Before upcycling furniture, avoid these 6 common mistakes | the ReFab Diaries

Upcycling furniture can be a great way to make extra income and update your own pieces. While you don’t have to be a construction or design expert to engage in this activity, you still need to be cautious. Many have wasted money trying to upcycle furniture because they made some common mistakes. With research and careful planning, you can avoid these 6 common mistakes when upcycling furniture.



1. Buying unfixable pieces

If you buy pieces that you cannot easily repair yourself, it’s nearly impossible to properly upcycle them. Experienced furniture upcyclers have learned to look out for high-quality material furniture when searching for pieces. These days, furniture is mostly made out of cheap, mass-produced materials. When looking at second-hand markets and shops, look for old-style furniture made from real, high-quality, sturdy wood. Along with making sure the materials are reliable, don’t buy furniture that’s too damaged. When considering a piece, be sure about how you'll repair and refurbish it to a brand new condition. If you have little to no solutions, pass on the piece and search for something you can handle.

2. Starting without research

When trying out anything new, it’s crucial to do your research. Beginner's luck and going with the flow isn’t going to ensure success. Doing thorough research will help you understand what pieces to look out for, what tools to buy, and the current design trends you should be replicating. Learning about the factors that go into furniture upcycling will help you avoid wasting money, and giving up on your work. Before you start looking for furniture and working on pieces, learn as much as you can about the practice to be adequately prepared.

3. Forgetting to prepare a piece

No matter how clean and pristine a piece may appear, you need to prepare furniture as part of the upcycling process. This includes sanding, stripping away old paint, removing handles/doorknobs, and creating a fresh surface for you to work with. If you don’t go through the preparation process, your piece may end up looking rough and messy. When refurbishing an item, your end goal is to make it look and feel like a brand new version of itself.

4. Using the wrong products

Truthfully, refurbishing products like paint, primer, creams, and lacquer can be quite pricey. If you are using poor-quality options and the wrong products on a specific surface, your work will be wasted. Create a budget for products, and research the ones you need for the furniture you are upcycling. Then be sure to use the correct amount of the product, and read the instructions for proper application and dry times. Using products without knowing if they are suitable for a project is a horrible waste of money.

5. Feeling demotivated and uninspired

Furniture upcycling is a form of art and creation. If you aren’t inspired to work on the pieces you have, you probably won't get great results. Regardless of the style you choose when upcycling, art is art. While trendy, vintage, and minimalist pieces may be popular, everyone has their own take on what art they enjoy. This means if your pieces aren’t “picture perfect”, there will still be interest in your upcycled furniture. Don’t be scared to get creative, and take inspiration from fellow upcyclers.

6. Lack of advertising

Once you’ve completed pieces to sell, you need to find a place to advertise and sell them. Facebook marketplace, other resale apps, and social media can help you set up a store for your furniture upcycling business. Create a brand name so that you can begin working on developing a reputation and face for your business. It’s not necessary, but getting a logo and dabbling in some graphic design doesn't hurt. In any case, if you don’t take the time to advertise your business and develop a brand, you may miss out on success and potential customers.

Furniture upcycling is a fun but somewhat risky side hustle to attempt. Many start it because they want to make money or have a passion for refurbishing and upcycling. By avoiding these mistakes early on, you can have a wonderful start to your own furniture upcycling journey.

Writer Madline Miller works at Nursing Writing Service. Madeline writes about eco life.

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