How to Start a Business Repurposing Furniture from Home

How to Start an Upcycling Furniture Business From Home

Turn Your Passion for Upcycling into a Profitable Home-Based Furniture Business

How to Start a Business Repurposing Furniture from Home

Repurposing old and vintage furniture into new, modern pieces has grown enormously in popularity over the last decade. More people are discovering the satisfaction of upcycling as a rewarding hobby and viable business opportunity.

Upcycled furniture prevents quality materials from ending up in landfills and allows you to express creativity through unique, one-of-a-kind designs. Thanks to renewed interest in eco-friendly lifestyles, the upcycled furniture market will only continue to expand.

So how can you start a successful repurposed furniture business from home?

The key steps include choosing a brand identity, setting up a workspace, learning essential skills, creating an online presence, sourcing furniture to upcycle, pricing pieces appropriately, and utilizing local marketing. With some upfront planning and effort, you can turn your furniture upcycling passion into a thriving home-based venture.

This guide will walk through the process in detail, from necessary supplies and tools to growing a devoted customer base that loves your imaginative creations. Follow these tips, and you can establish yourself in the upcycling furniture market.


  • What is Repurposed Furniture?
  • Why Start a Repurposed Furniture Business?
  • How to Get Started With an Upcycling Furniture Business
  • Scaling Your Business
  • Tips for Running a Successful Upcycling Furniture Business
  • Related questions
    • How to Price Upcycled Furniture
    • Pros and Cons of Upcycling Furniture
  • Summary

What is Repurposed Furniture?

Repurposed or upcycled furniture refers to taking old, discarded, or vintage furniture and giving it a new look and purpose. This may involve simple steps like sanding, painting, staining, or adding new hardware. Or, it can involve major overhauls like cutting pieces apart and using the wood to create something entirely new.

Upcycling old furniture prevents quality wood and materials from ending up in landfills. And the finished products allow you to express your creativity while providing home décor that’s one-of-a-kind. Upcycled furniture businesses have grown exponentially over the last decade thanks to the renewed popularity of vintage and environmentally-friendly lifestyles.

Why Start a Repurposed Furniture Business?

Launching a repurposed furniture business from home can offer many perks over a traditional 9 to 5 job. Consider these benefits:

  • Flexible schedule – You can work on projects as your schedule allows without being tied to set hours. Fit business tasks around your other commitments.
  • Creative outlet – Give your imagination free rein to produce unique furniture tailored to your own style. No more boring office work or daily grind.
  • Environmental benefits – Feel good about giving old items new life and keeping them out of landfills. Upcycling is eco-friendly.
  • Profit potential – Upcycled furniture sells for premium prices. Establish yourself in the market and profits can surpass a regular salary.
  • Low overhead – You can start small and grow, keeping overhead costs low compared to other ventures. A home-based start-up is affordable.
  • Personal fulfillment– Making a hobby you love into a career is hugely rewarding. The flexibility also lends to a great work/life balance.

If you think you’d enjoy making repurposed furniture and want the freedom of being your own boss, there’s never been a better time to get started. With some planning and effort, you can establish a successful brand making pieces people will love.

How to Get Started With an Upcycling Furniture Business

Launching a repurposed furniture business takes some upfront work – but the process is straightforward. Follow these steps to get up and running:

1. Choose a Business Name and Branding

Your business name and branding will make a first impression on potential customers. Choose a name that reflects your style and personality. Include keywords like “repurposed”, “upcycled”, or “refinished” to optimize for online searches.

Create logos, color schemes, and other branding elements that visually capture the essence of your business. A cohesive brand identity across your online platforms and packaging builds familiarity and trust with customers.

2. Set Up Your Workspace

Identifying a dedicated workspace in your home is a crucial first step when starting a repurposed furniture business. This space will be used to store all your materials, tools, and in-progress or finished projects.

Designate a Spare Room

Converting a spare bedroom, den, or basement into your workspace is ideal. This self-contained room gives you privacy and the ability to shut the door when you’re not actively working to keep dust, fumes, and clutter contained. Ensure the room is large enough to accommodate bulky furniture pieces.

