If you’ve never fixed an older piece of furniture, making it look brand new, you haven’t lived yet, honestly. What started as a “fun” hobby has become a full-time income for me. Flipping furniture from home isn’t just fun, it makes me money too and it can do the same for you.
My sister started me on the hobby, and honestly, I thought she was crazy. Sure, it looked like a fun hobby, but nothing that I could make money doing. That was until I gave it a try. After just a few pieces, I was hooked.
I quickly found that flipping furniture was not only therapeutic but addicting too and so the obsession began. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to flip furniture and if you could make an income doing it, keep reading.
What does flipping furniture mean?
Flipping furniture is just as it sounds. You buy old, inexpensive furniture that looks like it’s outlived its usefulness and bring it back to life. To say that it’s uplifting is an understatement. You take this piece of furniture that would likely be at the curb soon and turn it into a beautiful and useful piece of furniture.
Not only is it useful, but you can sell it for more than you paid for it, pocketing the profit. It’s an active form of income, but it’s fun too, so you may enjoy it like I do.
How flipping furniture works: 10 steps
1. Take a furniture flipping course
The easiest and fastest way to learn how to flip furniture is to take a furniture flipping course like this one from Flipper University .
In this course, you learn from the pros the do’s and don’ts of flipping furniture. Sometimes seeing firsthand what you should and shouldn’t do, how to get started, and the possibilities with flipping furniture helps you get going much faster.
2. Know where to buy furniture
Buying the right furniture means more than finding “cheap” furniture. Yes you should find furniture that doesn’t cost much money, but it needs certain features too. Not all pieces are able to be fixed up and sold for more than a few dollars.
Here are my favorite places to buy furniture to flip.
Yard sales and estate sales
If you live in an area with many yard sales or estate sales, become an expert at scouring them to find the best furniture. Remember, someone else’s trash could be your treasure or key to big profits.
Flea markets or thrift stores
Don’t discount the value of sifting through flea markets and thrift stores. It’s a hunt for sure, but it can be fun. Once you get the hang of which stores get the best products or even certain sellers at flea markets, you’ll get better about finding furniture fast.
You can even find great furniture to flip online on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and even Freecycle.
3. Learn how to spot fake wood
It’s easy to fall for “fake wood” furniture. You may even find sellers that convince you the products are real. Learn how to tell for yourself to avoid particle board or MDF furniture since they are worthless and won’t last.
In the Flipper University course, you’ll learn how to spot furniture that’s real wood, so you don’t lose time and money in your business.
4. Get the right tools
You’ll obviously need paint to refinish furniture, but there are plenty of other tools too. Most are basic, like sandpaper and a sander, but you’ll also need painter’s tape, a paint stripper, and possibly a heat gun.
As far as paint goes, my favorites are Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Fusion Mineral Paint. They are on the pricier side, but you get what you pay for. When you’re experienced, you can likely get a few pieces of furniture out of one quart.
5. Constantly learn new techniques
Once you master one technique, try another. YouTube is a great resource to watch people using the latest techniques. Follow other furniture flippers on Instagram and Pinterest, too, so you can get even more ideas.
6. Create an online presence
I think setting up a Facebook business page is the best, but you can also set up an Instagram or even Pinterest page. The key is to have somewhere to show off your work — pictures are worth 1,000 words.
The best thing about any of these accounts is that it’s free. So unless you decide to pay for advertising, it won’t cost you a dime.
When posting pictures, though, make sure they are high-quality and show your pieces in their best light. You could even take them with your smartphone. Just play around with the different options until you get great photos.
7. Stay active on your business pages
Don’t make your business pages all about selling. Let your followers see what goes on behind the scenes. Share fun details about finding the right pieces of furniture or even share footage of your mistakes.
Show your followers you are a real person and aren’t just out for the sale but want to create a like-minded community of furniture lovers.
8. Find other places to sell your furniture
You don’t have to just sell your furniture online. Instead, do a quick search in your area and find vintage markets, craft shows, or other venues where you can show off your work and let the local community know what you do.
9. Consider taking on custom orders
Once you’re experienced enough, consider accepting custom orders. This is a great way to get repeat customers because you’re giving them exactly what they want. Most people that want a custom job already have the furniture they want refinished, such as grandma’s old chest or a dresser from a great aunt.
They turn to you for your expertise which could be a great way to grow your furniture flipping business even faster.
10. Decide if you’ll ship or deliver products
If you are willing to travel a bit or don’t mind shipping larger objects, you can expand your business even further by offering shipping or delivery. Before you do, think about what you’re comfortable with and set the boundaries in writing on your business page.
This way, there’s no question about what you will and will not do, and you won’t be faced with difficult “in the moment” decisions.
The benefits of flipping furniture for income
I know you have many opportunities for side hustles, but the benefits of flipping furniture for income are hard to beat.
