Some of the simplest endeavors can be used to start a small business. With little more than a few simple tools, a can of paint and some old furniture, you can start making money from selling upcycled furniture.
In fact, with a few dollars, a quick trip to a local flea market or garage sale and a little bit of elbow grease, you can turn a fun hobby into a successful small business.
What is Upcycled Furniture?
Upcycled furniture, often referred to as repurposed furniture, is the art of rejuvenating old or discarded furniture, granting it a renewed purpose or a refreshed aesthetic. This sustainable approach to home décor not only prevents waste but also yields unique pieces that tell a story.
While many embark on upcycling projects as a leisurely pursuit, creating items for personal use or gifting, an increasing number of enthusiasts are monetizing this passion. They’re crafting distinctive pieces and tapping into a burgeoning market that values sustainability and one-of-a-kind furnishings.
Benefits of Upcycled Furniture:
- Offers unique, one-of-a-kind items
- Cost-effective approach to home décor
How do You Upcycle Furniture?
Venturing into the realm of furniture upcycling begins with recognizing potential in the mundane. Whether it’s a tattered armchair or a fading wooden table, with a touch of creativity and elbow grease, these items can be transformed.
For those without ready access to furniture yearning for a makeover, there are plenty of avenues to acquire such pieces. Thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales are treasure troves of potential projects.
Small Business Deals
Online platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are also rife with listings. Sometimes, the most promising candidates for upcycling are those discarded items you might stumble upon during a neighborhood walk on garbage collection days.
Once procured, these pieces can be restored, painted, reupholstered, or even reconfigured, breathing new life into what was once overlooked.
Places to Source Used Furniture for Upcycling:
- Thrift stores
- Flea markets
- Garage sales
- Facebook Marketplace
- Discarded furniture on garbage collection days
Once you have your used furniture, you can repair it, give it a fresh coat of paint or even reconstruct it into an entirely new and unique piece furniture. You even can combine parts of multiple pieces into repurposed furniture ideas.
Popular upcycled furniture ideas include updating and repurposing dressers, cribs, coffee tables, bookcases and even individual drawers. And if you are wondering how to start an upcycling business, all you have to do is start selling your creations at flea markets and online.
Types of Upcycled Furniture Ideas
Different furniture items offer varied opportunities for upcycling. This table provides a quick look at different pieces and potential upcycling ideas.
|Furniture Type||Potential Upcycling Ideas|
|Dresser||Shelves, Tables, Wash stands, Benches|
|Drawer||Wall decor, Tables, Chairs, Ottomans, Shelving|
|Coffee Table||Artistic designs, Combine with other furniture|
|Bookcase||Custom curio cabinets, Modern shelving designs|
|Chair||New upholstery, Combine for unique designs|
|Filing Cabinet||Desks, Storage units|
|Mirror||Chalkboards, Picture frames, Decorative designs|
|Mirror Frame||Bulletin boards, Decorative picture frames|
|Door||Wall art, Photo frames, Decorative hooks|
|Crib||Desks, Chairs, Dog beds|
23 Upcycled Furniture Ideas
Are you ready to turn your DIY projects into a successful small business? Do you need some inspiration to get started on your repurposed furniture ideas? Check out the following upcycled furniture ideas and add a touch of your own DIY deco style.
1. Upcycled Dresser Ideas
It’s not hard to find an old dresser that might be a little shabby but still perfectly functionable. With some fresh varnish or a new coat of paint, you can breathe new life into an old dresser and give it the perfect decor style to fit into a modern home.
Dressers can also be repurposed into shelves, tables, wash stands and even benches.
2. Upcycled Drawer Ideas
You don’t need a full piece of furniture to reuse parts of it into something new. Often you can find spare drawers from old dressers at a thrift store for no more than a couple of bucks, or you might be deconstructing your own furniture that featured drawers.
Either way, dresser drawers can make the ultimate DIY project as they can be transformed into almost anything, including wall decor, tables, chairs, ottomans and shelving. All you need are some tools and a creative idea.
3. Upcycled Coffee Table Ideas
Coffee tables are always in demand, and they frequently get replaced when people move or redecorate… which also means there are plenty of old tables to go around.
You can refurbish an old, damaged coffee table or truly upcycle a used table with fresh paint or a unique design, such as the sunflower table pictured above made with acrylic paints. You are only limited by your imagination and inspiration.
4. Upcycled Bookcase Ideas
Plenty of options are available to upcycle cheap bookcases. You can paint an old bookshelf and give it new life or you can repurpose bookcases and create entirely new furniture designs.
You can turn trash off the street into simple storage solutions that are also stylish. Just attach some wooden planks and transform some old shelves into a beautiful custom curio cabinet.
