making them work, in both her own home and her clients.
And man, Nelly is the Facebook Marketplace QUEEN. She regularly texts me things like, “Look at this *insert any covetable MCM design* chair/table I got from Facebook Marketplace.”
I gape in awe.
“FOR FREE,” she continues.
“Master,” I moan.
She also puts my bargain hunting to shame. When I text her things I like, she’s usually like, “It’s pretty! But too expensive.” She is brutal. She is the Facebook Marketplace equivalent of that friend everyone has where you ask them hopefully what they thought of that guy you liked and she’d be like, “Yeaaaah…… you can do better.”
So when I thought of writing a fun story on things I’d buy on Facebook Marketplace if I wasn’t on a budget and had a few big houses to decorate, naturally asking Nelly to join in was the second thing that came to mind. She was keen. “What I like is that we can show people that we can get super cool-looking interiors without breaking the bank, without resorting to Kmart or big stores, and we recycle things too, so it’s much better for the environment,” she said to me. “Plus, people are Marie Kondo-ing their lives, and Facebook market is becoming the source of all good things that spark joy!”
So here’s our pick of what’s out on the Perth Facebook Marketplace at the moment – what we’d nab, and also, Nelly’s awesome guides on how she’d style some pieces and in what kind of setting to get a great look for less. “Certain items are more than we would personally pay – but they are beautiful and were available at the time of putting this together,” says Nelly. “But I always think when it comes to buying secondhand online, the best deals are usually made by being patient. I set myself a price I don’t want to go over, and I wait… the concept of Slow Decorating is key to cheap deals!”
So here are our picks! Look, Nelly doesn’t agree with all of mine, but hey, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, right? Enjoy.
(Also, if you’re looking for an interior designer to help you pull your own curated, individual look together, I recommend Nelly regularly. You can contact her via twinkleandwhistle.com or check out her Insta @nelly_reffet).
The item that sparked this post. I so badly wanted this linen cupboard. And it’s $20. Do I have any room for it, anywhere? No. Do I need it? No. Do I love it? Yes. It’s such a pretty shape and colour. I could see it in a children’s room.
Oh I love this. And what I love about it is that the light rattan sides and back would help disguise any ugly under-desk computer stuff, cords etc, but they don’t weigh the piece down and make it look heavy. If your study/home office is open-plan with the rest of the house, it’s a desk that would add to your home’s style, not detract from it. It’s beautiful and $450 is decent for something like this.
I think this is cute. It’s a nice cane, not a yucky blah orange-y cane. I see it in a bedroom with a little white fluffy throw against crisp white walls, or with a colourful pillow and an oversized plant or a little mother-in-laws tongue. OR I’d have it outside on a (protected) deck with a little side table. I’d also reupholster the pink cushion. Nelly thinks it is too expensive, but she is brutal. I like it though. It will look great on the veranda of my Colonial mansion in Sri Lanka when I have one.
INTERIORS THEME: BOHO CHIC
“Think plush, weathered sofas you want to collapse in, bold patterns and a few shimmering touches for a casual and fun place to call home,” says Nelly, who loves the vibe travertine tables like these add to a room. “Real marble and travertine will never go totally out of fashion,” she says. “If they do, don’t worry, they will still remain cool!”
GET THE LOOK
Rug (as an aside, Marketplace can be a great place to find beautiful secondhand rugs)
Total budget: $1,710
I love a drinks trolley or a butler’s cart and I would have one in every room if I could. This one has a sort of daintiness about it that is quite pretty. I’d restore it or maybe even paint. (Is that bad?)
RUSSELL WOODARD SPUN FIBREGLASS VINTAGE CHAIRS $275
At $275, they’re not such a bargain that I’d cry tears of joy, however, it’s worth it. For a) these chairs are stunning and b) They look like they are in great nick, and c) for that price you could buy two new chairs or two awesome vintage pieces that you could sell again down the track without them losing their value. They’d look so good on a patio or veranda against an old rendered wall or in a black/white/themed garden setting.
INTERIORS THEME: AUSTRALIANA
Here’s a nod to a more simple life in our country. “We’re so globally focused these days that we forget the natural beauty Australia has to offer and how inspiring its landscapes and colours are,” says Nelly, who is French-born but now an Australian citizen. The kangaroo chairs are a little kitschy, but cute in their own way. We can picture one of them in a kids room at a cute desk (see the school desk coming up).
GET THE LOOK
Total budget: $180
I cannot go past beautiful brown or camel-coloured leather couches. My sister-in-law has this Freedom couch and it is such a nice modern shape and is also long and comfy enough to have been the recipient of many a nap. $1500 is a decent price too.
