This 25-Year-Old Is Going Viral For Transforming Old Furniture In A Way That’s Both Sustainable And Profitable


Kyle William McKeen (@kylewilliamart) is a 25-year-old artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently, he’s been going viral […]

Kyle William McKeen (@kylewilliamart) is a 25-year-old artist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently, he’s been going viral for sharing his furniture flip transformations on TikTok.

Closeup of Kyle

Kyle William McKeen

Starting in September, Kyle began posting videos sharing how he finds and flips furniture with a goal of paying his monthly rent of $1,400 using only money made by selling his refurbished finds. In the videos, he shows how he looks for quality pieces in thrift stores, on Craigslist, and even stuff he finds on the street by checking for a maker’s mark and using Google Lens to find out how much similar pieces go for.

makers mark on the bottom of a chair and screenshot showing Kyle scanning the chair through google photos

He often has to strip the paint off of older pieces, but he always tests them for lead first to ensure that he’s working with them safely.

Kyle testing a piece for lead

He also uses things like beeswax to polish and shine wood, or a mixture of olive oil and vinegar to treat damaged and blemished wood.

it works like magic to remove imperfections and clean up the wood

Then, he shares how much he spent on each piece, how much he sold them for, and how much of his rent goal remains.

I got this for free and ended up making $150 profit

Turning a free piece into $150 is a very cool skill to have.

@kylewilliamart / Via

Beyond learning new tips and tricks from watching his process, it’s so satisfying to see these pieces get cleaned up and looking their best. Like, check out the transformation on this dresser.

Before and after of a dresser that Kyle refurbished

In the comments, people are loving these transformations.

good job I love to see items receive a little love and go on to a second life and not the dump

People also love that he shows the whole process, not just before and after shots.

love seeing the process and the outcome so many people try to gatekeep how they really do this

And cracking jokes about what might happen if they tried this at home.

my toxic trait is thinking I can easily do this with no problem

Kyle told BuzzFeed that he got into flipping furniture after getting his own place. “I started flipping furniture when I moved into my first apartment after college. I finally had the chance to make a space my own but couldn’t afford the type of furniture I wanted brand new. I got into flipping furniture and realized it was something I really enjoyed.”

kyle taking a picture of a chair to run through google lens

He also shared the costs of his most commonly used tools and supplies. “The most expensive tool I invested in was a $60 palm sander. The other supplies add up, like citrus strip ($16), wood stain ($10), and sandpaper ($10), but luckily, these can be used across multiple projects.”

beat up old chair

And when it comes to picking pieces, Kyle looks for some very specific things. “Anything mid-century modern, especially if it is authentic, can generally be flipped and sold for a decent profit. I try to avoid with a hex screw holding the joints together, but that furniture is usually newer and cheaply made. I find that people are willing to spend more on vintage pieces because they trust their quality and recognize that they are built to last.”

old chairs looking shiny and new again after being polished with beeswax

“Additionally, I look for popular brands as well, Herman Miller, Thonet, West Elm, etc.”

@kylewilliamart / Via

He shared that the response to his videos surprised him in a good way. “I started my series as a way to motivate myself to complete my goal of paying a month’s rent solely by flipping furniture. I definitely wasn’t expecting so many people to see it and follow along.”

old chairs sold for a profit of $325

Finally, he shared his advice for anyone who wants to try their hand at giving some old furniture a new life. “People often comment that they want to start refurbishing/flipping furniture but they don’t know where to start. I had a basic idea of what I was doing because of a background in theater and film design, but I honestly learned so much just by watching TikTok and YouTube videos.”

“I really think anyone can do it and that more people should! There is so much waste in the world, and it would be great if everyone could learn to cherish old pieces instead of throwing them out.”

Follow Kyle on TikTok.

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