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Make Money Upcycling Furniture

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Side Hustle Guide

Make Money Upcycling Furniture

Here is the first instalment in my side hustle series, where I share how I have made extra money in my spare time!

How I started to make money upcycling furniture

I began upcycling furniture when I moved into a ground-floor flat alone and didn’t want to spend much money on furniture. 

I started finding older pieces on Gumtree & eBay that were cheap – that I could paint or varnish to spruce up. I would look to see what was on trend and then increase the chances of selling.

I tried to take the best photos possible (photos are everything) and stage the furniture as though it is being used.

How I started to make money upcycling furniture

Once I edited the photos I would write a helpful description listing its uses, any quirky features, its history & that it can be delivered by courier anywhere in the country for a fee (this opens up your audience)

Have a look at other listings and copy how they have worded things and the keywords they have used in their titles. Once you have sold something – if you are using a courier then make sure you package it up in lots of bubble wrap!

Take photos of the packaging just in case the receiver complains and you can then take it up with the courier.


This piece was an old wooden tea caddy that was run down and boring. I sanded it down using my mouse sander, used a blue tester pot for the base, found a design I loved on an Anthropologie tea towel and copied it. I added varnish on top to protect the paint and sold it via Etsy for £90.

In this kind of work, it’s helpful if you enjoy being creative and doing practical work. This suited me well so it pushed me to work hard at it. Pinterest was my main source of inspiration.

There are so many examples on there so I created some boards to put in what I liked and what I could recreate or adjust slightly.

Try and find cheap tools to start on eBay or Facebook – I have a drill, mouse sander, stencils, posca pens, little pots of paint, quirky door knobs and some varnish

How much can you make upcycling furniture?

The most I ever spent on some furniture to do up was about £20. You need to keep this low as you want to make the maximum amount of profit.

This coffee table was bought for £2 at a charity shop. It was orange pine, I stripped it using a sander and drew a leaf design on freehand with a posca pen. Varnished it in a matt varnish then painted the legs a bold red. Sold via Etsy for £80 to London.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get started?

Start small and with a simply made item. Try and get the furniture as cheaply as possible to get the maximum return. Make sure you have space to do the painting and also to store it whilst you are waiting for it to be sold.

Photos are key to getting it sold – set the furniture up and take lots of photos of all angles.

Ask friends or family if they have any old furniture they don’t want so you can practice starting – practice makes perfect!

Tips & Tricks

Don’t buy the expensive paint – I have mainly used tester pots so I have lots of different colours available at any time Invest in posca pens to draw on designs – draw in pencil first!

Get some suitable matt varnish to make your pieces pop.

Live auctions are fun – in my local auction, I asked if I could have any leftover furniture they didn’t sell as they usually just burn this! Be cheeky – you never know what you will get.

People like different – don’t go for boring as this has been done before – I used hand-drawn designs and bright colours on my legs to make things quirky and arty. (posh people love this stuff!)


If you like this guide, my next side hustle series will be about Cat Sitting!

I have a brand new ebook for sale!

Amazing inside info on how to earn £500+ a month just doing Market Research.

Get it on Etsy here