Flipping furniture for profit is an increasingly-popular side hustle.
You can make good money on your own schedule, work with your hands, and potentially save items from the landfill with your upcycling efforts.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How furniture flipping works
- What types of furniture are easiest and fastest to flip
- How to refinish furniture (and where to learn more)
- How to make $150-250 per piece
- The equipment and supplies you need to get started
- Common mistakes to avoid
- What else you could flip for a profit
- and more!
Ready? Let’s do it!
How Furniture Flipping Works
Whether you’re a flipping furniture as a hobby, or trying to turn it into a full-time income stream, you’ll follow a similar process.
Each flip has several steps:
- Sourcing an item to flip
- Picking it up
- Refinishing it (if necessary)
- Photographing the item
- Creating your sales listing(s)
- Negotiating with buyers
We’ll cover each of those steps in this post.
Interview with a Pro Furniture Flipper
I sat down with Side Hustle Show listener Ryan Cron to learn more about his furniture flipping side hustle.
(Several of the pictures on this page are examples of his profitable flips!)
Ryan’s First Flip
Ryan first learned about furniture rehab and flipping from his wife. After watching her refinish their dining room table and a couple of their dressers, he decided to give it a shot himself.
“As a project, I went out and I got a dresser for about $30,” Ryan said. “She showed me how to paint it, do the hardware, and I flipped it about two days later. I think I listed it for about $150, and it sold within two hours.”
What Kind of Furniture to Look For
The furniture that has the best rehabbed value are solid wood pieces. Ryan recommended looking for items from the 70s or 80s (not that furniture necessarily has an official time stamp on it!).
He added that dressers are the easiest to start with — they’re rectangles! “With dressers, there’s a lot less going on, and you can get more painting done in a quicker amount of time. We found those to be best — it’s quicker to flip and you get more money for it.”
As far as price, look for items priced under $75. Your end goal is to not pay more than $50 per piece, but if you set your search filter to $75, you can often negotiate down to that $50 price point:
Furniture with a classic mid-century modern look can also sell well, but might be trickier to refinish for beginners.
What Kind of Furniture to Avoid
Equally important of knowing what to look for is knowing what kind of furniture to avoid.
Tops on that list is “fake wood” or particle board furniture. If you’ve ever tried to move an IKEA-anything you know it doesn’t hold up well in transportation.
In addition to durability problems, the style doesn’t lend itself to rehabbing or upcycling.
I’d also avoid antique items. Antique furniture don’t have a mass market appeal right now, and its owners may want more for it than it’s realistically worth.
And finally, steer clear of pieces that are overly ornate. Especially when you’re starting out, you want to get some quick, profitable flips under your belt, and that means NOT spending hours on the intricate details of a single item.
Where To Find Furniture to Flip
To flip furniture, you need to be able to find good deals in order to make money. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to source furniture.
Here are some of your best options.
1. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is the furniture flipping hot spot right now, as Ryan named it his #1 source for both buying and selling inventory.
You can search by keyword (like dresser, table, bookshelf, etc.) and set price limits.
If you live in or near a metro area, you’ll probably have no problem finding potential pieces to flip. “Last Sunday morning, I just went and looked on Marketplace and I found several dressers that I liked,” Ryan explained. “I went out and got two of them just in an hour.”
2. Yard Sales and Garage Sales
Yard sales and garage sales are a great place to look for furniture that is in good condition. Most of the time people hosting yard sales are looking to get rid of their stuff quickly—not make a ton of money.
This also means you may have a good chance of negotiating the price.
Craigslist is another great option for finding furniture. Since the site has been around forever, it’s a place that people are used to selling their stuff on.
Even though momentum is clearly shifting toward other marketplaces, there are still deals to be found here.
Craigslist even has a free section, but competition can be fierce. Ryan noted that when you do connect with a seller, ask if they have anything else they’re trying to get rid of.
He’s been able to source bundles of furniture inventory that way, faster and cheaper than driving all around town picking up individual items.
4. Estate Sales
Families hold estates sales to clear out furniture and belongings for deceased relatives. Since they’re often preparing a house for sale, these are often “everything must go” sales, which means you can find some bargains.
