photo of a wooden bookshelf

Upcycling Furniture: Experts Reveal The Cheapest Items and Top Tips

A recent study by found that when renovating, we aren’t only looking at modern styles anymore, revealing roll top baths and Victorian fireplaces amongst the period features making a comeback in 2021.

With older and more tired looking features coming back in style, searches for ‘upcycling’ have increased by 130%* in the last year. This inspired the experts at Furniture Disposal London to find the cheapest items of furniture on resale sites, for those looking to upcycle. By scraping eBay, they can now reveal all. 

The cheapest furniture online

Bookcases, shelving, and storage are the cheapest furniture items on resale sites, averaging a price of €83.72. Furniture Disposal London said:

“If you are looking for a way to quickly upcycle your bookcase, paint the wood a contrasting colour to your walls. This will give it a new lease of life and a pop of colour within the room.”

The second cheapest items of furniture to buy and upcycle are TV stands and entertainment units, with an average price of €87.28 on resale sites. Furniture Disposal London added:

“Instead of throwing them away, turn them into a lower-level storage unit and place them at the end of your bed as a bench or ottoman!”

Cabinets and cupboards come in at third place, with an average price of €109.34. Recent trends have seen people wrapping their cabinets in leather to give them a more modern look. Furniture Disposal London advised:

“When doing this, make sure to use sharp scissors to ensure the fabric doesn’t fray or tear. Fold in the corners first and use a staple gun to attach it. Then fold the edges down and do the same all the way around.”

The most expensive furniture online

At the other end of the scale, the most expensive furniture item on resale sites are chairs, averaging at €524.74. If you have an old and battered chair in your house, by buying new fabric and foam, and with a little help from a staple gun and sewing machine, you may soon have a small fortune on your hands.

Furniture Disposal London suggest:

  1. Remove all the fabric and foam.
  2. Use the old seat to measure, mark and cut out new foam. Do the same for the felt but make it about 4 inches bigger to fold over and staple onto the seat.
  3. Add the fabric, being careful in the corners to make sure there is no material hanging over.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the back of the chair and you soon have yourself a brand-new seat! 

Tips on buying cheap second-hand furniture online

To help savvy shoppers find the best deals on second-hand furniture online, Furniture Disposal London have also provided their top tips:

  1. Shop around: It’s important not to go for the first discounted item you see. Compare with other sites in other locations to see if you can get it any cheaper.
  2. Use spelling mistakes when searching: Usually those who make spelling mistakes in their listings will have less traffic to their items. This means that you won’t have to compete with other buyers!
  3. Meet safely face to face to review the item: Often online, people will try and cover up any imperfections, so make sure you see it in person, from a safe social distance before paying for it
  4. Don’t be afraid to ‘haggle’: Most online sellers will list higher prices to ‘test’ how much people will pay – ask them for the minimum they are willing to sell it for and negotiate around that.
  5. Look at what the seller has previously listed: This is to make sure they are legit. Be wary if they have ultra-cheap listings of multiple different items, as it could mean that they are not a legitimate seller, so make sure you check their reviews as well!

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