6 places to find secondhand furniture, according to an upcycling expert

Secondhand furniture adds a dose of style and sustainability to your home. Here's where to find it.

stripped side table
(Image credit: Kaitlin Madden)

Upcycling furniture has always been a favourite hobby of mine, but also for so many others. Chairs, console tables, footstools, the lot. You can give old furniture, which would otherwise be destined to be thrown out, a new home and a new lease of life. But you’ll need to find out where they are first before you can rescue them. Here are a few places you can check out to find that perfect piece.

Charity shops

Charity shops may not be your usual place to be at the weekend, but you’ll be amazed at what you can find when you go. Places like the British Heart Foundation Homestore and Wastesavers have a lot of donated furniture which needs a new home. They also have an online store if you can’t physically make it there. The best thing about buying from a charity shop, is that proceeds go towards good causes. Not only are you already saving a piece of furniture from landfill, but you can leave knowing you’ve helped in other ways too.

Waste recycling centre stores

Another idea which may not be well known, is finding furniture at waste recycling centre stores. A lot of furniture gets taken to the local tip, as a quick and easy way to dispose of unwanted furniture. However, these stores, located at some local tips, are pretty much the last hope for some amazing pieces of furniture. Why not see if your local tip has a store on site

Facebook Marketplace

upcycled table facebook marketplace

The table in the top photo, a Facebook Marketplace find, in its original state.

(Image credit: Kaitlin Madden)

If you have never spent part of your day scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, where have you been? Facebook Marketplace entered our lives in October 2016, and quickly became the go-to place to find household items that were no longer wanted. This is great because furniture isn’t taken to the tip or disposed of, but it can be sold or given away for free. So whether you’re looking for a dining set, or a wardrobe to upcycle, it is a great place to search for what you need.

Preloved

Preloved has a very similar concept to Facebook Marketplace, in that items are sold or given away for free. You can specify which location to search in, or choose which price range too. This is another great place to find, as the name suggests, pre-loved furniture. Also, if you ever wanted to sell on preloved, listings are free, so why not sell on your upcycled pieces.

Ebay

Ebay is another great place to look for old furniture. Something unique about Ebay is that some listings require people to bid in the hopes of winning. A little tip, save your best bid for when the bidding is about to close, you may just beat the last bid with seconds to spare. Most likely, with purchases from Ebay, collection is required.

Gumtree

Unlike Ebay, Gumtree also lists a lot of freebies which is ideal for upcyclers. People who no longer want items will take pictures and post them onto Gumtree, hoping someone is happy to pick it up. It frees up their home, and the lucky person gets to take home a new project

Now you know where to look, why not go and find your next upcycle project. Even if you want to practice your skills, you can get great small pieces for free to test your techniques on. You can deck out your home with furniture which you have saved and restored, and know that you did a wonderful thing. 

I will always remember the day I found an old table on the side of the street and took it home. This is always an option, but make sure you check it is definitely ok to take.