How to Decide Whether to Toss or Upcycle Furniture, According to HGTV Experts

published Apr 22, 2022
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Credit: HGTV

Restoration can be a labor of love — and a real money saver — if done right. Joe and Meg Piercy, stars of “Renovation Goldmine,” have made a career out of it. In their new show, airing Saturdays starting April 30 on HGTV, the Chicago-based couple put upcycling first as they help people renovate specific spaces in their homes. At the center of each renovation is an emphasis on cutting costs by reviving old items. 

Despite many success stories, it can be tricky to determine whether a piece of furniture is worth restoring (or if it should just be thrown out), but the Piercys have some hard-and-fast rules as part of their process, which they shared in a recent interview with Apartment Therapy.

“First of all, if something has mold or smells really bad, or it smells like an ashtray, that’s going to be really hard to salvage,” Meg said. “Getting intense smoke smells out of pieces is hard.”

She also shared that when something is “functionally not working,” it’s difficult to attempt a restoration or refurbishment. “Unless it means a ton to somebody, it’s usually not worth the effort you’re going to put in,” she said.

“I would say pieces to stay away from: water damage, mold, and cigarettes,” Joe said, in agreement. “Pieces to gravitate toward would be things that have dovetailing. There are certain brands that you could actually recognize that are stamped on the top right or left drawer of a dresser.” He recommended several brands — including Drexel, Henredon, and American of Martinsville — that are often safe, quality bets in the furniture restoration game. 

“I just think if you love it, it’s worth as much effort as you want to put into it,” Meg added. “But they become a bigger headache than they’re worth, if there [are] any of those problems.”

“Renovation Goldmine” airs Saturdays at 8/7 central on HGTV.