DIY Ways to Save on Home Furnishings

Posted by on Nov 29, 2022

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Furnishings can be a big expenditure in your life. The pricetags on beds, sofas, and even dressers easily run into thousands of dollars. Unless you’re buying vintage pieces, most of that furniture rarely grows or even holds its value. If your cat decides to turn an armrest or headboard into a scratching post, it may seem like that four-figure purchase is suddenly worthless. 


On the other hand, do you really want to live with furniture made particle board your entire life? DIY to the rescue! 

While master woodworkers with a garage full of high end tools can potentially make any type of furniture, many of us don’t have top shelf skills and tools. We can still make great home furnishings, though. 

Here are ideas for upcycling and making furniture that will make your house look like you spent a lot more than you did. If you get through this list and still have a particular piece in mind, don’t forget there are always furniture sales and coupons. For example, Deal Drop regularly features a Crate and Barrel coupon that offers a large discount percentage. Sometimes these coupons can be combined with sales for extra savings.

Scavenger Pieces

Plenty of great building materials and home furnishings wind up discarded in dumpsters. Ask nicely and you can walk away with the building blocks of a table or bench. If you can’t find things like wood pallets, they can often be purchased for cheap at hardware stores. 


— Pallet table or ottoman: So many pieces of furniture can be made out of those wood pallets that are abandoned behind warehouses. If you decide to do a little trash picking for a pallet, look for an “HT” stamp to ensure the wood is safe for home use. CraftFoxes has a post about making a wood palette coffee table. In the above video, HGTV handmade turns one into an ottoman with the addition of a foam block. Plenty more can be done with them, although you may need to gather several pallets for the build. 

— Cement block outdoor bench: For this piece of patio furniture, cement blocks are painted, stacked and glued together to create the ends. The open sections of the cement blocks can be filled with potted plants. For the seating area, a handful of wood beams are lined up to create the flat bench. 

— Tire ottoman or end table: Discarded tires can be the building blocks of end tables or ottomans. Wood rounds are used to make the base of the structure. Wood and foam round out the top of the structure and are covered with material for a smooth finish.

Flea Market Finds

These projects take a low-cost item found at a flea market or thrift store and refashion them into a new piece of furniture. 


— Wood crate bookcase: Similar to pallets, wood crates can often be upgraded into tables and bookcases. Often the older crates are better made and have more characters. Many flea market vendors have these for sale. To turn a stack of crates into a bookcase, all that may be required is a drill and the appropriate brackets. 

— Ladder shelving: An old A-frame ladder can be turned into display shelves with the addition of wood planks. The higher the placement of the plank, the smaller the size. A coat of paint adds an aura of shabby chic. The finished look is great for plants and knickknacks.

Upcycled Ideas

Add a new finish on an old piece of furniture and you can wind up with something magical and distinctive. In the above video, Glenda Chavez restyles a piece furniture by replacing the hardware, sanding down the finish and adding new layers of primer and paint. 


While upcycling is definitely DIY, professional painting tools can help make for a high impact finishes. Stenciled details make you forget what a desk or dresser originally looked like. Wood embellishments give a forgettable credenza new attitude. Some of these additions require power saws; others just require careful painting.



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