Before and After: A $25 Facebook Marketplace Find Gets a Glam Second Life

published Feb 12, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Before: Dated floral upholstered chair with swan arms
Credit: Angie Lane

There’s a lot of digging involved in shopping secondhand, whether it’s through a thrift store, a garage sale, or an online marketplace. But if you’re willing to be patient, you can find some real treasures that only need a bit of love to become heirloom-worthy.

Architect Angie Lane knew she lucked out with this Facebook Marketplace find. “It can be so hit or miss but when I picked up this chair, I knew I had a gem,” she says. It was solidly built, with a wood frame and delicately-carved swan arms — plus, it was a generous 36-inches wide. The perfect blend of stylish and cozy!

But the beauty of the swans was overwhelmed by the rest of the chair. “The swan armrests are so graceful and lovely but they were completely lost in the heavily patterned, blah-colored fabric of the chair,” Angie says. She knew a bit of sprucing up would make this chair into a star.

Credit: Angie Lane

Angie decided on a geometric patterned fabric from Schumacher for the upholstery. The velvet texture and blue-and-white pattern remind her of the feathers of a swan, she says — a fitting tribute to the carved arms that started it all. Angie enlisted a local pro to upholster the chair.

Credit: Angie Lane

As for the cushions, Angie got creative: “Conceptually, I was thinking of the chair as an actual swan and thinking about it swimming around in lily pads,” she says. “But instead of a lily pad print pillow, I wanted actual lily pads.” After coming up with her design, she worked with another local professional to bring them to life.

“I like that they add a touch of whimsy,” Angie says. “Plus, I just love ridiculous pillows!”

Angie’s pleased with how the whole project came together, and even more pleased that she was able to revive an old piece. “I love that this is a great way to design sustainably,” she says. “There are so many beautiful pieces already out there that don’t take much to bring them back to life.”

For anyone scouring Facebook Marketplace or other online secondhand sellers for home goods, Angie has a tip: “Look for solidly-built pieces when it comes to furniture,” she says. “A good upholsterer can replace worn padding but having a solid frame is crucial.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.