Self-taught DIYer mum, 25, earns 'hundreds' selling furniture flips

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

A new mum has discovered her talent for transforming old and unwanted furniture into beautiful modern pieces — and is now using her skills to turn a profit.

Maggie McGaugh, from Texas in the US, took up DIYing to keep herself busy after welcoming her son, Harrison, who is now 10 months old.

A side-by-side photo of a wooden bedside table before and after restoration
New mum Maggie has turned her passion for transforming old furniture into beautiful modern pieces into a source of income. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.

“I started flipping furniture out of desperation, honestly!” the 25-year-old said.

“I was a new stay-at-home mum and bored out of my mind.”

Maggie’s DIY journey began a few weeks after giving birth when she purchased a wooden bread box at a thrift store which she sanded and repainted at home.

“It was in love after the first project. While I texted a few friends for tips, I am almost entirely self-taught.

“You learn from experience, both the good and the bad!”

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A selfie of Maggie McGaugh wearing a floral dress
Maggie says she started flipping furniture 'out of boredom'. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.
A side-by-side photo of a wooden dining table and four rattan chairs before and after restoration
A wooden dining table and four rattan chairs before (left) and after restoration by Maggie. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.

Passion to profit

What started as a hobby has now become a source of income for Maggie, who sells her refurbished wares for between $68 to $400 per item.

Maggie scours garage sales, estate sales, Facebook Marketplace and other online sellers for used and beaten up bedside tables, dressers and wardrobes that otherwise would’ve gone to the tip. Most of the time the items are fairly cheap — and she often gets them for free.

Once she’s hauled the pieces home, then begins the hard work of repairing any damage, replacing non-working parts and just generally tidying things up.

A side-by-side photo of a vintage bar cart before and after restoration
A retro bar cart goes from sad to fab with a lick of gold paint and some TLC. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.

Next, Maggie sands down the piece and often follows up with a coat of interior latex paint in retro hues such as mint, gold and charcoal.

After sealing the paint in with a sponge using polyacrylic, the piece is left to dry for a few days.

The transformation process can take anywhere between 15 minutes to six hours depending on the size or the amount of work that needs to be done.

Maggie regularly makes four times the amount she paid for the original piece by selling them on and says she rakes in hundreds per month doing what she loves.

A large vintage dark wood nine-drawer buffet
This dark wood buffet had seen better days before Maggie picked it up. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.
A large vintage white nine-drawer buffet with gold handles
The buffet was hardly recognisable after Maggie was done with it. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.

She now boasts 127,000 followers on Instagram who eagerly watch her step-by-step process of making over each unique piece.

“I wanted to provide affordable furniture locally, teach people how to do this skill worldwide and as my hobby, and it's so much fun!” she said.

Maggie encourages everyone to give upcycling a go and her biggest tip is to start simple by finding something cheap or free and painting it white.

“Each time you do a new project, make it a little harder by adding a new skill. Learn from trial and error. You will make mistakes but it will make you better,” she explained.

A small vintage wooden desk with three drawers
This wooden desk was nothing much to look at before. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.
A small vintage bottle green desk with three drawers and gold drawer pulls
Maggie gave the desk new life with some bottle green paint and slick gold accents. Photo: Jam Press/Australscope.

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