How to get free furniture ?

This topic is particularly close to my heart as I consider myself a master of finding lovely furniture absolutely for free. And we are not talking about some damaged, cheap or tacky flat-pack but a lovely, good quality, proper old furniture… well at least these are the ones that I tend to go for.

It’s been one of those weekends (to be honest a second one in the row) when I’ve been sanding, painting and painting once again, researching new ideas, colours and finishes for some pieces that I’ve been working on. I’ve finally finished the makeovers of a dining table, large display cabinet and chest of drawers. But still a few unfinished projects await not to mention all the ones that are waiting in the attic totally untouched… Tonight my wrists are sore from working that wax brush hard and it’s been a long DIY day but I’m happy with the results. You appreciate much more the furniture that you transformed yourself especially as this makes the one-off pieces. And bearing in mind furniture that I’ve been working on, it’s time to finally write a post: From trash to treasure – how to get furniture for free?

When I look around my house the large part of my furniture are a second-hand, old/vintage/antique pieces which I got absolutely for free. Tables, chairs, armchairs, sofas, chest of drawers, display cabinets, bed, wardrobe, steamer trunk, the list goes on – you name it – all good quality furniture that I got for free.

In a separate article series I will be covering some of the ideas, makeovers, renovation and painting techniques of furniture, but for now let’s focus on how you can get some good pieces absolutely for free.

Here are few ways of getting furniture for free:

  1. Freecycle – a non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighbourhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Just go to https://www.freecycle.org/ website and search for your town.

I must say though that every area varies. For example: when I was in London there was a huge volume of fantastic as well as rather horrible / totally rubbish pieces on offer so you had to filter through to find treasures. Also the volume of people looking for stuff was larger therefore you had to be quick to get the offer as the turnaround was very fast.

In the Cambridge area I found there were many fantastic opportunities as the number of people looking for free things on freecycle was  lower comparing to London and I guess there were more wealthy people (judging by the pick-up addresses) so the pieces were great.

On the other hand, freecycle is not very popular in Somerset where I moved a year ago, so you just need to try and get to know your area.

2. Second-hand furniture shops / house clearance companies – You might notice in your area some stores that sell used furniture. Those places often look like charity shops selling random pieces. Most of the stores like this also do house clearances where they might get a whole truck load of furniture in one go and not necessarily have a space to keep all the pieces. This being the case the furniture will be left outside the store, often clearly labelled: free. You will need some luck and good timing for spotting a piece and a car ready to collect. Have a chat with your local store owner to check if they do things like this, as it’s often in their interest to get rid of unwanted items.

3. Neighbourhood network websites – only last week I got a beautiful, large dining table with chairs, beautiful wood carvings and the perfect style and size for my dining room, absolutely for free. Table and chairs were so lovely that I couldn’t believe that someone wanted to take it to the dump. With some elbow grease, paint and wax I’ve got a stunning dining table that can seat 12 people. You can guess I was over the moon when I got it. Former streetlife now nextdoor, kahuti websites, local neighbourhood facebook groups & fb marketplace, these are the places where you can find plenty of offers and adds for things that people want to give away for free in your local area. You can either subscribe to email notifications or check for new adverts on a regular basis.

4. If you don’t ask, you don’t get – it’s worth a try to let your family and friends know if there is a particular thing you are looking for or if they can check with you before taking some unwanted furniture to a tip. This rule also applies to freecycling and neighbourhood network sites.

I’ve been dreaming about a proper old steamer trunk so I could upcycle it into a coffee table a few years back but those on ebay were either too expensive or too far for collection. So I tried my luck with the streetlife website and pretty quickly I had two messages from people that had steamer trunks in their attic and didn’t mind giving them away for free.

 

I also find that some people just have no time or energy to clear their attics or basements packed with unwanted furniture. You might have neighbours, friends or members of family that would like to give away some furniture to clear their houses but they are just not advertising it, so you asking might be a welcomed help to them. Especially when refurbishing homes or selling houses, people tend to get rid of the furniture. Remember – one’s rubbish is another’s treasure.

 

 

5. Curb side, skip and tip – it can also be surprising what can you find on a curb side but you will need a bit of luck with that. You can also do your homework and check when larger items are collected for a disposal in your area and for example pick a good neighbourhood and try your luck in finding something. And hey, there is no shame in finding furniture on the street – this only shows thrift flare and ingenuity! You can also get some great finds from skips – especially when grand, big houses are being refurbished.

Tips are another place where you could find furniture for free but check with the staff first as I found that different rules apply to various places, where you can pick up whatever you wish in some and other will recycle / sell on things.

When I think back about freecycling and how many lovely furniture pieces I got for free, it’s not only the furniture but also the home accessories, garden furniture, patio tiles, plants and even brand new taps… you can get everything and anything for your home when you know where to look. But always remember that everything works both ways, it’s also nice to give. And a little courtesy for a given item such a thank you card, chocolates, wine or little something will always be most appreciated.

 

Good luck and happy freecycling!

 

 

6 thoughts on “How to get free furniture ?

  1. There are some good tips here, I must say I never got anything for free but at car boot sales you can find some beauties at extremely low prices ; ) I can’t wait to see your transformations!

    1. Thank you Anne 🙂 oh I love car boot sales! I agree – especially in the end of the car boot sales you can get super low prices so it’s worth to hang around till the end but then you have the dilemma of missing on some good pieces that might go fast at the start… I would be happy to see people finding some free treasures after reading my post! And my furniture transformations will be coming up soon – just got to finish some painting here and there around the house and style them nicely for the pictures 😉 You know how it is when you have so many ongoing DIY projects… Just as I thought that I’m done with my dining room – there is still ceiling rose being painted this morning (blagged hubby to do that this morning) and then finishing off the skirting boards… it’s never-ending but I love it 🙂

  2. Great tips Marta! I’ve never heard about freecycling. Will have to try this! I did find a cool midcentury chair on a street once 🙂

  3. I can’t believe my luck! I’ve joined freecycle (London) after reading your blog and this afternoon I collected a leather chesterfield sofa which I got totally free! I needs a little of leather wipes treatment but I always fancied one but couldn’t afford it. It adds so much character to my living room and… my old tired Ikea sofabed is being collected by a young couple this evening ! More tips on thrifty interior decoration please Martha! yaay! I’m so happy with my new sofa! Have a good weekend x

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