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Reuse, repair and repurpose: The 3Rs of furniture

Damaged, worn, and outdated furniture can be a hassle to get rid of, but there are plenty of alternatives to trashing it.


When furniture no longer fits your lifestyle, consider selling, donating or giving it away.

Many thrift stores accept furniture for resale, and some nonprofits such as Bridging redistribute used furniture to people in need.

You can also try selling or giving an item away on neighborhood social media sites such as Facebook garage sale groups, Nextdoor and Craigslist. And don’t forget to check these places first when looking for replacement or new-to-you furniture.


When breaks, surfaces get scratched, or upholstery tears, try getting it repaired instead of replacing it.

There are dozens of furniture repair businesses in Hennepin County and the greater metro area that can get your furniture looking new and functioning again. The Hennepin County Fix-It Clinics offer free advice and assistance on repairing repair household goods, including furniture.

Event when items don’t seem fixable, check with an expert first before you get rid of it – you may be surprised at what is possible.


When furniture is outdated or you decide you like the shape but not the look, consider repurposing it.

Wooden chairs, tables and bookshelves can take on a whole new look with a simple coat of paint. Dressers can be transformed from drab to chic with some paint and new hardware. Upholstered furniture can be reupholstered or even painted for a new look and feel, and this may be cheaper than buying new.

Outdated pieces can also be transformed into new uses. For example, a dresser or table can be converted into a bathroom vanity, or a cabinet can become a kitchen island. Look for ideas and instruction guides online.

When repurposing items, or if you are building from scratch, look for used materials at the numerous used building material businesses in the area.

Whether it’s reuse, repair or repurposing, you’ll find lots of options for making furniture usable again on Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse directory.