Check out EstateSales.net to find upcoming sales near you.
The popular OfferUp app is another buy-and-sell marketplace where you can find inventory locally. There’s a built-in messaging system and user profiles and ratings provide an extra layer of protection over Craigslist.
Sellers on OfferUp expect you to negotiate, so feel free to “make an offer.”
How to Restore Old Furniture
This is a great side hustle if you have some DIY skills or interests, but even if you don’t, there are 3 bits of good news for anyone thinking of starting a furniture flipping side hustle.
- Even if you’ve never done it before, you can learn anything you need to know on YouTube.
- The rustic farmhouse look that’s popular and profitable right now doesn’t demand perfection —in fact, imperfection makes it look more authentic!
- Your risks and startup costs are super low.
Here are some recommended YouTube resources:
- Furniture Flipping Teacher – Kindergarten teacher Lauren is on a mission to pay off her student debt one flip at a time.
- Thrift Diving – Serena’s channel is filled with DIY tips and project examples.
- How to Whitewash and Distress Furniture
Ryan mentioned that his pieces normally take 3 coats of paint, and each coat takes an hour to dry.
Another thing you can do to add value to your flips is to update the hardware (the handles on the dresser). This quick swap can change the look of the piece and help you command higher prices.
Furniture Flipping Tools and Supplies
Like any side hustle, there are a few “tools of the trade” in furniture flipping that you’ll need to do the work.
Chalk paint and brushes
First up, white chalk paint is a must-have if you’re going after the popular “rustic farmhouse” look.
According to Amazon, this brand of chalk paint was rated “best to distress”:
Plan on using a lot of that, and consider adding a clear coat to finish.
You’ll also need some brushes to apply all that paint, like this well-rated set:
Sander to distress
In the shabby chic world of farmhouse-style furniture, there’s such thing as being too perfect. In those cases, Ryan actually uses a sander to distress the wood and paint so it looks a little more rustic.
To protect the floor of your house, workshop, or garage, use a drop cloth. This could be an old sheet you have lying around or a thicker canvas one made to catch paint drips.
Access to a truck, SUV, or trailer
To transport larger pieces of furniture, you’re going to need a larger vehicle. (Furniture flipping may be a good way to make money with a truck.)
If you’re flipping items relatively infrequently, it might work to just borrow from friends or family, but if you’re sourcing consistently, you’re going to want your own means of transport.
A dolly might also come in handy to move heavier items!
Aside from that, you’ll need:
- Your phone to communicate with buyers and sellers (and to take pictures and create listings)
- A screwdriver to change hardware
- Space to work!
How Much Money Can You Make Flipping Furniture?
Furniture flippers like Ryan typically aim for $100-200 gross profit per item. This calculation is based on the final sales price minus your initial cost — it does not include your labor or materials.
At his peak, Ryan was flipping 5-6 pieces a week, which could net as much as $1000.
He added that your pricing power varies by location, with prices tending to be higher in higher cost of living areas.
Still, if you keep a pulse on the market, you’ll get a sense for what rehabbed furniture pieces are selling for near you.
One important note here is that this isn’t “passive income” by any means. Furniture flippers often have hours of labor into each item, including:
- Picking up
- Staging, photographing, and listing
- Communicating with buyers
If you’re interested in this side hustle, my suggestion would be to track your hours and earnings for your first few flips. Are you making $20-40+ per hour? Or are you sweating just to make minimum wage?
What if You Don’t Want to Do Any Refinishing Work?
If the idea of stripping, sanding, and painting furniture sounds awful, there’s still a way to make money flipping furniture.
In San Francisco, Claire McCann swears by her “5-minute rule.” As in, if it takes more than 5 minutes to clean and prep for sale, she’s not touching it!
When we spoke, she’d turned a $65 table set into over $35,000 in furniture flips — all by taking the proceeds and reinvesting the money into more pieces.
She specifically looked for mid-century modern, modern, and farmhouse styles from:
Her strategy is trying to purchase inventory for 50% or below retail value. For example, if she sees that a bookcase is listed new on the West Elm site for $799, she wants to buy it for $399 or less to maximize her profit spread.
