Revamp and reuse: 5 essential tips for donating or upcycling old furniture

Shauna Coates

August 3, 2022

Research carried out by home furnishings retailer Hammonds, found that Brits throw away £2.2 billion homeware items every year.

Much like ‘fast fashion’, ‘fast furniture’ is rising in popularity due to social media trends and a throwaway consumer culture. ‘Fast furniture’ refers to items of furniture with a short lifecycle that are bought and thrown away within a short time period, often made from cheap or non-durable materials.

Throwing away furniture is detrimental to the environment, with most items of furniture that are disposed of often ending up in landfill. It is also difficult to recycle most items of furniture due to them being made up of lots of different materials. The recycle-more team has put together some top tips on how you can make your furniture consumption more sustainable:

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure

If you find yourself about to throw out items of furniture that you no longer want, consider whether they could be donated to someone else to make use of. Charity shops, schools, and community groups all welcome old furniture donations that are still in good condition. So, whilst you might not love the old armchair that grandma gifted to you, there might be somebody who will! You can pop into your local school, charity shop or community space and ask if they would like to take your old furniture, giving you more space and making the new owners of your old furniture happy!

Shop second hand

Not only is donating old furniture a great way to reduce furniture waste, so is shopping second-hand! Charity and vintage shops often have lots of items of furniture which are still in good condition for affordable prices, which saves having to build a new flat pack from scratch. You could even buy old furniture that has seen better days and restore or upcycle this yourself. There are plenty of tutorials online which demonstrate how to do this and you can even put your own personal style on to items this way. Bringing us to our next tip…

Upgrade your furniture game by upcycling

One way to keep up with trends without buying ‘fast furniture’ items is to upcycle the items you already have! It could be as simple as giving your coffee table a new lick of paint or upholstering one of your dining chairs. Upcycling is a great way to enhance what you already have. The possibilities are endless, and most hobby stores sell all the equipment you would need to upcycle furniture. You can even search for step-by-step guides and videos to help you along the way, or you could freestyle it and make something really unique. Either way, upcycling is a great way to reduce furniture waste and improve the look of your home. Check out Pinterest for some upcycling inspiration. 

Generation rent

It is quite common for furniture trends to change over short periods of time. If you do want to keep up, why not try renting? By renting your furniture on a monthly basis, you can easily swap and change items to follow along with the trends, without having to always buy new and throw away items when they aren’t trendy anymore. Check out Switch Rentals, who offer a wide range of furniture to rent on their website.

Check out the Reuse Network

You can donate your old furniture and appliances to the Reuse Network, who partner with charities to provide furniture and goods to vulnerable people in society. Donating your old furniture to the Reuse Network diverts it from landfill and can really improve the lives of people in need. Their message is simple, reuse matters. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Shauna Coates, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.