Over the last several months I've spent a ridiculous amount of time combing my local Re-Store and Craigslist in combination with commercial auctions to renovate my own kitchen and bathroom. Forget buying retail, salvaged goods are where it's at as long as you know what to look for!
There are some things you're just better off buying new (low flow toilets come to mind), many things can be salvaged, cleaned up and put to use in your home. Just because they're not new to the world, doesn't mean they're not new to you and won't be a perfect fit. Here's a few suggestions on what to look for:
1. Cabinets: Although cabinets are in plenty on Craigslist, auctions and the ReStore alike, they can be tricky. If you're on the hunt for cabinets, have at least 3 friends with a truck or your closest Uhaul on speed dial. They go fast and what slows most people down is the inability to move them. Remember you can always change up the doors and hardware or even paint or powdercoat depending on what they're made from. Tip: When searching Craigslist, make sure to search for the word "cabinet" and "cabinets" both. You'll find more!
2. Sinks: A sink is a sink no matter what it's age. There are all sorts of vintage finds and more expensive pieces that have come out of older homes just waiting to have new life in yours. If bought new and retail they would be several hundred dollars but we've seen them for less than $20 at our ReStore (and often)! Don't be scared of industrial or commercial sinks either, so make sure to check the business section on Craigslist!
3. Large Mirror: Quite often when folks are tearing out or hired to demo a space they'll sell off things they don't need first. Mirrors are almost always sold so they aren't broken and you can get large, expansive mirrors for your double sink bath for next to nothing if you have a way to move them.
4. Chairs: Unless you have a specific chair set in mind that you'd like for your space, there's absolutely no reason to ever pay full price for a chair again. Between Craigslist, restaurant auctions and garage sales, you're sure to find something that works in your space. Know what you want and keep your eye open for fun finds that might be spruced up with a little paint or modernized in some way.
5. Garbage Disposals: You might not think of a garbage disposal as a big renovation item, but for kitchens without they certainly can be. If you search Craigslist for them a few times a week you'll run into contractors that ordered X-amount for a job and didn't end up needing them all and you can usually score one for half price!
6. Countertops: Although the idea of brand new countertops is glamorous, if you're short on budget, they're a fantastic place to save big bucks. You can often find industrial grade stainless steel countertops or remnant pieces left over from commercial jobs that will work out just fine. The key? Have your measurements on hand (I keep mine in my email so I can always pull them up on my phone if I'm out) so you can email or inquire about them before anyone else swoops in for them!
7. Lighting: There isn't any kind of lighting you can't find on Craigslist these days. Looking for a big chandelier to spray paint a funky color and dress up your powder room? Considering switching out your basic light fixture for a ceiling fan? Just search them out. Some Re-Stores are good for lighting while others come up short, but they do often hold mid-century treasures!
8. Industrial Flooring: Try looking for anti-fatigue mats, rubber flooring or even industrial grade carpet tiles to switch up your flooring. There's always someone selling leftover tile, but chances are there isn't enough to do much with, but you never know!
9. Shower Bases: If you don't plan on tiling the base of your new shower, a plastic base is often used instead, but buying them retail is a ridiculously pricey option. They show up on Craigslist constantly, but you'll need to know what size you need as most finds will be rejects from a job, often custom. Don't just think it's 4'x5'... know it!
Have you found a great treasure that was salvaged from somewhere else? Let us know about your sweet score for your kitchen and bath in the comments below!
Images: Sarah Rae Trover, Craigslist