Where to Resell Furniture
“Facebook Marketplace is my favorite sales channel right now,” Ryan explained.
You can also list your items on Craigslist or OfferUp, but Facebook is driving the majority of sales.
And because buyers’ interactions are linked to their Facebook account, you get fewer random tire kickers than you might see on Craigslist.
Furniture Flipping Tips
Ryan offered several tips to make your listings stand out from the competition and still make a great profit.
Take Excellent Pictures
First, Ryan explained the importance of taking great photos. He’ll stage the finished piece in a well-lit location in his house, and even put vases or other decorative items on top.
“How good are your pictures?” Ryan asked. “That’s the number one thing that that sells these pieces.”
Your photography helps potential buyers get a better sense for the dimensions — and helps them picture what the piece might look like in their home.
When most of your competition is taking crappy pictures in their garage, you’ll look like a pro.
Create Detailed Listings
To avoid answering the same questions over and over again via Messenger, provide as much detail as you can upfront.
For furniture, the most important thing you can include is every possible dimension measurement.
(Even when you do this, you’ll still get people showing up to your house expecting to fit your dresser into a Civic. But at least you’ll have tried!)
Price to Negotiate
On sales platforms like Facebook Marketplace, many buyers expect to negotiate the price down a bit. Because of that, I recommend pricing a little higher than what you’d ultimately like to sell for, to give yourself a bit of wiggle room.
Start with Simple Furniture
Ryan’s final furniture flipping tip was to start with simple furniture like dressers or small tables.
He told me a story of a rocking chair that was a huge pain with all the intricate details.
What Else Could You Flip for Profit?
Pieces of furniture certainly aren’t the only items you can flip for a profit. If this business model appeals to you, here are some similar ideas to consider.
Online Furniture Returns
What happens when someone orders a new mattress online, and they don’t like it? Often, the mattress brand turns to Sharetown — a “reverse logistics” provider — to pick it up.
Here’s where the side hustle comes in. As a Sharetown rep, you can actually profit from those returns by reselling them on Facebook marketplace. And the cool part is you don’t have to pay for any inventory upfront.
Sharetown reps make money by reselling gently-used furniture and bed-in-a-box mattresses. Top reps earn $4000+ per month.
- Low startup costs
- Great earning power
- No hunting for inventory
- Requires a truck or SUV
- Bulky items to store
- Not available in all areas
Flea Market Finds
I consider Rob Stephenson is a professional “money multiplier.” By buying low and selling high, the guy repeatedly turns $100 into $500 … or more!
I love hearing Rob’s awesome stories about the random stuff he finds and flips for big gains. And he’s turned it into a full-time, 6-figure business!
There’s an entire industry set up around flipping books. One guest of mine reported earning up to $4000 a month re-selling used books.
Another flipping business to explore is clearance arbitrage. In this model, you’re simply buying discounted items locally, and reselling them for a profit on Amazon.
Side Hustle Show guest Roberto Chavez reported earning $10,000 a month in cash flow from his unique land investing side hustle. He described his process to acquire vacant parcels on the cheap, often from distressed, out-of-state owners, and re-sell those on monthly installment plans.
Furniture Flipping: Your Turn
What do you think of the furniture flipping side hustle? Since inventory costs are so low, it’s a pretty low risk business to experiment with.
And if you’ve ever rehabbed a dresser for a profit, let me know in the comments below!
Big thanks to Ryan for sharing his insight!
Serious About Making Extra Money?
- Start Your Free $500 Challenge. My free 5-day email course shows you how to add $500 to your bottom line.
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- Download The Side Hustle Show. My free podcast shares how to make extra money with actionable weekly episodes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Best Kind of Furniture to Flip for a Profit?
Look for solid-wood furniture from the 1970s or 1980s. Mid-century pieces can also work but may be more difficult for beginners to refinish (if necessary). Avoid particle board or IKEA-style furniture.
Is Furniture Flipping Profitable?
Yes, furniture flipping can be profitable. Your profits are determined by your ability to source inexpensive furniture to refinish, the time and materials it takes you to refinish, and how much those pieces can ultimately sell for.