Consider the Garage

If space inside your home is limited, a garage can also work well for furniture refinishing. The key is to thoroughly organize and partition off an area so you don’t have to move everything constantly as you also use the garage for parking. Install sturdy shelving, cabinets, and a workbench to define the space.

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Optimize Lighting

Proper lighting is vital for examining furniture details, matching colors, and doing intricate finishing work. Install overhead shop lights and have movable task lamps, magnifying lamps, and natural light available. For painting and finishing, diffuse natural light is best so you can see imperfections and inconsistencies clearly.

Ensure Adequate Ventilation

Since you’ll be working with paints, stains, chemicals for stripping, and generating dust from sanding, high-quality ventilation is a must. Install a specialized dust collection system and use portable air cleaners. Open windows or run fans since lingering fumes can be dangerous. An outdoor workspace or paint booth is ideal.

Get Plenty of Electrical Outlets

Running out of outlets as you plug in all your power tools and equipment is frustrating. Do an assessment of your electrical needs for lighting, tools, etc. and install additional outlets and 220V lines if needed. Making sure wiring is up to code and GFCI protected is also important to prevent fire risks.

Organize and Stock Supplies

Pick up all the tools and supplies you’ll need for prepping, painting, staining, repairing, and finishing furniture. Think orbit sanders, spray equipment, safety gear, brushes, paints, cloths, hardware, glue, and more. Install shelving, storage racks, cabinets, and bins to neatly organize everything for easy access. A labeled and stocked workshop makes projects far easier.

3. Source Furniture to Upcycle

Once your workspace is prepped, it’s time to start collecting furniture to transform! Some great places to find secondhand pieces include:

  • Yard sales – Arrive early for the best selection. Look in affluent neighborhoods.
  • Thrift stores – Scope out multiple locations regularly since inventory changes. Visit high-end shops in wealthy areas.
  • Estate sales – Sign up for email lists to get notifications of upcoming sales. Ask about additional furniture not on display.
  • Classified ads – Search Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, etc. daily. Use saved searches for key terms.
  • Curbside pickups – Drive through neighborhoods on bulk garbage days looking for furniture. Knock on doors of houses with items.
  • Dumpsters – Ask apartment managers and landlords when large items will be discarded. Don’t trespass on private property.
  • Online auctions – Bid on materials from business liquidations, storage unit foreclosures, and estate auctions.
  • Flea markets – Negotiate deals, especially near closing time. Strike up relationships with vendors.

Search for solid wood pieces in good structural condition – avoid furniture with laminate, veneers, or particle board. Mid-century, antique, and vintage styles offer prime upcycling potential. Examine items closely for damage prior to purchasing.

Related article: 10 Best Places To Buy Old Furniture To Upcycle

4. Learn Essential Upcycling Skills

While creativity is important, there are also some technical skills needed to refinish furniture properly. Take the time to learn techniques like:

  • Furniture Repair – Fixing broken or loose joints with wood glue and clamps. Replacing damaged components.
  • Sanding and prep – Hand sanding with progressive grits to smooth surfaces. Chemical stripping to remove old finishes. Filling holes and imperfections.
  • Painting techniques – Proper surface prep, achieving full coverage, brushwork, avoiding drips, distressing. Matching existing colors.
  • Staining – Selecting compatible stain and wood type. Staining evenly. Sealing properly.
  • Upholstery – Recovering chairs, headboards, benches by stretching, stapling and trimmin fabric.
  • Finishing – Using sealants and clear coats to protect and enhance longevity. Cutting sheen.
  • Hardware – Removing old hardware, patching holes, installing new handles, knobs, hinges.
  • Texturing – Glazing, liming, stippling, and other specialty finish techniques.

Hands-on practice and taking workshops will refine skills. Always experiment on test pieces first.