You can make money fast
As soon as you finish your first piece of furniture and sell it, you’ve made money. It’s not like starting a blog or podcast where you have to build up an audience and monetize your channel before making money.
You won’t get rich right away, but seeing how easy it is to make money makes it a lot easier to spend your free time repainting or reupholstering furniture.
It doesn’t cost much to start it
You don’t need a lot of equipment to start flipping furniture and most of the tools you may already have. Buying a few quarts of paint and finding the right piece of furniture is truly all you need to get going.
Once you get bigger, you may need more tools or want an inventory of furniture to work on, but to start. It takes very little money.
You work when you want
The beauty of flipping furniture for income is you do it when you want. You can flip one piece of furniture a month or several—it’s up to you. If you take on custom or direct orders, though, you’ll be on more of a time schedule but you dictate how long turnaround is and when you’ll deliver the finished product.
If you aren’t working with direct customers, you can work on the furniture when you have a free moment and feel like it.
It’s satisfying and addicting
Honestly, before I fixed up my first piece of furniture, I had no idea how satisfying or addicting it would be. Once I looked at the before, and after pictures, though, I was hooked. It’s also satisfying because you’re doing good for the environment by repurposing furniture that otherwise may have landed in the landfill.
Anyone can learn how to flip furniture
Even if you’ve never painted anything in your life, you can learn how to flip furniture. Taking the Flip University course is a great way to start, but hands-on experience is good too. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try it!
How to make the largest profits flipping furniture
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely want to learn how to make the largest profits flipping furniture. Here are some great tips to get you on your way.
Choose the right furniture
Like I talked about earlier, you must use real wood furniture. Don’t fall for “fake wood” products. You will pay too much for the furniture and won’t make your money back.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the prices with sellers too. Ask sellers for their best price if you are buying the furniture rather than finding it on the curb. You might be pleasantly surprised. Just make sure you know what the pieces are worth. It’s a good idea to work with someone who has done this before to get the hang of finding the best furniture.
Know where to find the right furniture to fix
When you’re out and about, always be looking for furniture. You never know when you’ll stumble across a local yard sale, estate sale, or even a piece of furniture on the curb.
Spread the word too. Tell friends and family what you’re up to. You never know when they might come across the perfect piece of furniture at an amazing price.
Know how to price flipped furniture
Pricing flipped furniture can be one of the hardest tasks. It’s natural to price it low, so you sell it, but then you might not make your money back. Before you price it, think about this:
- How much did the piece of furniture cost to buy?
- What was the cost of supplies?
- How much did it cost to transport the furniture to you?
- Will you ship the item to the customer?
- What did marketing cost you to find the right customer?
Next, consider how much time you put into it and how much you want to earn per hour. The average furniture flipper makes $30 an hour, but you can set your own rates and price the pieces according to what you spent on them, and the time you put into it, leaving room for profit.
Before you finalize your price, check out the prices of comparable products. Look on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to see what people pay to make sure you’re within the right ballpark.
Know where to sell flipped furniture
If you live in an area where yard sales and flea markets are popular, you may make your biggest money selling in person. But if your area isn’t big on those events, you may have more luck selling your furniture online on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, or your Facebook business page.
5 ways to make the most out of your furniture flipping side gig
Once you start your furniture flipping side gig, you’ll likely want to keep it going. Here’s how to get the most out of your new gig.
Write attractive descriptions
Your pictures might sell your flipped furniture, but words help too. Give the story behind the piece of furniture and paint the picture of what you did to transform the piece to its current beautiful state. Share ideas of how you can use the furniture or in rooms it would look great in to get more people to see it. Use keywords that most people would use when looking for the type of furniture you’re selling.
Spread the word
Don’t keep quiet about your new passion. Let everyone know. Word-of-mouth is often the best form of marketing next to social media. Don't be afraid to share your pictures on your personal social media page too.
The more people that know about what you do, the more they can send others that they know looking for a specific product your way.
Offer great customer service
Just like any business, you must provide great customer service if you want people to come back or refer friends/family. Really listen to what they want, discuss your options, and stay in contact with them throughout the process, so they know how it’s going and when to expect their piece.
Take great pictures
Of course, you can’t sell furniture without pictures. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this either. Get some good lighting, find the perfect angle for your project and take pictures from different sides to show off what you have to sell.
Always buy a good piece of furniture when you see one
Even if you aren’t on the hunt for a piece of furniture, but you stumble across one, buy it. You never know when you’ll need it and may not be able to find it again. I find that I go in waves. Sometimes I see great furniture everywhere, and other times it takes me weeks to find the right piece for a project.
The final word on flipping furniture from home
Flipping furniture from home is a great side gig to make money and have fun. I love it because it’s therapeutic, environmentally friendly, and makes me money. Not all income streams are as fun as this one, so take advantage of how much fun you can have and make some money flipping furniture.