Woman renovating a wooden chair

Furniture Revival

It seems whenever we turn the telly on it’s an episode of The Repair Shop. It looks like the lockdown trend to upcycle furniture is here to stay

Last month we wrote about how our attitude to fashion has changed over the past year. Driven by the change in how we shop plus more awareness of waste, the same can be said when it comes to buying furniture.

The Reuse Network in Bristol supports over 120 reuse charities across the UK. Around 10 million household items are sent to landfill each year, when 3 million of these could be reused by people in crisis.

The network helps charities distribute items to people in need, while saving hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 in the process. It also works with retailers including John Lewis, IKEA and Dixons Carphone, who have leftover or unsaleable stock.

Now the network is launching Reuse Home, an eBay site for its members to upload and sell reused furniture, white goods and clothes.

Charity shops are also moving online. Gone are the days of the small, suburban charity store. Many have now moved into out-of-town retail parks, or operate department-store style furniture outlets.

British Heart Foundation (BHF) has one of the biggest e-Bay shops. It has thousands of items for sale, including 4k Ultra HD 49-inch TVs at £150, 3-seat sofas for £120, and fridge freezers for £50.

BHF commercial director, Mike Taylor, told the Guardian: “We will sell around 250,000 donated furniture items. There’s a growing interest in sustainability and recycling – and they are fantastic value.”

Meanwhile Cancer Research has plans to open 18 new superstores in retail parks over the next few years.

Commercial retailers are following suit. IKEA recently launched a furniture buy-back and re-sale scheme to reduce the amount of products sent to landfill. Customers will get vouchers to spend in-store if items they no longer need are returned in good condition.

Where can I buy reused furniture?

Most reuse organisations are located in out-of-town areas, check out where your nearest one is with this postcode finder. We can also be referred to reuse charities through our local council.
If it’s white goods we’re lacking (eg fridge/freezer, cooker, washing machine) there are charities and trusts that can help. Read our guide to apply for help here.

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