Furniture for Upcycling
Where do you go to find it and what exactly are you looking for?
Places to go.
The main places I would to find furniture for upcycling are:
- Charity shop
- Charity Furniture warehouse
- Second Hand Furniture Shop
- Car boot Sale
- Vintage shops
- Online market places like facebook marketplace, Done Deal, adverts etc
What are you looking for?
Price: The variety on the price of old furniture vastly differs throughout Ireland and through different types of furniture sellers. You will find me mostly down the back of a shop, routing in a corner for the pieces that may need a little work and the price is really good. Remember as well that you still have a lot of work to do on the piece if its a piece of furniture for upcycling. I have been in 100’s of second hand furniture places around the country and even within the one shop the prices can be random and there are many reasons for this.
- Sometimes the items might belong to a third party so the price might be set. Sometimes the seller might have purchased the items at a cost that they need to profit from.
- In charity shops sometimes there are many different people and volunteers pricing the items.
- There may be a storage issue, so if cheaper smaller items sell fast but the larger items stay (which is the case a lot of the time) They might sell off the larger items to make more room. So a huge wardrobe could be €40 and a small table beside it could be €45.
- Location: In my experience the closer you move into the city the more expensive the furniture can be unless there is a special sale on. Once you get further out into the country I find that the prices can be lower.
What the piece is made from:
This tends to come right after the price part. If its a piece of chipboard with an outer veneer it will really determine whether its worth the price or not. If its a good price and made with sold oak it would be well worth a little extra money. Sometimes the more modern furniture is really light so you not the quality isn’t as great. But don’t be fooled completely by the weight as chipboard and thick MDF can be heavy but its not good quality.
If you place a finger on the piece and it wobbles then a little alarm bell in my head goes off. The next investigation I would do is try to find out why, is there a screw loose that might be easily fixed, or is it just being held together by some old wood glue. If the piece is only average I tend to walk past it, but if it is something I am really interested in, Ill try and figure out what the problem is, so that I can weigh up if its worth buying or not. If its easily fixed it might be furniture worth upcycling.
I used to buy all the cheap furniture that was damaged when i started out. A chair with a broken leg for €5, what can go wrong? You may end up with a stack of these items taking up space. If you are not able to fix them, then its been a waste of money and you now have a storage problem. So don’t be tempted by price. Look out for pieces missing, if there are drawers you need to take out the drawers and see if there is any damage. You need to be able to access the amount of work the piece may need.
The dreaded woodworm. Yes woodworm can be treated but I tend to leave it behind me. If I really fell in love with a piece,I wanted for my home and there wasn’t too much woodworm. I would buy it and treat it. You need need to give it a really good inspection to access the damage. I have seen woodworm on every type of wood. Sometimes for example on a chest of drawers there could be a few different types in the one piece. The drawers might be made in a different materials as well as the back panel so make sure to take a look at each part.
Look and see if there is an branded label. These can be on the back it the bottom or sometimes it could be in a drawer. Once you find the name its a good idea to give it a little bit of research into the piece. You can find out what era it was made. Look it up online for where it is selling and for the price its selling at so you can get a better idea if its worth it or not.
What should you bring with you?
I leave these items in my van, so if I ever need them they are to hand.
- My phone so I can take pictures of the items. The light on the phone incase you need to get a better look inside a piece.
- A measuring tape
- A small note book and pencil.
Hunting for second hand furniture is my favourite thing to do. I love rummaging and coming across a really good piece of furniture for a great price.