ANTIQUE 1904 LONDON MARBLE TABLE $350
This is expensive (for Facebook Marketplace) but it IS a beautiful piece and in great nick. If you had an old house and a large kitchen it would work in there or even in a large hallway as a very pretty drop zone.
My love of an old painting knows no bounds, it appears. My husband would hate them, but these are cute, and c’mon, $5, people. I think I’m drawn to paintings because at one point you can tell that someone put so much time and love into them. I think my fave is the one of the mountains with the haphazard-looking cabin and the unnaturally blue water.
REGENCY STYLE BUFFET SIDEBOARD $450
From what I can tell in the photos, this looks in good nick, although they say it is veneer. I do love walnut anything though – it’s such a nice versatile timber colour and I love the front detailing on this, and the legs. I’d have it in a dining room or even behind a sofa or against a wall in a really large living room.
VINTAGE FLIP SCHOOL TABLE $150
A nice easy DIY project (sand the top, sage green or duck egg blue legs?) and in a kids room – if our kids room were larger I would nab this.
INTERIORS THEME: DESIGNER-INSPIRED
Nelly and I share a massive design crush on Arent & Pyke. Seriously, they can do no wrong. Everything they do is individual and eclectic yet cool and pulled-together. They are not afraid of colour, or taking risks that I think a lot of people – even other designers – would be afraid of. “When I first saw their Bronte beach house, I fell massively in love with the living room they had created, and it’s been haunting my visual brain – in the best way possible – ever since,” says Nelly. “So when I stumbled across a FREE armchair on Marketplace the other day that vaguely resembles that grey beauty in their design, my heart raced a little bit. Oh the opportunity! Sure the free armchair will need to be reupholstered (which is lucky for me since my hubby is an upholsterer and is just about to start his business and needs a few pieces to redo to get his portfolio started), and it is not the same as the beautiful designer one from Arent & Pyke. But still, it is testament that we can get a bit of a designer look, on a budget, without resorting to flat pack and Kmart.”
GET THE LOOK
Total budget: $995
Simply put, seller. You call a spade a spade. I like it. And sure, this book shelf is simple and basic, but something about the top is cute, and it’s $10. I’d buy this in a second, give it a bit of paint (I’m thinking spearmint or yellow, something fun) and use it in a kids room or hallway with a cute trailing plant on the top. I used to collect bookcases the way some people collect shoes. When I moved out of homeI realised I had nine bookcases through my parents home. I do give away books regularly, but there’s still some I just can’t part with.
INTERIORS THEME: TROPICAL COOL
This look is 70s and 80s glam with a hint of Bali about it, and these Casala chairs are the biggest bargain of the lot.
Bamboo dining table
Vintage bird ceramics
Total budget: $355
This is pretty and would be lovely in a light and white coastal home. I’d lean it against the top of a sideboard or buffet in the dining room with a white sculpture or little framed picture in front and a Boston fern or something next to it.
Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure my in-laws have this exact same wall cupboard that was passed down to them. It’s not a classic designer piece but it’s well-made and sturdy. For $75, if I were a first home buyer again and furnishing say a cute mid-century cottage, I’d snap this up for storage and fill the side panels with books.
“Curves curves curves! And pink, soft velvet. A definitely feminine twist on Art Deco,” says Nelly.
Total budget: $710
TWO JARRAH AUSTRALIAN MID-CENTURY CHAIRS $100
Something about these chairs makes me think of two old grandfatherly types, sitting in their chairs and laughing over some inside joke. I think just one would be cool in a living room teamed with a more modern sofa. They have a nice solid shape and you could reupholster the pillows.
Given its $170 it’s probably not hugely off the retail price (I’m not sure, you’d have to check) but this would add a bit of warmth to a bedroom corner or kids room at a desk. Yep I really am a sucker for brown leather anything.
It looks solid, it’s a nice wood (although could also be pretty with the back painted, I like its tongue and groove look) and for some reason it reminds me of a fireplace surround, a little quirky.
“The 80s were not for the faint-hearted,” says Nelly. “It called for strong patterns, bright, contrasting colours, and a rather playful take on furniture design. You couldn’t quite be neutral or minimalist in the 80s.” But elements of the 80s are coming back, and if you like the look, here are Nelly’s picks.
GET THE LOOK
Curved Sofa + Ottoman
Total Budget: $1,069
For four chairs for $20, I’d run there. These are cute; I’d probably spray paint black or mint and have them around a round table or an old farmhouse table.
This is a little different to the usual and the handle is a nice feature, a little good-weird. I’d get it in a heartbeat if it weren’t too low for our tall bed!
Have you ever bought anything awesome on Facebook Marketplace? Maya x