Giving old furniture a new life has always been a thing for me, but through the years, I noticed more and more people were upcycling, and finding old pieces of furniture suddenly developed into an upcycling movement in the furniture-flipping community. Annie Sloan and her chalk paint became a household name very quickly, and anyone could update an old dresser in a few hours with paint. Today, the hunt is on for wood furniture, and finding just the right piece of furniture to upcycle can be challenging.
What Is Upcycling Furniture?
It’s about finding old furniture that’s broken or neglected and repurposing it. The outcome remains the same, whether it’s a simple repair of a broken leg on a coffee table or using wooden planks to stabilize the back of broken picture frames. It’s all about giving these old pieces of furniture a new lease of life. It’s a process I enjoy from start to finish, and I call it my therapy.
How And Where To Find Furniture To Upcycle
Here is my list of places I recommend to find furniture pieces to upcycle. Tested and approved!
Your Own House
Shop in your garage, attic, or basement for items you “saved for later” and forgot about. Hey, I do it all the time.
If thrift store shopping is something you enjoy, make a day of it and hit all your surrounding towns to find great deals. Ask about sale days, coupons, and military or senior discounts. Hey! You gotta save where you can.
Garage and yard sales are another great way to find project pieces. Friday and Saturday mornings are usually the best, and you must get there early. The early bird catches the furniture. Never be afraid to ask if they will take less than the price marked on the item you’re interested in. Most people are willing to bargain with you and just want to eliminate their junk. This is coming from a place I’m super familiar with. I have a “Classy Crap Sale” from my home to rid myself of unwanted DIY projects once a year. I WILL BARGAIN!
If you’re fortunate to be near a great flea market like I am, these are great places to find a flea market flip. You can find about any furniture item you’re looking for, but you must be willing to search. Our town has one of the largest flea markets in the US that brings over 1,000,000,000 visitors per year to our little town of 3,500 people. I’ve found so many great deals there. Maybe you’ve heard of First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. It’s a great place to find furniture to upcycle.
Facebook Marketplace is one of my favorite ways to shop. I shop from the comfort of my couch. Use the search bar to find specific items. Type in “free wood furniture,” and Facebook will alert you when there’s an item listed that matches the search. SCORE!
The Goodwill! Now, that’s a blast from the past. I remember fondly shopping there with my Mom for clothing and home decor items when I was a little girl. It was a great place to go, and I still shop there today. But times have changed, and I recently noticed on my last trip that thrift furniture prices had a huge increase. What the heck, Goodwill? It depends on whoever marks the prices for that day, but I haven’t given up on them yet.
Friends & Family
Don’t forget to ask your family and friends for pieces of furniture they would be happy to be rid of. You’ll be surprised to find that everyone has some furniture they want to get rid of, and you’ll be doing them a favor.
Where To Find Free Furniture For Makeovers
Nothing gets me more excited than a FREE curbside find. We in the furniture flipping industry refer to that as a SCORE! But it’s not every day you come across the freebies.
You’ll want to keep your eyes open on every corner because you never know when you may find that SCORE. Most cities have “clean-up days,” where people will place unwanted items on the curb for trash, including wood furniture, and being at the right place at the right time can pay off big. Contact your city to find dates and times, and then you and your besties can have girls gone junking day. LOL, Finding vintage furniture is half the fun.
What If I Want To Sell My Upcycled Furniture and Household Items?
You can always sell your repurposed and upcycled furniture to make yourself some extra cash. I remember one Summer making enough money to pay for our family vacation. All my hard work paid off well when someone loved my creative idea on a coffee table that I flipped. You don’t have to be an interior designer or extremely talented furniture painter to do this. So often, all you need to update these second-hand furniture pieces is a fresh coat of paint in a popular color. I find that neutral shades are the most popular and will blend with most decor styles, but it also depends on your location.
Facebook Market Place
Selling your furniture on this platform can be challenging but successful. (Not the Facebook Online Garage Sales) Don’t mistake Facebook Marketplace for the garage sale groups. Finding a serious buyer willing to pay the price you deserve to make that profit in a garage sale group is hard. Remember, they’re there to search for bargains at garage sale prices, and your custom furniture is worth more. You deserve more!
Social Media Business Accounts
Facebook, Facebook Groups, Instagram, and Pinterest are a few places where you can sell furniture if you have an active platform with good engagement. This takes time and effort but can pay off big time when you have a following.
Sell Online & Offer Shipping
Selling online is another level of selling your repurposed furniture, but one you may be ready for if you’re cranking out a lot of furniture. Be prepared to ship wherever your customers may be, whether you’re an Etsy Seller or from your own website.
7 Upcycling Furniture Ideas & Inspirations To Get You Started
To get you excited (and you should be) about unwanted furniture and upcycling, I thought I’d share a few of my DIY projects. Most of my posts are DIY tutorials with a complete product list. So, there’s no reason that you can’t start right away.
1. Upcycled Dresser Cabinet Project (DIY Rolling Kitchen Island)
Learn how I made a rolling kitchen Island out of an upcycled piece of furniture. CLICK HERE to see the creative ideas I added to this one.
2. Repurposed Metal Vintage Lockers
I call this one OLD SCHOOL because we found a set of metal lockers and flipped it into a rolling cart by adding furniture wheels we got at the hardware store. Yes, I loaded this one in a wagon and used the lawnmower to drag it to my studio. We do what we need to do to get things done around here. GIRL POWER! CLICK HERE for the deets on this fun upcycle.
3. Flea Market Side Table Idea That Will Blow Your Mind!
Was I looking for unique side tables when I found this antique wood speaker at a thrift store and decided to give it a new purpose with a fresh lick of paint. If you like thinking outside the box, you’ll love this one. CLICK HERE to see the table and how I upcycled it.
4. Dining Room Table Makeover (Farmhouse Style)
Come see how this free piece of furniture with major veneer damage (that’s why it was FREE) was the perfect piece for a farmhouse table makeover. CLICK HERE to learn how I created a faux plank wood table top with a few simple tools.
5. DIY Desk / Table From An Upcycled Old Door
Using this old door that belonged to my Grandma was a no-brainer to upcycle it into a desk for my office space. What a wonderful thing it is that I have a piece of her. CLICK HERE to see the new look and the modern hardware I added. It’s all about those legs!
6. Coffee Table Makeover With A Rusty Finish
You better grab a few when coffee tables are a dime a dozen. I repurposed this old table by adding a fun rusty finish and I couldn’t believe how much my hubby LOVED IT! CLICK HERE to see how to add a metal patina to wood furniture.
It’s not every day I get asked to paint a sofa. A what? Yes, I said a sofa. All of it, every square inch, from fabric to the wood trim and legs. The fabric was in good condition, so I decided to give it a try. CLICK HERE to see how it turned out and decide if painting antique furniture suits you.
I hope you found these examples helpful and maybe learned of some new places you didn’t know about to find furniture to upcycle. It can be challenging, but you will find it if you search. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt!
Thanks for joining me today, and as always, if you have questions I didn’t answer, feel free to leave your comments and questions below. Oh, and don’t forget to say hi and tell me you were here. PIN this to your upcycled furniture board for future reference, or share it with a furniture-flipping friend.
Until the next project… xo, Do