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5. Create an Online Presence

While word-of-mouth referrals will come in time, your online presence will be crucial for reaching customers from the start. Some key platforms to establish:

  • A website with an about page sharing your backstory and what inspires you, an easy to navigate shop page with category filters, detailed project galleries, testimonials, ordering and delivery details, and contact info. Optimize pages for SEO with metadata and keywords.
  • Facebook business page to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at your process through in-progress photos and videos. Share sneak peeks of new pieces. Respond to all comments and questions to build relationships.
  • Instagram account with a cohesive aesthetics and lifestyle images. Leverage strategic hashtags like #upcycledfurniture or #refinishedvintage to get discovered. Post Stories showcasing your personality.
  • Etsy shop with listings optimized with relevant keywords in the titles, tags, and descriptions. Refresh with new pieces regularly. Photograph products professionally.
  • NextDoor to introduce yourself, share inspiring before and after project photos, and offer design services. This can lead to valuable word-of-mouth referrals.
  • eCommerce store like Shopify with integrated payment processing for a seamless purchasing experience. Offer fast shipping and tracking.
  • Online marketplaces like Chairish, 1stDibs, One Kings Lane expand your reach to specialized vintage buyers. Invest time in listing details.

Drive traffic to your website and sales platforms through search optimization, social media engagement, and partnerships with local retailers.

6. Set Your Prices

Pricing your upcycled creations appropriately is key to maintaining profitability. Consider these factors when establishing prices:

  • Material costs – What was the initial purchase price? Did you use exotic woods like teak that impact base price? What was spent on new hardware, fabrics, paints etc?
  • Labor hours – Track the time spent on structural repairs, sanding away old finishes, priming, staining, painting intricate details, reupholstering, photographing finished piece, writing product copy, meeting clients. Determine your hourly rate.
  • Market competitors – Search sites like Etsy and Chairish to analyze comparable pieces by other sellers. Aim for the higher end of price ranges.
  • Market demand – Is the item on-trend? Is it peak furniture buying season? High demand means you can increase prices.
  • Custom details – Does it include hand-painted designs, decoupage, carved elements? These take more specialized skill and time.
  • Overhead costs – Tally your monthly expenses – workspace rent, insurance, website fees, tools, advertising. Factor these in.
  • Growth plans – The profit you need to sustain and expand your business. Don’t under-price.
  • Restoration scope – Was it a quick makeover or a major rebuild? Price accordingly.

As you become established, you can command higher prices – especially for large or complex pieces. Don’t undervalue your work. Upcycled furniture sells at a premium since it’s rare and special.

7. Market Your Business Locally

While online sales may form the bulk of your business, don’t underestimate local marketing too. Some ideas include:

  • Reaching out to interior designers, home stagers, and boutique shops to carry your products.
  • Joining local home business groups and networks to gain referrals.
  • Offering in-person shopping days and design consultations.
  • Exhibiting at local craft fairs and flea markets.
  • Donating pieces to charity auctions or silent auctions.
  • Sponsoring fundraising galas or social events related to interior design.

Collaborating with other like-minded small businesses can help boost awareness organically. Don’t be shy about promoting your unique offerings.

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Scaling Your Business

As orders start rolling in, you can take steps to grow your repurposed furniture business beyond a home-based operation. Some options include:

  • Renting a workshop – This gives you more space for large projects without the huge overhead of buying commercial property. You can also hire employees as needed.
  • Wholesale accounts – Selling to hotels, restaurants, or commercial retailers in bulk can hugely increase sales. Make sure to price accordingly.
  • Teaching workshops – Share your knowledge by hosting upcycling classes locally. This can extend your reach and identify new talent to potentially hire.
  • Selling online courses – Create DIY instructional videos and guides for selling online. Multiple passive income streams add up.
  • Product expansion – Apply your skills to repurposing other vintage finds like lighting, mirrors, art, architectural salvage, etc. More variety draws more customers.

