DIY Furniture Recycling: How To Save Money Buying & Making Recycled Furniture

by Aimee

Consignment And Thrift Stores, Frugal Tips, Gifts, Money Making Ideas, Office Items And Housewares, Online Shopping

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Like to save money? Want to know how save money by furniture recycling?

There was a time in my life when I was married and money was never an issue. Well, times have changed.


Now I’m all about the dollar stores and I get such a kick out of saving money and furniture recycling has become a great way for me, and others, to save money while re-purposing furniture, frames, ladders, etc.

You name it and it can probably be recycled — or as some call it — upcycled!

Here’s the deal with upcycling and great ways for you to save money when doing it…

You may have heard the word used before, but you still might not have a clear idea of what it means: so what is upcycling all about?

As the name suggests, it’s another form of recycling that can be very useful and money-saving. To upcycle, you take an old, worn out item and re-purpose it.

This re-purposing usually involves making the item better in some way. You can upcycle discarded items that you’ve happened upon or even things in your home that might still have life in them with a little freshening up.

Do-It-Yourself Upcycling

Even if you’re joining the craze a few years late (like me) Pinterest is a great resource for collecting DIY ideas for furniture recycling.

I found a bookcase for $10 at a thrift store and repainted it to match the $45 upcycled heavy chest on wheels to create matching pieces for $55 total.


I went to a discount furniture store later that week and found new furniture that didn’t have the same character and rustic look that was $245 for a piece similar to the wheeled chest.

I saved $190 and have 2 beautiful pieces of furniture now!

What Items Can You Upcycle?

Maybe the real question should be “what can’t you upcycle?”. Virtually any items you unearth in your home, basement, or at thrift stores are candidates for upcycling.


You can give old picture frames, drink trays, and tool boxes a face look with a little paint and creativity. Old wood chairs can easily be converted into holders for flowerpots; simply cut a hole in the seat and slip in the pot.

“So, how do I save money doing it?” you ask? There are many great products including chalk paint, crafting burlap, and so much more to get you started.

Here are some ideas for furniture recycling just to get your creative juices flowing.

Where To Find Items To Upcycle

I live in Lancaster County, PA and fortunately have found a lot of inexpensive antique and Amish-homemade furniture at great prices. Even if you can’t buy handcrafted Amish furniture, I’m sure there are lots of great resources where you live.


Here are some great places to find good deals on old furniture:

When visiting my college roommate, I walked into FunCycled in Troy, NY where they buy, sell, and recycle furniture. They even allow you to pick your piece and the color and finish you want — and they transform the piece for you!

How Much Money Can You Save?

Even the highest quality furniture gets outdated and may need to be refinished from time to time. A quick refinishing project can make even the oldest furniture look almost like brand new.

Even when a professional is hired for furniture refinishing, the cost is generally much lower than the price to replace the furniture.

Ready to do it yourself? I have a pretty realistic guide for buying old furniture — here’s what I pay:

  • End table: $25 or less
  • Small dresser: $75 or less
  • Large dresser/table/chairs: $100 or less

Looking for a bookcase? Check out how you can make your own bookcase for $120 instead of paying over $400 in a store!

Make Your Own Gifts

It’s officially Fall and you know what that means — holiday shopping and pumpkin-spiced lattes are probably on your mind. Money can go quickly when you’re buying store-bought gifts for everyone on your list.


What you need to know is gifts don’t have to be costly especially if you make or finish them yourself. Here are some great upcycling ideas for homemade gifts:

  • Decorative crockery
  • Hand-Painted Frames
  • Fancy Plant Pots
  • Knitwear
  • Vintage Photos
  • Mason Jar Art

Once you start making your own gifts you won’t likely want to stop! Your friends and family will love the thought and hard-work you’ve put into their gifts and you’ll save money while you’re at it!

Maybe enough to buy a few more Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!

Furniture Recycling Ideas & Resources

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some additional resources to help you buy or sell recycled furniture:

UPDATE: Here’s another example of furniture recycling that I did. The piece was $10 and I used about $1 worth of paint. Before and after photos: