Don’t spend money on furniture before you look for quality freebies. Here’s how to find free furniture to upcycle.
If you’re starting out in upcycling, a free piece is great for a test run. Not the family heirloom.
Is free worth it?
Why things are free:
- They’re worthless.
- They’re worth something but the owner can’t be bothered to sell it.
- They’re worth something and the owner doesn’t know.
Not all free furniture is worth something. They often come at the cost of repairs. Or they’re made from poor materials which won’t ever be valuable, however beautiful you make them.
But there are lots of reasons why free doesn’t mean worthless.
People get rid of things for free because they aren’t in style, they’re moving house and don’t have the space or they could be an unwanted hand-me-down.
Keep it secret
I’ve had people tell me that they’re surprised I say when pieces were free. They think it could devalue how others view the finished pieces.
It was free therefore it’s still worthless, no? Well that depends on the value you put on the finished piece I’ve created. The steps I show and hours of work put in.
Did it have value before? No. Does it have value now? Yes. I know because people buy them.
So, where to find free furniture to upcycle?
How to find free treasure (actual or ones with potential) on Facebook Marketplace.
- Firstly, you can search Marketplace and look for the listings priced as free. Simple. This is the broadest way of searching Marketplace so you might have to scroll far before you find something free that you would like.
2. Alternatively, select the ‘Free stuff’ category from the menu on the left.
This reduces the search down to all free things. But it doesn’t narrow it down any further than that, so you still have to scroll through everything Marketplace has to offer for free.
But if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s the best free, broadest option.
3. Lastly, for the most specific search option, use the filters.
Search for the item you would like and then go to the filters button. Set the maximum price as £0.
This gives you both the item you want and the price you want.
And for the killer move? Be the first to know about it too!
4. Create a notification when something you are looking for is posted. That’s the bell icon next to filters.
You don’t need to specify an item such as chest of drawers. You can put in ‘solid wood’ or ‘antique’ and be notified when someone lists something that matches your keywords.
The larger the search area you choose, the more items you’ll be notified about. But then equally the competition as to who can get it first increases also.
These drawers are one of my free Facebook Marketplace finds. In pretty good condition for a free piece. Did you see its recent transformation?
Freecycle is made up of local community groups where members post their unwanted items for free. It’s non-profit and run by local volunteers.
I have taken items, given items and requested an item, so have experienced each part of their service.
Simply sign up to a group local to you and browse the items available.
This is one of those lucky finds!
You can also request items by making a ‘wanted’ post. But of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it.
I was looking for a specific item and wrote a polite ad asking if anyone had one they no longer needed. A few weeks later a woman got in touch and offered me a beautiful solid wood piece. What a stroke of luck!
Freegle is very similar to Freecycle but was started in the UK.
They cutely describe how it benefits others by giving them the gift of free space! And it’s good for your community and the environment too…
Friends and family
Tell everyone who’ll listen what you do (or want to do!).
A lot of people have furniture they are happy to pass on when they’re updating their home or moving. The more people who know you’re interested in furniture, the more offers for free things you’ll get.
I got this desk from the previous owners of my house. It was kind of them to leave it for me. And here’s what I did with it!
This gold mirror was another piece that I was given by a friend before I transformed it.
But that doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything. If it’s worthless to them because it actually is, try not to feel obliged to take it. Having to throw it away yourself because you avoided feeling awkward and saying no, is a waste of time.
How to say no:
- “No, thanks.”
2. “No, thanks. I don’t have the space.”
3. “No, thanks. I don’t have the time.”
Side of the road
I really wanted this one to start with F too. Facebook, Freecycle, Freegle, Friends and family… and the side of the road. Shame.
These are the things that are left outside for others to take, usually with a sign saying FREE or TAKE ME.
Here are some pieces from one of these near my house, just last week. Naturally I jumped at the solid wood items.
You can’t plan for these as it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time (and with the right size car to load them up).
This is a bonus suggestion because it isn’t free. But it can still be affordable.
The cabinet was £10, reduced from £35!
And I found this piece at a general charity shop for £15. I love the little ornate drawers.
And here it is after I upcycled it. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Aubusson and added copper highlights.
So yes, you will pay something when buying from a charity. Which is already money for a good cause. But there’s also the benefit and reassurance of it having been through a check that the piece is good enough to sell.
I hope you found these examples helpful. Possibly some new places to search for freebies or new ways to find them on sites you already use.
Where do you find free furniture to upcycle? What has your best free piece been? Please share in the comments!
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