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How to upcycle furniture – Tips & Tricks

Step 1: Finding the furniture

In this age of upcycle, renovating furniture before going out and spending a fortune on a new item may be easier and certainly cheaper.

MOLLY MAID, the house cleaning experts suggest revamping old tatty pieces as an option by scouring junk shops, auction houses, car boot sales, Freecycle and eBay. All it needs to update pre-loved pieces is a little bit of inspiration and basic DIY skills.

Furniture Finds

When upcycling furniture you first need to decide what it is that you’re looking for. Antique fairs or car boot sales can be fascinating places to wander around but they are sometimes overwhelming, so if you go with a specific idea you can direct a more structured search. The most popular items of renovated furniture tend to be chests of drawers. People are generally looking for an item with history, yet a more modern finish. Vintage and antique chests of drawers have practical storage, yet the advantage of interesting carvings, ornate details and elegant handles that distinguish them from some of the mass produced pieces of today.

  • Look for a piece with individuality, for example turned legs, scrolled backs and detailed woodwork. This does not mean that you have to spend a fortune though!
  • Don’t be put off by orange stains or dark veneers; this can all be transformed by a coat of paint or some sanding before painting. Detailing will look really pretty and less overbearing once painted a lighter colour. Take a paint colour chart with you to inspire you!
  • Minor surface scratches may also reduce the price of furniture- as long as they can be sanded over you could pick up a good bargain. Most crucially with wooden items, you need to check they are sound. This is probably most important with woodworm. Look for out of the ordinary dust in drawers and tell-tale holes. Ask the dealer if they know if the piece has been treated if you do spot these signs.
  • Look for damage that might be difficult to repair and be realistic about your limits with regard to renovation. If you wish to paint pine furniture, look for the darker or stained pieces of wood. Also keep in mind the finishing touches or the re-upholstery that you might be able to do to transform a piece being realistic at the same time.