Knowing how to upcycle furniture is a highly valuable and rewarding skill - not only is it fun, it can also save you money!
Upcycling offers an efficient and sustainable alternative to parting with an old beloved piece which could still be fit for purpose after some moderation.
If you feel your furniture is in need of reviving or repurposing to match new surroundings, it’s probably time to try your hand at upcycling.
Whether it’s an antique cupboard, a Victorian table, or something contemporary - the only limit is your imagination!
But where to start? This guide covers the basics of preparing to upcycle furniture, ideas to inspire you and a few tips to keep in mind.
How to upcycle furniture: preparation
The first step is finding somewhere spacious, away from anything else that’s expensive or fragile
When you’re getting ready to upcycle furniture, the first step is finding somewhere spacious, away from anything else that’s expensive or fragile.
This might be a different room entirely to the furniture’s current location, or possibly outside if the piece is easy to move.
Note: If you’re inside and using paint, it’s worth lining the floor, for example with sheets of newspaper, rolling away any rugs and wearing old clothes.
It’s also important to ensure you have all the tools and materials you need within easy reach when you begin.
Next, wipe down all of the furniture’s surfaces to make them clean and smooth. Take off any removable handles, knobs and so on, then clean these too.
When thinking about how to upcycle wooden furniture, if you’re planning to paint then it may be worth sanding down the surfaces as well, to help the primer coat stick.
How to upcycle furniture: ideas
Painting is usually a great option if you’re not sure how to upcycle wooden furniture
Now for the creative part!
When it comes to upcycling furniture, ideas vary depending on the size, shape and style of the piece. Here are a few examples to help get you started...
Update tired-looking chairs with a fresh coat of paint - in fact painting is usually a great option if you’re not sure how to upcycle wooden furniture.
Consider redecorating worn-out Art Deco cupboards or chests of drawers by adding some 1920s patterned wallpaper.
Keep hold of any offcuts as they may inspire you to make new homemade creations
Spruce up your old dining table by shortening the legs and transforming it into a coffee table for use in a different room.
Keep hold of any offcuts as they may inspire you to make new homemade creations to compliment your vintage pieces.
For example, you could create a bookshelf out of leftover planks to go next to an antique fireplace.
How about making a side table out of wooden boxes to stand next to a Victorian armchair?
Note: search for phrases like ‘upcycle furniture’ on apps like Pinterest and Instagram for more inspiration. If you’re new to DIY, you can also learn to upcycle furniture with ‘how-to guides’ on YouTube.
How to upcycle furniture: guidance
It’s usually best to match your creative style to the piece’s era
For upcycling to be successful, there are a few things to bear in mind to help you achieve the desired result:
- It’s usually best to match your creative style to the piece’s era when you upcycle furniture, unless you deliberately want to portray a clash of time periods!
- When planning how to upcycle wooden furniture, if you’re painting, first check you have a suitable brush - old or cheap ones may leave bristles behind
- Adding a protective varnish could help preserve the furniture for longer
- Giving your creation a wax finish may give it the natural sheen you’re looking for
This guidance will depend on the type of furniture and materials used - don’t be afraid to get in touch with an antiques expert to discuss the best upcycling method.
How to upcycle furniture: conclusion
We hope our short guide has inspired you to kickstart your upcycling journey!
Don’t forget that social media offers a wealth of ideas and advice for how to upcycle furniture.
If you find upcycling isn’t for you or you’re looking to draw inspiration from an antiques collection, take a browse of our latest stock or please contact us with any queries.