How to start a furniture upcycling business

A furniture upcycling business is a venture that’s relatively simple to start from the comfort of your own home.

All you need is a dedicated space, tools and, of course, an item of furniture to upcycle. Read on to learn more about starting such a business and what to do to make it a success.

Considerations for starting a furniture upcycling business

  • What type of renovations are you intending on carrying out and do you need any specialist training? Painting and polishing wooden furniture is a skill anyone can learn with time and practice but upcycling and replacing the fabric on chairs or renovating vintage furniture requires some training. Look for courses at your local college.
  • Where will you work? Do you have a garage where you can work on your upcycling or do you need to create a dedicated space in your home? Furniture upcycling typically requires sanding and high solvent paint, so you need to find somewhere that has good ventilation and plenty of space.
  • Do you need a dedicated website? If you need a website, is this something you can create yourself or will you need to pay someone to make one for you? Whatever you decide, there will be some cost associated with this from the purchase of the domain name to the template design of your site.
  • How will you market yourself? Many new businesses see great success in working solely on social media. Facebook is a great place to start sharing your newly renovated pieces and Instagram is a very visual platform with a strong interior design following. Of course, if you want to deliver your items or have people collect, you should also market locally. Leaflets through doors and left in local businesses can also encourage people to take a look at what you have to offer.
  • Have you thought about tax? If you earn over the £12,500 personal allowance then you will need to pay tax and complete a self-assessment form.
  • What expenses can you claim back? As a business, there are certain things you can claim back – such as utility bill costs and the money spent on new tools – if they are necessary for your work. It’s worth looking into this before you begin when working out budgets and ensuring the work you intend to do is profitable.

Take a look at our blog here, which features everything you need to think about when it comes to setting up a business and what needs to be done.


The tools you need to get started

There are a few key tools you’ll need to upcycle furniture to a professional standard. These include:

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Tool What the tool is needed for
Workbench You need a dedicated table or workbench where you can upcycle your furniture and leave it to dry without any risk of being damaged.
Quality brushes and rollers Ensure you have a selection of high-quality brushes and rollers to hand for repainting wooden furniture.
Screwdrivers A selection of screwdrivers is necessary to ensure you can remove knobs, handles and doors with ease.
Primer and paint If you’re sprucing up furniture with a lick of paint, it’s a good idea to have a selection of colours to hand. You’ll also need a good primer that creates a tactile surface paint can grip to.
Staple gun This can be used to fix furniture and for reupholstery if necessary.
Sanding tool A mouse sander is an excellent tool to have when upcycling furniture. It allows you to get the top layer of paint or varnish off furniture with ease and start again.
Face mask and goggles Safety is important, wear goggles to protect your eyes from debris while sanding and avoid breathing in any dust with a face mask.
Sugar soap The furniture renovators lifeline, sugar soap allows you to scrub down grubby furniture and get it sparkling clean again before you start working on it.
Paint stripper If you need to remove stubborn paint or varnish, paint stripper can be applied and then scraped away.
Masking tape Masking tape is invaluable when renovating furniture. Use it to cover metal hinges and bolts or to protect handles that can’t be removed.


Where to find furniture to upcycle

There are several ways to get your hands on furniture that could do with a little TLC. Here are just a few places to start your search:

  1. Facebook Marketplace – The selling section of the Facebook site features listings from local sellers and you’re guaranteed to find some furniture on here that could do with a spruce up.
  2. eBay – Look for listings close by featuring furniture you can collect. You’ll be able to bid and potentially grab a bargain on a quality item, to then upcycle for your business.
  3. Carboot sales – Set your alarm and head down early to your local car boot sale, where you’ll find people selling furniture they no longer want around their home. You could pick up items for a couple of pounds or even pennies if you’re prepared to haggle.
  4. Auctions – Looking for vintage furniture? Check out auctions going on near you where you could find a diamond in the rough that can be spruced up and sold on.
  5. Friends and family – Don’t be afraid to mooch around friends and family and ask if they have any furniture they want to part with that you can then renovate and sell on.
  6. Free furniture – Don’t be afraid to look out for furniture left outside people’s homes or in skips, you could find something amazing for free. Ask if they don’t mind you taking the items and avoid anything with fabric.


Where to store furniture while it’s up for sale

You may want to keep your newly renovated furniture tucked out of the way, ready for your next customer. A garage space is a good option if you’d prefer to keep your furniture close to your workspace or you could take out a storage unit to keep your upcycled pieces stored and secure.

If you’re setting up your upcycling business in the Southampton or Farnborough area, consider Cubic Storage. Our units are dry and clean, which ensures your furniture remains in pristine condition before your customer collects it.


Get a quote today and discover how much a storage unit could cost to budget the price alongside your other business expenses.

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