People often ask me where I find my “stuff” to restore.
There are so many different avenues to finding your own funky furniture to makeover for your house, so I thought I’d share some of my secrets with you. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to furniture, all that matters is that you choose items that you love! Where do you go to source furniture to upcycle? You never know, there might be some places in this list, that you haven’t thought of yet to find furniture to paint or restore.
Click here for our handy downloadable PDF list of my Top Ten Places to Find Furniture to Restore!
1. Op shops or thrift stores such as (in Australia):
Vinnie’s, Salvo’s, Endeavour Foundation, Lifeline and more. Depending where you go, prices can vary on furniture items from bargains to ridiculous. I don’t like to pay a lot for pieces here unless it’s a really nice antique piece that I know I’m going to be able to add a lot of value to. Depending on the location, they really do vary in pricing.
If I’m out and about and have the time, I’ll type into my phone maps “op shops nearby” and it will come up with those close to your current location.
2. Recycle Centres:
A lot of our city dumps (okay, if you want to be all posh about it, you could call them “Waste Collection Stations”) have added a Recycling Centre to their sites. These have a lot of bargain pieces. Our local Recycle centre has a separate section for their “good stuff” or collectables where you’ll find more of the vintage or antique type pieces, but may pay a little extra for them. Look up the opening hours for these centres as you will find the most popular days are the first day where a hundred people might be lining up with you to get the best finds! (oh yeah, people can get a little crazy at these places!) Ours opens from Friday through to Monday each week, so you know you’re going to get the good stuff on Friday and less on Monday.
3. Dare I say it – Curb-side collection!
Ha ha. Some people do this, some are too embarrassed to be seen doing this, some sneak out at night to do this! Check your local council rules for picking up anything off the curb that people have placed out for council to pick up. Some places don’t allow you to do this – not sure why, ‘cuz I’d see it as doing the council a favour since they don’t have to pick up as much! People do throw out some AMAZING junk! If in doubt, just check with the people at the house it came from. They will most always give you permission to take it away. Then at least you feel like you’ve done the right thing by asking.
4. Friends and Family:
When people start to find out that you are looking for furniture to makeover, you can get some nice offers from family and friends who are getting rid of old bits and pieces. Spread the word and you never know! My sister & her husband were getting rid of a few of these old army boxes and wanted to know if I could use them. I saw the potential and you can view the full post on what I transformed them into HERE.
5. Antique Centres:
These are a wonderful place to go … to window shop! Antique Centres are full of amazing pieces of antique and vintage treasures, but generally not a place I’d go to find furniture to restore, as prices are marked at retail to sell and traders are understandably, wanting top dollar for their treasures. I am looking for bargains that I can do up to sell at these prices. But these are also a great place to go for inspiration! Antique Centres (or Antique Malls as they call them in the USA) have loads of beautiful antique and vintage treasures to drool over!! And you might still find something special and unique for your home while you’re there.
6. Garage Sales:
There are LOTS of garage sales around especially in the spring/summer months, where you can find great treasures for bottom dollar prices. Many people are happy to bargain with you at these places because they want to get rid of their items so they don’t have to pack it all up at the end of the day. The earlier you get there, the better the finds. But sometimes, at the end of the day, people are far more willing to go way down in price to get rid of things quickly, than at the start of the sale.
I found an amazing gentleman’s wardrobe one Sunday afternoon on the way home from church from a garage sale that was packing everything down. I scored it for $20 which I thought was a great deal as it was in excellent condition.
Look up garage sales online to find them in your local area.
7. Weekend Markets:
There are often second hand furniture stalls or people selling odds and ends at markets over the weekend. Check out The Market Guide, if you’re in Australia, and here’s our Queensland guide. They have a comprehensive list of what’s on where, state by state. Markets vary in types and variety of goods sold, so you may have to look further into each market’s website or facebook page to find out if you’ll actually find any second hand goods. Some markets cater more to food fare, while others are largely art and craft, and some have a great mixture of anything and everything.
8. Online classifieds such as Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Gumtree, Craigslist, etc.
Facebook Marketplace is fast becoming one of the more popular places online to pick up a bargain. People getting rid of all sorts of items. You can limit your search to your own area, or look broader interstate. I usually use search terms such as “Furniture”, “Antique”, “Collectables”.
Lots of pieces start at low bidding prices for auctions on Ebay and you can even find “buy it now” options at very reasonable prices. Just make sure you check descriptions carefully for any details to make sure you really want the item. If you have any questions you can usually ask the buyer through the website itself. Some people even allow you to inspect before buying. I usually search by “distance nearest” first and also look via a price range search for items under $20. You’d be surprised what shows up at starting bid prices as low as .99 cents. I bought this lovely antique wash stand off Ebay for $30 a few years ago:
9. In your own backyard!
Sometimes we have pieces of furniture right under our nose that can be given a makeover to upcycle into a fantastic piece to suite your living space. When I first started restoring I found an old cupboard in our garden shed that belonged to my grandfather many years ago. I was surprised at how well it transformed from a greasy tool cupboard to a gorgeous little cabinet that now takes pride of place in our home. You can find out more about that piece and the surprise I found while restoring it HERE.
10. Make your own furniture!
Pallet racks are found in so many places near industrial type areas or shopping centres, pet stores, or furniture stores. Make sure you check with centre managers or shop owners before helping yourself as companies re-use these pallets and return to pick them up. There are loads of exciting pieces of furniture and decor you can make with these and other random pieces of wood found lying around the place. But for this option, you need to be pretty handy with a hammer and some pallets are tricky to pull apart. Check out Pinterest for ideas or just Google “Pallet furniture” and you’ll come up with lots of inspirational ideas. Here’s just one idea:
7 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING FURNITURE TO RESTORE
You may also want to check out my post on things to look for when buying furniture to restore, HERE.
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Join me on my Facebook page, or one of the other social media sites using the icons on the top of this page. If you can think of any more options I may have missed, I’d LOVE to hear your feedback in the comments below. Where have you found furniture to paint or restore?
And where is YOUR favourite place to find them?
PS. Remember to get your FREE handy list of my TOP 10 Places to Find Furniture HERE.