How to Upcycle Furniture

Bored of your furniture? Can’t afford new stuff? Then upcycling is your new best friend. It’s fun, creative and you’ll also get a piece of new furniture out of it too.

Find the Piece

Whether you have something in mind that needs sprucing up, or you’ve found a piece of furniture in a charity shop that doesn’t quite work with your décor, this bit is relatively easy. Of course, you need to have a bit of imagination as to what this shabby bit of wood might be able to look like once it’s done up, too, so don’t forget to go shopping with an open mind.

Make a Plan

Of course, this plan will depend on the piece itself. It’ll likely need a lick of paint, but does it need upholstering, too? Do the handles need changing? Make sure you know what your plan is before you go ahead with it. Of course, some improvisation is allowed, but with no plan, it might end up going completely wrong with no return.

Paint It

If you’re going for the distressed look, then you’ll need to choose two colours. Prepare your piece, taking off any old, flaky paint. Apply your ‘undercoat’ (the colour that you want to see when you start distressing). Then wait for this to dry. Apply your second coat, experiment with a different brush or type of brush strokes. Apply wax to seal the paint. Then, use a medium grade sandpaper and get distressing. Try not to go overboard – you can always do more, but you’ll have a hard time reversing the effect.

Change the Handles

If your piece has drawers, then changing the handles can have a lovely effect. Whether you choose to go for something fun like ‘character’ knobs or glamorous like glass or more industrial with pewter is up to you! Take a look at the Handle Store for inspiration.


If you have basic sewing skills, then you can reupholster any piece of furniture that you put your mind to. You will also need tools like a hammer, screwdriver, pliers and a staple gun. Often, the furniture itself will tell you everything you need to know about reupholstering it – if you pay careful attention when you take it apart. Make a note of all the details, such as any buttons or skirts, take a look at the seams and examine the piece carefully. As you take it apart, commit it to memory – this is your map to putting your new fabric on. For more detailed information, check out this post here.


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