furniture reuse london guide

London Furniture Reuse & Upcycling

27 November 2020

Furniture Reuse and Upcycling in London - Save your sofa from landfill

Ever wondered how best to save your old sofa, kitchen table or chest of drawers from going to landfill if you live in London? Want to know where can you take or who can you give unwanted furniture that's too good for the dump?  Here is our ultimate guide to everything you ever wanted to know about furniture reuse and furniture upcycling in London.

    1. Furniture reuse in London
    2. Ask your nearest and dearest
    3. Online marketplaces
    4. Freegle & Freecycle
    5. Furniture reuse charities
    6. House clearance shops
    7. Trade buyers
    8. Auction houses, markets and car boot sales
    9. Reuse bay at your CA site
    10. Upcycle your furniture
    11. LoveJunk marketplace


1. Furniture Reuse in London

The key to giving an item of furniture a second life is finding someone who's prepared to take it off your hands. And the willingness of someone to take it will depend on the cost to them of collection and their perceived value of the item.

Despite the wide range of furniture reuse options listed below, in practice they all fall into one of the following routes:

  • Sell - your item is so valuable that another person is willing to pay for it and cover the cost of collection
  • Donate - your item is valuable enough that another person is willing to pick it up for free, but not pay you extra for it (or you choose to waive that extra value because you wish to support the recipient).
  • Pay to have it collected - your item isn't valuable enough for someone to collect it for free (or you choose to subsidise their cost because you wish to support the recipient)



2. Contact your Nearest & Dearest

Before using fancy online marketplaces or contacting local charities, don't forget your friends and relatives. Might someone you already know (or someone they know) like your old armchair or coffee table you're planning on throwing out? Maybe they've got kids starting college or moving into a new flat and just want some cheap, basic furniture to start with. Wouldn't it be great to give something to a friend or a friend of a friend, before offering stuff out to the wider world?  These days it sometimes seems almost embarrassing to give second-hand items to friends or relatives. But it really doesn't have to be. Just take a photo and share it with your network.

In a similar vein, 'near' but maybe not quite so 'dear', an older school way of passing things on for reuse is to place the item outside your home with a sign on it so locals can take it. We've all seen cars with a sticker in their window saying FOR SALE £xxx. Well, the same approach works with sofas and other furniture items provided:

  1. the item is clean and good quality
  2. it's not raining
  3. your price is low or preferably zero
  4. you live on a road with plenty of footfall. But of course, having an old sofa in your front garden with a big sign saying 'SAVE ME' may not be to everyone's taste 🙂



3. Online Marketplaces

Instead of offering old furniture items to your nearest and dearest, you could consider extending the net of giving a little wider. If so, the following marketplace sites are ideal.

  • LoveJunk - an online marketplace for junk disposal and reuse. If you've tried to donate or sell your item with no luck, then snap a photo and list it on LoveJunk!
  • eBay - the original online market for selling (and buying) stuff, eBay connects you to buyers of second-hand goods from all around the world
  • Facebook marketplace - similar to eBay, Facebook marketplace is the offshoot of the infamous social network for selling things you no longer need
  • Nextdoor - all about community, Nextdoor connects you to people and businesses in your neighbourhood. If you're too shy to put a sign on your sofa outside your front door, then maybe Nextdoor's for you
  • Preloved - the clue is in the name. The marketplace for things that you once loved (no - not your ex!). They have a free loved section too, so if you want to give, but not receive then check it out
  • Shpock - similar to eBay, but newer and seemingly with a bigger advertising budget, Shpock is arguably best suited for selling smaller stuff than furniture. But we've included it here because the world changes so fast, perhaps they'll buy eBay tomorrow!
  • Village - not sure about these guys but seemed a bit mean to exclude them from the party. They're a sort of Nextdoor mixed with Freecycle mixed with Shpock - but of course, if you mix too many ingredients in one bowl, sometimes it doesn't taste so great.


4. Freegle and Freecycle

If you would like to give stuff directly to another person for free (rather than a charity or social project) then the two big players in the market are Freecycle and Freegle. Freecycle is global but has local groups all over the world including London. Freegle is the UK only and also has localised groups. Both operate as not-for-profit social enterprises created to facilitate reuse amongst people. No money can pass between users of their sites.

For a detailed guide on how to use it, try our Ultimate Guide to Freecycle.


5. Furniture Reuse Charities in London

Other ways to give your furniture away for free in London is through one of the many local charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit projects that specialise in furniture reuse. Below is a list of them with a web link - please let us know if this needs updating by emailing [email protected].

Most of these organisations, depending on their busyness and funding (which can fluctuate quite a lot!), will pick up good quality furniture items from your home for free to either sell them to fund their cause or pass them directly to the people they are supporting. Bear in mind that as a business they will only be able to receive upholstered furniture if it has a fire safety label. NOTE, this is not the case if you donate or sell directly to a member of the public.


