If you are thinking of purchasing new furniture for your home or office, you might want to think again! Buying new furniture might not be the most economical or environmentally-friendly option. There are three other options available: used, recycled, and refurbished furniture. Used furniture is purchased as-is, while recycled furniture is made in whole, or in part, from recycled products. Then there is refurbished furniture, which is used furniture that has been given a new lease of life. Purchasing refurbished furniture is environmentally-friendly, often cost-effective, and a great way to have unique pieces in your home. There are several different techniques that can be used in the refurbishing process, this usually depends on the type of furniture you're working with. For example, wood furniture can be refinished whereas upholstered furniture, like chairs or sofas, may need to be reupholstered with new fabric. It's possible to refurbish furniture yourself but depending on the scale of the project it might be worth enlisting the help of a professional.
Furniture that was well-constructed to begin with is often worth refurbishing. Damaged or stained wood or fabric is not a good reason to discard a piece of furniture. If the piece is made of solid wood or has a good frame beneath the fabric, it is a good option to refurbish furniture in this condition. It's possible to strip an old finish, repair scratches, remove stains, and apply a new finish to wood furniture such as tables and chairs. You can also remove old, stained, fabric and reupholster chairs and couches in vibrant new materials. Refinishing or reupholstering furniture will take more time and effort than simply purchasing a new piece, but it also keeps furniture out of the landfill and leads to the creation of unique pieces that no one would know were refurbished.
Refurbished furniture looks great in residential homes, but it is also an environmentally-friendly and economical option for businesses looking to reduce their environmental footprint and to save on the costs of furnishing their facilities. Many universities, colleges, schools, and other businesses already use refurbished office furniture. Some facility management departments advise using refurbished office furniture and provide guidelines for how to do so. There are also companies that can help businesses design their office space using refurbished furniture.
You can buy refurbished furniture directly, or you can find suitable pieces in thrift stores or on online swap sites. Look for pieces that are structurally sound and worth investing in. Fabric for reupholstering can also be repurposed, for example by using an old pair of curtains to reupholster a chair cushion. Most city governments will also be able to provide information about recycling or repurposing used furniture. Refurbishing is a wonderful way to save an old piece of furniture from the trash heap and a great way to express your creativity in design.
To find out more about refurbished furniture check out these great resources:
- Cleaning, Repairing, and Reconditioning Wood Furniture (PDF)
- Restoring Existing Wood Finishes and Hardware
- How to Save Upholstered Furniture, Carpet, and Bedding (PDF)
- Upholstering a Chair
- How to Restore Tired-Looking Furniture
- New York City: Reuse, Recycle
- Furniture Remanufacturing and Energy Savings (PDF)
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (PDF)
- Salvaging Household Furniture (PDF)
- Cost-Effectiveness for Schools (PDF)
- Furniture Refinishing and Restoration
- Reupholstering Chairs and Sofas: Everything You Need to Know
- 14 Reupholstery Tips from a Pro
- Tips for Reupholstering Furniture
- How to Refinish Furniture the Easy Way - Video
- Introduction to Furniture Refinishing
- How to Remove Stains and Discoloration from Wood Furniture
- Buying Used Furniture Can Save You Money and Make Your Home Distinctive
- Weigh Value of Furniture before Reupholstering
- Recycled, Reused, or Refurbished
- Refurbished Office Furniture
- Rethink Recycling: Office Furniture and Panel Systems
- Facility Manager: Refurbishing Furniture
- Furniture Repair Tips
by: Kylie Richardson