There is no denying that bringing home a new decor item is thrilling. The satisfaction of repurposed furniture that is all your own? Yowza! After all, upcycled furniture is not only affordable, it gives you an opportunity to work on DIY projects!

Convert a cabinet into a bar

Sarah Montgomery Design turns an old dresser into a beautiful bar.

If you’re looking for a beginner project, Smit recommends this easy changeup. “Take the doors off of an old cabinet, then sand and paint [it]. Add some fun glasses and your favorite spirits, and you’ve made a bar—no additional tools or time needed,” she says. Designer Sarah Montgomery went with a piece from Ashley Harding of Vintage Refined to refinish a worn cabinet that was the perfect height to allow for styling and layering art on top. Montgomery removed the shelf and the drawers and painted the inside a flat black to contrast with the green lacquer. For a final touch, she added an old bread board painted with chalk paint so her clients could write out the drink recipe or a menu.

Transform a dresser into a sink vanity

For a bathroom vanity with a lot of character, Smit loves converting an old dresser. Just make sure that the top of your piece of furniture is wide enough to accommodate the chosen sink and faucet, but, otherwise, it’s just a matter of cutting holes in the top and back of the dresser to allow for the water pipes.

Powder coat steel furniture

Do you have a rusty patio set in the back that has seen better days? Consider powder coating it to make it look completely brand new. Since this DIY project requires special tools, it’s best to seek a professional who has experience repurposing furniture. Ideally, you want to sandblast the steel and wrought iron piece to remove chipped paint and rust and then have it powder coated in the color of your choosing. “Costs generally range from $50 for a stool to $250 for a dining table,” Falk says. Alternatively, if you have a knack for the arts, paint faux textures over metal.

Repaint side tables in a bright color

“Paint is your best friend when it comes to entry-level upcycling,” Falk says. “I prefer to make statement pieces out of repurposed furniture, so I lean toward one-off pieces and bright, bold colors. You’ll create an evocative statement piece that’s not only useful, but a conversation starter.” For example, take a dated side table that might fit well in a grandmother’s guest boudoir, sand off the old paint with medium grit sandpaper, clean off the debris, let it dry, then finally apply two coats of bright, glossy paint.

Totally transform the dining table

Dining table with pink legs with chairs next to grey decorated wall

Annie Sloan advises taking a look at the dining table as an easy introductory upcycle project to make an impact. ‘By their nature they are rather formal pieces of furniture; lots of straight lines and flat surfaces’ Annie explains. ‘Painting the legs of a table a different colour to the top is a wonderful thing to do if you’ve got a lovely old wooden table which has seen better days.’

Use a stencil to give old furniture a new look

Stenciled sideboards in green with bird prints

A sizeable piece of furniture is never cheap to buy new, so where possible try to recycle rather than replace. If you have an old sideboard or chest of drawers that is perfectly functional but perhaps no longer to your taste, consider giving it a makeover. A stencil is the perfect way to leave your own stamp in the process.

Construct a table from salvaged scaffolding

Upcycled dining table made with scaffolding materials with three different shape chairs

Designer and upcycling expert Max McMurdo shares his brilliant Scaffold-board kitchen table idea.’I’m a huge fan of flat-pack and modular furniture – these scaffold fixings allow you to create your own’ he explains. The table is entirely constructed using scaffolding materials; the top is boards, the legs scaffold poles held together with scaffold mounts.

Flair with fringe

Interior designer Lucinda Loya is all about fancy fringe that makes a statement in home decor.

If you want to take an upholstered piece of furniture to another level and bestow it with a bit more flair, Baena recommends adding fringe or trim. You can use a contrasting color for a pop (like these DIY rainbow pillows), or keep it tone-on-tone for a textured look. Etsy is a particularly great spot to find trims in all different colors and styles.


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