Looking for tips and tricks on how to flip furniture? Wondering what the best furniture to flip is? Read more to know how to pick the best pieces to flip, and what you should avoid if you are hoping to make a profit.
In my 10+ years of being a DIY and Home Decor blogger, I have given countless pieces of furniture a complete makeover.
I’ve also sold many of them with a nice profit when I no longer had a use for them.
If you are thinking of decorating your home with second-hand finds, or want to get started in the furniture flipping business I have some tips for you.
There are some important things to consider when choosing the best furniture to flip. Flipping furniture for a profit is balancing the initial investment of money and time with the potential for an easy and lucrative sale.
Don’t make the mistake of purchasing cheap furniture to flip or give a makeover. If you start out with the wrong piece of furniture you’ll likely end up wasting a lot of time and effort in order to get a worthwhile result. Choosing the right furniture to start with – even at a higher starting price – will give you a much better result and outcome.
But, what is the best furniture for flipping? Read this article if you are interested in learning about the best furniture to flip.
Most important things to consider when choosing furniture to flip
While there are pros and cons to flipping any kind of furniture under the sun, “best” for us is determined by the ease and availability of flipping for the cost of purchase.
As mentioned flipping furniture is a balancing act of the time, money, and effort that you have to invest upfront with the potential for selling and profit that comes after.
Hunting down the right pieces of furniture, repairing, updating, and getting them ready for selling all costs time and money. You want to minimize your initial investment. At the same time, you want to maximize your chances of finding the right seller who is willing to pay a good price quickly.
So here are the most important things to consider when choosing furniture to flip:
Easy to Find
When assessing what pieces will be good candidates for flipping, consider what’s plentiful in your area. If you’re in a coastal area, you may find more wicker or deck furniture at thrift stores and yard sales. If you’re in a mountain/forested town, you’re likely to find more sturdy hardwood pieces that lean rustic in style. Don’t get your heart set on something rare, as it will drive the cost up on the front end, making the flip less practical.
Easy to Restore/Update
Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and know your skillset and how much time you’re willing to put in. If you’re flipping for profit and not to keep, shoot for pieces that require minimal work; a fresh coat of paint, replacing the hardware, installing new feet, buffing out scuffs. These updates are all reasonably simple to tackle and take maybe twenty minutes to half an hour between coats/steps. Consider the effort-for-reward ratio. Avoid bug-infested furniture at all costs. We wrote a guide to avoiding, treating, and preventing bugs in old furniture, that might be helpful.
Related Reading: Easy Makeover Dining Table Becomes Outdoor Garden Table
Easy to Sell
Similar in concept to the “finding” tip: know your market for resale. Observe what is popular and trending in your area, in your neighbors’ homes, and in local stores. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, instead, just do what works! You might find a gorgeous victorian desk and restore it beautifully, but that could be hard to sell in, say, Miami Beach, FL. Consider demand, and offer supply!
Across the board, solid wood pieces and metal pieces should be your go-to’s. They are the most durable options and the easiest to update. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out the quality of a piece you’ll find in a thrift store, especially when it is covered in layers of paint. But there are a few Heavy means solid wood. If the piece is heavy that usually means it is made of solid wood, and solid wood is good.
Dovetail joints. Always check the drawers, if you see dovetail joints it is a sure sign of a quality build.
Scratch resistant. If the piece has a lot of scratches and marks, check how deep they run. Superficial scratches are easy to fix, but if there are many and they are deep this might indicate a softer wood that is of lesser quality and harder to repair.
Best types of furniture to flip for profit
- Small tables
- Tables and desks
Small tables and side tables are furniture pieces needed in every home for different purposes, so you really can’t go wrong with these. Since they are small they also don’t require a lot of time to restore and update.
Related reading: How to paint mahogany furniture
Nearly every bedroom I’ve ever been in also has a dresser in it, so dressers are absolutely a good idea to flip- provided they aren’t made from particle board or another flimsy material.
If you find the perfect dresser to flip but it has a musty smell don’t despair. There are several home remedies to deodorize old furniture.
Related reading: How to remove decorative trim from furniture
Other bedroom pieces that are a flip for profit success are nightstands. Most people like matching nightstands, so if you can find an attractive set that is a major plus. However, you can also create a matching set of nightstands yourself when you find two single ones that have enough in common.
Dinner and Dining tables are also a good choice, as are small desks. Tables and desks are hardworking pieces of furniture. To make sure that the table tops are durable and lasting make sure that you choose the right kind of finish.
Related reading: Pine Dining Table Makeover
Unique and standout buffet tables/sideboards/credenzas and TV or entertainment stands are trending, and are popularly searched-for items.
Related reading: Ikea TV Stand Makeover
A final tip for choosing what furniture pieces to flip: consider the last time you moved- what were the first pieces of furniture you knew you absolutely needed to have for your home to be functional? Those are probably the same pieces others will be looking for as well!
What pieces of furniture to Avoid
Now that you know the best pieces of furniture to flip, it is time to consider what pieces to avoid. Sometimes you’ll see a piece of furniture that looks so inviting to flip that you are ready to buy it immediately. But always take that extra minute and review whether it falls in any of these categories. If it does, step away and avoid it at all cost. These are the pieces of furniture to avoid when trying to flip for a profit.
Low quality – mass-produced
Thrift stores are full of cheap furniture pieces that might have some potential for future use but that are simply not good sales opportunities. All the low-quality and mass-produced pieces fall under this category. How to know whether it is low-quality furniture? Simply look for these characteristics:
Lightweight. If it is lightweight it almost certainly is made with particle board, plywood, or fiberboard
Nailed and stapled. If the backs are nailed or stapled and the drawers are glued or screwed it is probably a mass-produced piece.
Laminated finish. Laminated furniture can be given a makeover quite easily. For personal use, I have done it multiple times with good results. But if and when you are planning to sell the piece I would avoid the laminated furniture. It is never made of solid wood, it usually isn’t that sturdy and it is not what people are looking for when shopping secondhand. Laminated furniture is usually so cheap people just rather buy it new.
Unless you have an industrial Ozone machine in your home to fully deodorize any fabric and cushions, it’s best to avoid couches, armchairs, and other upholstered items. It just won’t be worth your time, and there’s no guarantee that others will be interested in the style of the piece- as they can be challenging to update.
Outdated furniture like wall units meant for small box-style TVs will be challenging to flip. These items were designed to accommodate technology that’s since become obsolete or changed form and will have less appeal in a modern home.
If the furniture piece is smelly, moldy, or too wonky simply avoid it. Although there are ways to get rid of smells in furniture, it can be complicated and takes a lot of time. A missing knob or a wonky foot is easy to fix, but if the whole thing is about to fall apart the initial time investment to fix it can usually not be recovered in sales price. With the enormous amount of available furniture to flip it is just not worth it to go for the difficult pieces.
Now if you are looking to give the piece a makeover to use in your own home, you might be willing to spend the time and effort to fix a really old and battered piece because you see the potential. But if you are meaning to flip it, go for the easier pieces.
Have fun and Happy Flipping!
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