Even after more than 25 years of refurbishing vintage furniture, I don’t always know exactly which pieces will sell quickly, and which ones won’t sell at all. Somehow I still sometimes manage to get it wrong when making decisions about the new look for a piece.
In general, I find that pieces painted in a neutral color such as white, black, dark navy or grey sell really quickly.
While pieces painted in a less neutral color tend to take longer to sell, and sometimes don’t sell at all. For example, I originally painted this bench in a smoky pale blue …
I thought the transfer was really pretty, and had the perfect message for a foyer. And although the color wasn’t quite neutral, it also wasn’t really bright.
But it did not sell. I gave it 9 months, and then decided to re-paint it in my favorite Dixie Belle Drop Cloth.
And it sold right away.
Sometimes the pieces painted in neutrals don’t sell either though. For example, this dresser did not sell despite its white paint job.
This one really surprised me, the white pieces usually sell easily. Was it the toile transfer on those two upper drawers? I loved it, but clearly it was not everyone’s cup of tea.
After months of trying to sell it, I ended up sanding off the toile and adding an IOD transfer over the entire front of the dresser instead.
And once again, it sold fairly quickly.
But there are always exceptions to the neutral color rule, my mid-mod pieces painted in Fusion’s Park Bench green have always flown off the shelf.
And even this vintage piece painted in a vibrant green milk paint (Sweet Pickins In a Pickle) sold, although it did take a little bit longer than the neutral pieces.
I do think that you have to get to know your own geographical area and what will sell best in your neck of the woods too. I suspect that the floral pieces may do better in the south, while here in the upper mid-west, people are a little more conservative. I’m not sure if conservative is the right word, but we’re maybe just a bit less frilly (correct me if I’m wrong about that Southerners). So whenever I add a floral transfer to a piece, I always assume it will take a little longer to sell.
The exception to that rule is this one though …
That’s the Rose Celebration transfer from re.design with prima. I’ve only used it twice, but both times the piece sold really quickly.
Then there was this piece …
For the life of me, I couldn’t sell this piece with the mirror attached. Generally, I find that it’s more difficult to sell a dresser with a mirror than without. I think it’s because dressers are so much more versatile without their mirrors. They can be used in a dining room, or a living room as a TV stand, or in the laundry room or home office. You’d think buyers could just take the mirror off, but I think most people are reluctant to dismantle a piece like this.
But not me. With my handyman Ken’s help, I removed the mirror and replaced it with some trim that I painted to match.
And that was all it took to get this one to sell.
Finally, I also find that certain pieces of furniture sell faster than others. Dressers, nightstands and washstands are the easiest to sell for me.
Things like hutches, cabinets, buffets and chairs usually take a little longer.
And then we have desks and benches.
Desks have just never been a quick sell for me. Perhaps it’s because people don’t really need desks anymore, or at least not in the traditional sense. Still, I am a bit surprised that I haven’t found a buyer yet for this one …
At this point I plan to paint a mirror to match that can be hung on the wall behind it to turn it into more of a vanity/dressing table. Then I’ll restage my photos and try again. Maybe that will help, maybe not. I will really be bummed if I eventually have to paint over it. I absolutely love the IOD transfer I used. I may have to figure out a way to keep it myself if I can’t sell it.
The benches that Ken makes out of old bed frames always take longer to sell as well. Maybe it’s because I have to charge more for them to pay for the materials and for Ken’s time. Some of them sold fairly quickly though, like this one in basic black …
Some of them took a fair amount of time to sell, but did eventually go, like this one …
and this one …
And that brings me to this piece.
This one started out as a bed frame. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a 3/4 sized bed (the original owner swore it was a twin, but I should have measured myself). Once that little detail came to light, I sent the pieces over to Ken’s workshop to be turned into a bench.
I thought he did a brilliant job of re-working that footboard, but Ken was not happy with how it turned out. He didn’t like the fact that the footboard had those corner posts that stuck up on either side of the seat in the front. I thought that would be OK though. It was already mostly painted in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and had the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima on the back. I’d done this combo before, on this dresser …
and it was a success. So I touched up the paint here and there and listed it for sale.
But this bench just hasn’t sold. Is it the color? Is it the floral transfer? Is it those posts sticking up in the front? Or is it a little bit of all three?
I’m not really sure. So I’m going to change all three. Last week it once again went back to Ken’s workshop. He cut off the tops of those posts in the front, then he replaced the two outer boards on the seat.
Now it’s back in my workshop. I’ve sanded off the transfer and am now giving some more thought to its new look. Any ideas? I’ve very tempted to just paint it black.
For those of you who also paint furniture, what do you find sells best in your area? Do you have a magic formula that works every time? Leave a comment and share your experience with the rest of us!