5. Upcycled Chair Ideas and DIY Projects
Old chairs are easy to upcycle just by adding new upholstery. To create innovative furniture designs that are easy to sell, choose fabrics with unique designs, perfect for accent pieces in any home, and be sure to paint the furniture with a splash of color to match.
A chair upcycling small business might create custom chairs, designed with clients’ favorite colors. Of course, chair also can be repurposed into other decor and furniture items.
6. Upcycled Filing Cabinet Ideas
A file cabinet might be upcycled by giving it a custom paint job to match any decor style, but it can also be repurposed into a completely different type of furniture.
For example, it only takes two small filing cabinets and a wooden plank to create a roomy and stylish desk. With multiple filing cabinets, the reconstruction options are only limited by your imagination.
7. Upcycled Mirror Ideas
Artistic entrepreneurs can upcycle a mirror by either painting it or adding accessories and other decoration like beads, flowers, tiles or sequins.
Consumers enjoy mirrors that match their home decor, so the options for decorating an old mirror are as endless as customers’ personal tastes. Mirrors also can be repurposed into other items, like chalkboards, picture frames and magnetic boards.
8. Upcycled Mirror Frame Ideas
You don’t need a compete mirror to upcycle its frame into home decor items. Take the frame of a broken mirror and upcycle it by painting it or adding other decorations. Then, add a chalkboard, white board, magnetic board or bulletin board where the mirror used to be.
Voila! A repurposed mirror frame. You also can convert a mirror frame into a decorative picture frame.
9. Upcycled Old Door Ideas
Have an old door and think you’re limited to selling it as a door? You’d be wrong. Doors can be repurposed into home decor with a few basic tools and a little creativity.
To turn old doors into wall art, cut them into sections, paint them your favorite color, drill holes and add some hooks to hang cups, hats or keys. You also can transform these door sections into fancy photo frames, paint decorative designs on them or add decorative but meaningful sayings.
10. Upcycled Crib Ideas
Have your children outgrown a crib, or did you come across a quaint old crib at a local flea market? Cribs can be repurposed into a variety of other furniture items, including desks, chairs, tables or even a dog bed. In the above example, a baby bed was converted into a small child’s sofa, perfect for relaxing.
How to Sell Your Repurposed Furniture
Ready to sell your upcycled and repurposed furniture? Regardless what you choose as your first project, you must be prepared with the right supplies and understand the market to be successful. And the following best practices will help you sell your repurposed furniture:
- Save money by upcycling furniture from thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. Scour Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for opportunities to save money on someone else’s unwanted items.
- Be sure you have basic supplies you might need, including items like paint, a foam roller, chalk paint, tools, sand paper, hardware, a tape measure and scraps of wood. You also should ensure you have a space to craft and store your upcycled furniture.
- To market your upcyced furniture, be sure and have a quality camera to photograph the items. The images will be what attracts potential customers to your online sales posts, and the photos should be clear and well-lit.
- Whether your target customer is an eclectic antique dealer or an average soccer mom, you need a way to connect them with your products. Find out where to sell handmade items locally at places like flea markets and consignment shops, or you can reach a broader audience by selling furniture online in a post at places like Ebay and Facebook Marketplace. You should also look into learning how to sell on Amazon Handmade as well as Etsy. Some DIY upcyclers even create their own blog to promote their crafts.
- Start small and expand your small business. Upcycling furniture is an awesome small business idea that easily can generate a profit. Start with a small investment and purchase just a few items and a small set of supplies, perhaps selling them to family and friends. Once you’ve sold your initial upcycled inventory, use the profits to scale your business, purchasing more used furniture and expanding your collection of supplies. This includes selling online and learning how to start a small business on Etsy.
What’s the Best Furniture to Upcycle?
When pondering which furniture pieces lend themselves best to upcycling, it’s essential to remember that the magic lies in the visionary transformation rather than the object itself.
While virtually any piece can serve as a canvas for creativity, some items have gained popularity in the upcycling world due to their versatility and ease of transformation.
Old wooden tables, for instance, are a favorite starting point. With their robust structures, they can be sanded, stained, painted, or even adorned with tiles or mosaics for a refreshed look. Those tables forgotten in a basement can suddenly emerge as chic central pieces in your living room.
Another great candidate is that old dresser you’ve considered discarding. Beyond just painting it, consider converting drawers into unique shelves or planters. Furthermore, if you happen to have old chairs, they can be reupholstered with vibrant fabrics or even repurposed into quirky garden planters.
But beyond the popular choices, there’s vast potential even in seemingly mundane pieces. That outdated coffee table can be reimagined into a plush dog bed with some padding and fabric.
That crib your child has outgrown? With a bit of modification, it could evolve into a quirky yet functional dining room table or a bench.
In the world of upcycling, the key is to see not what the furniture piece is, but what it could become. The journey from discarded item to functional art is what makes upcycling such a rewarding and sustainable endeavor.