Tips for Running a Successful Upcycling Furniture Business

Follow these expert tips as you grow your repurposed furniture brand:

  • Focus on quality – Never cut corners or rush through projects. Take your time to ensure pieces are structurally sound, finishes are flawless, and buyers are thrilled.
  • photograph your work – Invest in a good camera and lighting. Quality photos dramatically improve online impressions and sales.
  • Leverage social proof – Ask happy customers to leave reviews on your website and social channels. This builds trust and social proof.
  • Stay organized – Keep detailed records of expenditures, inventory, client info, and other key business data. This makes taxes and expansion planning easier.
  • Reinvest – Put revenue back into upgrading your tools, skills training, and workspace. The more polished your operation, the more profitable it will be.
  • Have patience – Know that it takes time to build a customer base and reputation. Stay focused on delivering exceptional work.

Related Questions

How to Price Upcycled Furniture

Pricing your upcycled furniture appropriately is key to maintaining healthy profits. Consider the following factors when establishing your price points:

  • Materials cost – Calculate what you paid for the original piece plus any supplies used during upcycling like new fabrics, paint, hardware, etc.
  • Labor time – Determine how many hours were spent designing, prepping, painting, finishing, photographing, listing, meeting clients, etc. Estimate a fair hourly rate for your time and expertise.
  • Comparable prices – Research what similar refurbished pieces are selling for by other upcycling brands, locally and online. Aim for the higher end of the range.
  • Market demand – Some periods like spring have more shoppers. If demand is high, you can increase prices. If sales are slow, consider lowering prices to incentivize buyers.
  • Piece complexity – Factor in details like hand-painted designs, carvings, specialty finishes, or thorough restorations. Price high for more labor-intensive pieces.
  • Your brand reputation – As you build a following, you can command higher prices. Newer businesses may need to price low initially.

A good formula is materials cost x 3 + hourly labor rate x hours worked. Track expenses and hours to determine true costs. Offer promotions and sales – but never devalue your time and skills.

Pros and Cons of Upcycling Furniture

Upcycling old furniture has many advantages but also some downsides to consider:


  • Creatively rewarding and fun hobby
  • Express your unique personal style
  • Eco-friendly way to reduce waste
  • Produce high-quality pieces affordably
  • Items increase in value after upcycling
  • Flexible schedule and location
  • Satisfaction of learning new skills
  • Lower overhead costs than manufacturing
  • Higher profit margins than selling as-is


  • Time investment finding quality used furniture
  • Physically demanding prep and refinishing
  • Need to learn technical skills like carpentry
  • Upfront costs of tools and materials
  • Space required for projects
  • Marketing yourself and finding clients
  • Slower paced production vs. mass manufacturing -Risk of pieces getting irreparably damaged

Overall, the personal and environmental benefits of upcycling furniture outweigh the drawbacks for most entrepreneurs. With patience and hard work, the pros make repurposing a highly worthwhile and profitable small business opportunity.

Summary: Turning Your Passion into a Business

In summary, here are the key steps to launching a successful repurposed furniture business from home:

  • Choose an appealing business name and brand identity that reflects your style. This will make a strong first impression on potential customers.
  • Set up an organized, well-equipped workspace with adequate lighting, ventilation, tools, and storage solutions. Having an efficient area to complete your projects is essential.
  • Learn critical upcycling skills like repair techniques, sanding, painting, staining, and more through hands-on practice and experimentation. Hone your craft.
  • Create an engaging online presence with a website, social media, online galleries, and sales platforms to reach customers. Photos are critical.
  • Source quality solid wood furniture pieces with upcycling potential through venues like thrift stores, classified ads, auctions etc. Look for good bones at low prices.
  • Establish fair pricing for your time and costs based on comparable pieces, market demand, and your brand reputation. Don’t undervalue handmade quality.
  • Market locally through partnerships with boutiques, home shows, charity events, and other creative outreach. Word-of-mouth referrals spread awareness.
  • Maintain high standards, invest revenue into growth, and focus on client relationships as you scale from a home-based start-up into a thriving brand.

With passion and diligence, you can build an amazing repurposed furniture business doing what you love. Get started today!