The Furniture Flips That Make Our Rental Houses Feel Like Home

furniture flips: vintage apothecary cabinet
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As a military family, we move around a lot, but one thing that makes our (sometimes crappy) rental houses feel like home is the furniture we take with us wherever we go.

We had almost nothing when we got married. (We had a bed, that’s it.) So, we had to get everything else and we had to do it CHEAP.

My family gave us a few hand-me-down pieces, we financed a bedroom set and couch (to help us build credit), and the rest of the furniture in our house was dug out of thrift stores, flea markets, and old barns.

I’m shocked at the number of people who compliment me on our home and ask where this or that came from.

So, here’s a look at all my favorite furniture flips that have made each house feel like home.

The Farmhouse Buffet

We bought this old dresser at a flea market in North Carolina when we were stationed at Fort Bragg.

Initially, I wanted it in our living room to use as a charging station and to hold picture frames, decor, and blankets. However, at our house here in Texas, it is our tv stand (and it’s still a charging station for our tablets & Fitbits).

It is one of the main pieces that people comment on when they come over and I get asked all the time where we bought it.

(Check out this post to see exactly how we transformed it.)

We turned this dusty old flea market dresser into a beautiful farmhouse buffet.
(Before: It was really scuffed up and missing nearly all of it’s hardware before we refurbished it.)
The best furniture flips
(After: It definitely has a farmhouse feel and is one of the pieces that we get asked about the most.)

The Penny Coffee Table

Our coffee table is one of the first things that people notice when they come into our home. It’s also the item of furniture that the movers talk about when we’re PCS-ing!

And it’s always a source of questions.

  • Yes, we did it ourselves.
  • No, we don’t know how many pennies are in it.
  • Yes, it is a little heavy, but not unbearably so!

I bought this table as a set with 2 end tables from a thrift shop in my hometown for $60. That’s $20 a table. And we have used them for more than 11 years!

This table has actually been through several iterations throughout the years. (You can see how we achieved this unique furniture flip in this post.)

Before picture of the wooden coffee table.
(Before: We used the table like this for years before refurbishing it, but that worn top finally got on my nerves.)
Coffee table furniture flip
(After: This is what the penny table currently looks like, but who knows how long it will stay this way!)

The Vintage Hardware Cabinet

My favorite furniture flips OF ALL-TIME is this vintage hardware cabinet.

Not only do I have a sentimental attachment to it since it belonged to my great-grandparents, but it’s honestly a beautiful piece of furniture.

Apothecary cabinets and library catalogs have been trending over the last couple of years in home decor and that is reflected in their price. If you buy one from an antique dealer, they cost thousands of dollars. And new ones don’t have the same quality or charm (and they are still pricey).

So, when my dad told me that I could have this one, I JUMPED at the chance! We pulled it out of an old barn, teeming with bugs, mice, and years of dust.

It was the most difficult project we have done. It required some new tools and learning new techniques, but it was worth every frustrating minute.

Not only do guests compliment me on it, but I had a realtor walk through my house and offer me $1,000 on the spot for it. (Not a chance, lady!)

You can see how we refurbished it in this post.

How we refurbished this vintage hardware cabinet.
(Before: The original cabinet was more than twice the size of the current one. We had to cut it down due to termite damage and rot!)
furniture flips: vintage apothecary cabinet
(After: This is the cabinet after we decorated for Halloween, but this picture really doesn’t do it justice.)

The Grungy Dresser

This furniture flip was the quickest and easiest we’ve done yet.

I found it on Facebook Marketplace and bought it just weeks before we PCS-ed from Fort Bragg to Fort Hood. It was a race to get it refurbished in time before we moved. (I didn’t want anyone to think that I had furniture that dirty in my house, not even the movers!)

All it needed was a good cleaning and new paint. It’s one of my favorites because it’s so cheerful and is perfect for my daughter’s room. (We even let her pick the color and the knobs.) Her favorite color is yellow and we found the perfect shade!

The grungy dresser before pic!
(This was the seller’s photo on the Marketplace post. It was yucky then, but I knew it could be beautiful!)
The grungy dresser after pic!
(I finished it just 1 week before movers came to pack up our household goods!)

The Cowboy Bed

If the vintage hardware cabinet is my favorite piece of furniture, then my cowboy bed is my second-favorite!

Our bed was broken and being held together by a couple of wood screws and prayers. We decided to chunk it before our PCS from Fort Bragg. I found a replacement on Facebook Marketplace before we even found a house at Fort Hood.

My husband was irritated, but $50 later, I was the proud owner of another disgusting, used piece of furniture. It was only our second foray into upholstery, which isn’t exactly difficult, but can be extremely frustrating.

Although it was a really bad time to find and re-furbish this piece, it turned out SO GOOD! I’ve had 2 offers to buy it and my niece has already claimed it when we’re ‘done with it’. So, I must not be the only one who thinks that this one of those furniture flips that turned trash into treasure!

(You can see the tutorial for this refurbishment here.)

The before pictures of our antique bed.
(This was the seller’s photo on Marketplace. Those stains were ALMOST gross enough turn me away from this flip…but not quite!)
The refurbished antique bed with cow hide upholstery.
(The ‘after picture’! We never dreamed we’d have a cow print bed, but when in Texas….right?)

The 100-Year-Old Rocking Chair

One of the most nerve-wracking furniture flips that we have done is our rocking chair.

This chair once belonged to my dad’s great-grandpa and it is easily over a hundred years old. My dad passed it down to me, but it definitely needed some work if we wanted to be able to use it.

After a little refurbishing, the rocking chair now sits in the corner of our living room and we use it all the time! (You can see how we did this project here.)

I love that we have this little piece of family history with us wherever we go! It definitely helps to make our house feel more like home.

How to refurbish an old rocking chair.
(Before: The rocking chair was a little dinged up and covered in a ripped red vinyl.)
furniture flips: an old wooden and upholstered rocking chair
(After: We opted for faux leather and a lighter color wood stain.)

The Vintage Lawn Chairs

I couldn’t list all of my favorite furniture flips without mentioning the vintage metal lawn chairs!

These are relatively new and I am loving them out on our back deck. We have been through several sets of outdoor furniture over the last 12 years, but none of it has really held up.

I’m hoping since these chairs have been around since the 1950s that they’ll last us at least 10 years!

Plus, now, they are super cute and colorful! You can see how we transformed these once rusty contraptions in this post.

How to Refurbish Vintage Metal Chairs: the Before Picture
(Before: These rusty beauties came from the flea market looking just like this!)
How to Refurbish Vintage Metal Chairs: the After Picture
(After: They are so pretty, colorful, and match my outdoor rug perfectly!)

There are several more furniture flips hiding around my house and a few waiting for their turn to get a make-over. These are just my absolute favorites.

Moving every 3-ish years can be hard, but being able to put together a pretty house, even when it doesn’t really belong to you, helps you feel more at home. And investing in your furniture is a great way to do that. Even if you invest more time and work than money.

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This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you. For more info, please see my full ad & affiliate disclosure.

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