Flipping furniture is a great way for a DIY enthusiast to make a bit of extra cash on the side, however, you need to know what to look for so that you pick items which generate a decent profit.

Always try and price out a repair estimate in your head before you buy a piece of furniture. This obviously gets easier as you become more experienced but just try to imagine what needs to be done, what hardware you need to repair it, what needs to be replaced and most importantly how much you think you could sell it for. If you can’t sell it for more than what you bought it for and there is a lot of work and hardware that needs to go into it then its obviously not a good choice for a flip.

Try to plan out if are able to add anything to the original piece. For example, if you find an old narrow table, you could consider adding a shelf to the bottom and turn it into an accent or side table. This works best if you are planning on painting the item in a colour as it will be difficult to match wood types for staining.

Dovetails

Dovetails by Jordanhill School D&T Dept

Look for high quality woodwork. High quality woodwork is a good start for any item of furniture as it is built solidly and this usually means the wood is a good quality as well. The tell tale areas to look at are the attachment of legs to a table surface and at the sides or drawers. Are the edges dovetailed? Dovetailing is a signature of good woodwork and required a good quality solid wood to work properly. Solid wood can easily be sanded down and stained a new colour for a fresh look.

Don’t pay attention to the chips, nicks or scratches, these are all easy to repair and cover up. Missing or damaged knobs, pulls and hinges are easy to replace. Rather look at the piece of furniture as a whole. How will it look once it has been refurbished, is the shape and detail good? Any major cracks, splits or broken legs are usually deal breakers. Don’t buy anything you are not confident you can fix.

Missing Veneer

Chipped Veneer by b o w n o s e

Items with chipped or missing pieces of veneer are usually great finds, they are usually very well priced because the missing veneer is unsightly and as long as the missing portion is not too big, they are easy to fix with a bit of wood filler or Bondo. If the veneer is almost entirely coming off, have a look at the wood underneath, if it is solid wood then you may be able to peel the veneer off and just sand the solid wood underneath for a new surface.

Cover image: OldFrenchFurniture by French Finds. All images in this post are used under CC BY 2.0

flipping furniture