$0-50 / $100-500 / $50-100 / New to You

New To You: Great Used Finds in the SF Bay Area

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I’ve been hearing a lot over the past few weeks about how bad the economy is, and I’ve heard loud and clear from my readers that you want green items that are more affordable. I’m listening, guys, and your requests have spawned a new feature here at Green Your Decor: New To You.

Each week, I will pick a city or metro area on Craigslist and post a couple of great deals on used furniture that appears to be in good condition. Since buying used is as green as green gets, they will also satisfy my need to present eco-friendly home decor options. If I have any inspiration for ways to modify or rehab this furniture, I’ll include those ideas too.

This week, I am profiling the San Francisco Bay Area. It seemed only natural, since sustainability is a way of life there, and I have so many readers in California. So here are today’s used deals:

1. West Elm Coffee Table

West Elm Coffee Table - Used

This coffee table has great modern lines and storage underneath. I’m a huge fan of dark wook in almost any case, but what I specifically like about this piece is the fact that you can clearly see the wood grain showing through the dark stain. The seller doesn’t say what the original price was, but if the prices of West Elm’s current tables are any indication, it likely cost at least 2 or 3 what the seller is asking for it now.

  • Price: Asking $100
  • Location: Oakland North/Temescal, CA

2. Antique Victorian Sofa

Antique Victorian Sofa

If you’re thinking “That sofa is hideous,” you’d be right, because it is pretty ugly the way it is now. But I am seeing it for what it could be. The ridiculous green velvet upholstery is really, really dated. But can you imagine how beautiful this sofa would be if it were covered in a beautiful black and white damask or a fabulous nature-inspired pattern from Amenity? All this sofa needs is some good reupholstering. If you really feel like pushing it, the wood could be painted black, white or any other color that matches your decor (in low- or no-VOC paint, of course) With a little love, it could be the centerpiece of a beautiful living room.

3. IKEA Galant Corner Desk

IKEA Galant Corner Desk - Used

If you’re like me and working between two computers, you will appreciate the ample workspace this desk offers. I’m not a big fan of desks pushed into a corner, because I hate the idea of looking at a wall while I work, but if you have the space, corner desks can always be positioned so they are looking out into a room. This desk is sold in several pieces, and from my calculations, the original price with all the pieces was $260. Add to that the fact that you don’t have to assemble it yourself, and this desk is a steal.

  • Price: Asking $100
  • Location: San Francisco financial district

4. Sage Armchair

Armchair - Used

I love cushy, comfortable armchairs — the kind you can curl up in to read a good book or fall asleep in on a lazy afternoon. Unfortunately, this one comes with some cat scratches on one side. But at $20, you can afford to have it reupholstered or to get a throw blanket to hang over that side of the chair. It has a great transitional style, so it would work well with traditional or contemporary decor, and the neutral light sage green color is a plus.

5. IKEA Cabinets

IKEA Cabinets

If you’re hurting for storage space in almost any room, these would be a great investment. They look to be in like-new condition, and they’d be great in a kitchen, bathroom, living room or bedroom. Two matching cabinets are available. I can picture it used as a TV stand in the living room, with all the peripherals (DVD player, came consoles, cable box, etc.) hidden away inside the cabinet, with the lower shelves used to store movies, games, books, etc. They could also work as freestanding storage in a kitchen or dining room.

6. Vintage Tandem Shell Seating

Vintage Tandem Eames-Style Chairs - Used

I know, I know…these chairs would be completely impractical in most home environments. But I couldn’t resist featuring this row of awesome 60’s-era, Eames-style chairs. They were originally used in the airport in Oakland, CA, so they are heavy, commercial grade chairs. They are built to last. The current color is a pale butter yellow, but these just scream “powdercoat me!” I can see these used as funky seating in an outdoor space, a kids’ playroom (perhaps with each seat painted a different color), or if you’re really adventurous, in a hip, retro-mod living room. In the words of the seller, “This piece really belongs to an artist, or a gallery…someone who will truly appreciate its form and function.”

What city should I do next week? Maybe it will be your city! Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

NOTE: Green Your Decor makes no claims about the condition of the furniture posted above, nor can we verify whether each individual piece is still available for sale. The nature of used pieces is that they are one-of-a-kind, so if you are interested, you will have to contact the seller directly via Craigslist.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Stacy of KSW
    February 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I’m thrilled about your newest feature and happy to announce the New to You concept will also be applied to the KSW Green Living home project as well. I’m almost ready to move ahead full-speed with it, I know I know it’s been months but we’re almost there. Thanks for being patient and offering your keen design eye.


    Stacy of KSWs last blog post..KSW Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

  • Alison
    February 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Okay, Green Your Decor, I am with you on the couch. But *how* to reupholster? What are my options for greening the process – latex cushions, organic fabrics, etc? I see many antique pieces I would love to refurbish but don’t know where to turn…. Thanks! : )

  • jennae
    February 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    @Stacy I am definitely looking forward to it!

    @Alison Unless you are experienced with upholstery, I would recommend using the services of a professional for a piece like this sofa. For something simpler, like the armchair shown, you could likely do it yourself with a staple gun and a few yards of fabric.

    For organic, home decor weight fabrics, check out the fabrics section. Also, cushions and foam in more eco-friendly options are becoming more widely available today. You can probably get bamboo or recycled foam in your local craft/fabric store, like JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby. Natural latex or soy-based foam will likely be harder to come by. I haven’t seen any for sale to consumers except for pillows and mattress toppers.

    However, for a piece that’s essentially in good condition but is just ugly, it might be worth your while to reuse the existing cushions. A piece of furniture this old has already done all its offgassing, so there is no need to worry about toxins.

    Hopefully that was helpful! 🙂

  • Tatiana
    February 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm


    This is an amazing idea. I love it! I’d buy that couch in a heartbeat.

  • Alison
    February 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    thank you! you are spot on with these suggestions, i think. i have no idea how to reupholster anything – and i don’t think tonight is the time to start.

    i found a local shop that is doing exactly the kind of work i am looking for : Lotus Bleu . i’m going to check them out.

    you were MORE than helpful! thanks again

  • Amy Woidtke
    February 5, 2009 at 1:54 am

    I rather like the antique sofa the way it is. Heehee. Great example of beauty in the eye of the beholder! 🙂

    Amy Woidtkes last blog post..Portfolio } Pole for the Soul

  • Lori Z.
    February 5, 2009 at 8:09 am

    The couch color isn’t THAT terrible. I do think those chairs would be awesome in our playroom. And I LOVE that these finds are in our neck of the woods!

  • MyBrownBaby
    February 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Okay, you have to HURRY UP and feature Georgia! Great eye, love. And, um, I’m not mad at that couch. In an eclectic, colorful living room, it might be quite a stand-out piece, especially with, say, some playful orange print pillows or a funky chocolate brown throw… I’d play with that couch as is in a heartbeat…

    MyBrownBabys last blog post..Celebrating Black History Month All Day, Every Day


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