Do you fancy yourself as being handy? Is your creative vision waiting to be realised? Then upcycling furniture could be the hobby for you. It involves transforming unwanted items into something more useful, more valuable, or simply more beautiful – and there are plenty of great reasons to give it a go.
Firstly, you’ll help the environment by extending the life cycle of the items you put to use. It can be cheaper than buying new furniture too, and it’s often more rewarding. You’ll have put your time and effort into creating something no other household will have!
Read our beginner’s tips on upcycling below to help you get started.
Gather the right tools
You don’t want to be part way through a project before realising you don’t have the right tools. Think about what equipment you might need and be prepared to spend a little more on quality tools to give you the best results. You may need to review your financial options in this initial stage.
You’re likely to want paint brushes, paint, varnish, hand tools and some power tools. Just be careful if you lack experience – the NHS reported an increase in DIY injuries last year.
Use your imagination
One of the best things about upcycling is that there are no limits to what you can create. But when first looking at a piece of old tatty furniture, you’ll need to use your imagination to get the best out of it.
When you’re starting out it can be helpful to start collecting inspiration. Search for ideas on Pinterest and scour relevant Instagram hashtags such as #upcyclersofinstagram. You can then take inspiration before adding your own personal twists.
Many high street furniture stores now sell vintage-style pieces with a less-than-vintage price tag. If you see something you like or think you could work with, resist the urge to invest straight away and see if you can find similar items elsewhere.
Charity shops and car boot sales can be a great place to find items to upcycle. You could try a local marketplace website like Gumtree too – as well as checking what’s hidden away in your parents’ garage or yours!
Preserve your work
If you’re prepared to put a significant amount of time and effort into restoring an old piece of furniture, it makes sense to go the extra mile to protect it too. Wax or varnish can increase the longevity of wood for example – and can be easily applied using a pair of old socks.
Sometimes old wood can take on an unpleasant musty smell if it’s been locked away in storage. You can easily treat this with a sprinkle of baking soda − or even just exposure to fresh air.
Follow the tips above and see if you can create something to be proud of.