A C Second Hand Furniture & Removals Hackney Furniture
Age UK Hotric Charity Shop
A-J-E FURNITURE SHOP InUse-ReUse Furniture
Barker and Stonehouse Junk Bunk
Barnardo’s Shop (Brixton) Maddisons
Barnet Furniture Centre Mary’s Living and Giving Shop
Bright Sparks Mobilyum Furniture UK
British Heart Foundation - Wandsworth More Life Home
British Heart Foundation -Brixton Mr All Sorts
British Red Cross Battersea Octavia Foundation Kings Road
British Red Cross Fulham Reclaim at the Lane
Cancer Research UK Remar Furniture Store
Crisis Camberwell Second Time Around London
Debra Furniture Charity Superstore Shelter Charity Shop
Deens Furniture Shop from Crisis Elephant & Castle
Eighty-Seven Shop from Crisis Camberwell
Emmaus Brixton Sue Ryder
Emmaus Greenwich – Lee shop TCL Reuse Centre
Fernish The Furniture Shop
Flying Squirrel Furniture The Shop
Fulham Shelter Up Market Charity Shop
Furnish Vintique London
Geranium Charity Shop Wandsworth Oasis
Give a Little Worn Not Torn
Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shop YMCA Shop


6. House Clearance Shops

House clearance shops are specialists in clearing people's homes, typically following a bereavement or downsizing. They come to the property, review all of the items that need to be removed (the person doing this is known as a 'totter' for the more inquiring minds of you) and, depending on the value (and your innocence!), make you an offer to take it away. Sometimes it's a charge, sometimes it's an offer to buy, and sometimes it's a simple 'we'll take it all for free'. House clearance companies make money by acquiring second-hand items for a lower price than they sell them. They generally prefer large clearances rather than one or two items, so if you're just trying to get rid of one or two pieces of furniture, you're unlikely to get great engagement. That said, if you are able to transport an item to their store, then they are often able to agree to a deal on the spot.


7. Trade Buyers

Trade buyers (aka second-hand furniture dealers) are similar in some ways to house clearance companies. They buy low, to sell high. Below are some of the more well known in London that has websites. The problem with trade buyers is that unless you've got something really great, they're not very interested. And when they are interested, they tend to be the last person to offer you the best value!  So, although they've been included in this blog post for completeness, arguably they are more relevant if you ever need to BUY some second-hand furniture rather than sell your own.

Trade Buyers 
After Noah
Committee of Taste
De Sio Furniture
Retro Hub
Second Time Around



8. Auction Houses, Markets & Car Boot Sales

If your unwanted furniture item is genuinely valuable, then an auction house may well be for you. Obviously, if it's good enough for Sotheby's or Christie's then, to be honest, you're reading the wrong blog article, but there are a number of less swanky auctions in London that are less high-end items. The most well known are Lots Road Criterion Southgate and Chiswick auctioneers. But bear in mind they charge a hefty commission and the process involved is considerable.

A bit more down to earth is Old Spitalfields Market which happens every Thursday, and of course, there is also the wonderful world of London car boot sales.

old spitalfields market lovejunk


9. Reuse Bay at your Civic Amenity Site

If you have a vehicle (and muscles) to transport your item, several council tips have a dedicated bay for reusable bulky items. In practice, most of these tend to be better suited for appliances than furniture, but call and ask if you are unsure. Often the reuse side is provided by a local charity or social enterprise which means that by dropping off your item you'll be supporting a local cause. Here is a great summary of all the council civic amenity sites in London.


10. Upcycle your Old Furniture

Before considering disposal, you might want to think about upcycling your old furniture.  Upcycling can give your furniture a new lease of life and is an easy way to reduce waste and save money.  There are lots of how-to videos and blogs online showing people how to revamp old furniture and there are even creative ideas on how to reuse household trash. For Upcycling recycled furniture in London organisations like My Vintage Home and The Loop specialise in up-cycling, re-designing and restoring furniture!


11. LoveJunk Reuse and Junk Removal Marketplace

Our reuse platform is a fabulous way to get your old furniture reuse in London. We've got a growing community of second-hand fans. Have a look at our Free Stuff here. All you need to do is post a picture of the item you want to give away to a new home and select 'reusable'. Easy!

However, if you've tried to donate or sell your item with no luck, then snap a photo and list it on LoveJunk. We'll get you matched to your nearest reuse organisation or licensed waste collector in seconds. We verify the waste license, identity, address, and insurance details of every waste collector on the LoveJunk platform and ensure responsible disposal. Have a quick look at real, recent rubbish removal prices before you book.



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