The Basics of Upcycling Furniture

Let’s get right down to the nitty gritty: furnishing a home is expensive. A lot more expensive than you’d think. I’m sure we all remember being young, before moving out, and fantasizing about the kind of home that we’d create. You dream about that home and the aesthetic that you’ll have, and then you’re suddenly spending your entire paycheck as you push your cart around IKEA and Target, purchasing way more throw pillows than any human really needs. Furniture and home decor is just expensive, no matter how you look at it. Even discount places, such as IKEA, are not cheap and you’ll spend way more on home furnishings than you would expect. And this is why so many people have embraced the world of upcycled furniture. It may be hard to navigate in the beginning, so here are a few tips and basics of upcycling furniture.

Everything can be given new life! Why not share the love with your furniture?

Make a budget, and stick to it
You don’t have to sacrifice your beautiful home interior because of your lack of a budget. But, the first part of furnishing your home, is setting your budget. Be realistic with yourself, and don’t overshoot. Set a budget that you know you can afford, and stick with that. This link has some great ideas for ways to work with a small budget while furnishing a new place.
The Basics Of Upcycling Furniture

Start with the big ticket items first
Having throw pillows is kind of useless if you don’t have a couch to put them on, right? Don’t let yourself get caught up in the little details first. You have plenty of time to add small accents to your home. First, focus on the big furniture items that you need. Don’t head to a furniture store, though.

Thrift
Thrifting gets a bad rep. People sometimes associate thrifted furniture with being dirty, or infested with bugs. When you buy thrifted furniture, you should be careful and check to make sure that it’s structurally sound, but you can fix almost any furniture as long as it has good bones. Check thrift stores, consignment shops, and local online forums to sell used goods, like Craigslist or Offerup. It takes a little bit more searching to find something that you like, but try to look beneath the surface. If you hate the upholstery, you can change that. If you hate the paint or the finish, you can change that. You can change and upcycle almost anything about an item of furniture.
The Basics Of Upcycling Furniture

Find your workspace
Once you’ve found your thrifted furniture gem, you need to find a safe space to work on your thrifted furniture finds. You don’t want to open a can of spray paint in the middle of your living room and fill your home with fumes. The perfect place to work on an upcycled furniture project is a garage, backyard, or even a storage unit, which gives you space without a lot of overhead cost. Laying down a tarp, wherever you are, will help you keep your project contained and will make the clean up a little bit easier.
The Basics Of Upcycling Furniture

The basic necessities
There are a few things that, depending on what the nature of your project is and what the furniture is made out of, that will help you in your project. You don’t need a garage filled with power tools in order to upcycle your furniture like a pro. Here are a few things that will come in handy and help you transform even the dingiest side table. Remember that you can add paint to anything, changing the knobs or hardware will absolutely transform furniture, and a new color is sometimes all something needs to be beautiful again.

Wood stain
Paint
Sanding paper
Nail or staple gun (this is perfect for reupholstering furniture. You can rent one instead of buying one to keep things inexpensive)
Decoupage
Paint brushes and sponges

Seek inspiration from others
There are plenty of people who spend their time upcycling furniture, and that’s just what they do. These thrifters are able to take any piece of furniture and transform it into something new. If you’re feeling uninspired or have no ideas of how to fix something, seek inspiration from people who have more experience than you. Flip through a home magazine, scroll through Pinterest, or even walk through a furniture store to get decor ideas. Then head home, pull out the decoupage, and get upcycling.

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24 thoughts on “The Basics of Upcycling Furniture

  1. Great tips! We have upcycled furniture and home goods for 3 years now. Thrifting is a hobby for us now on weekends. Flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, and for sale sites online are all great places to find good pieces. It also gives you a sense of pride when you see a piece you have put time and heart into.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I love recycling furniture and have done it for years! You have a lot of super ideas! Thank you for sharing! Most of what we have in our home is upcycled-recycled, hand-me-downs now called antiques! Married 50 years this month and I love what we have and it seems all have memories that are dear and precious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you liked my post so that I could venture over here and read this! I have a table that I’ve had since college and it is in desperate need of an upcycle. I think that this has finally motivated me to do just that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember thinking I would be able to have all of these fabulous things only to grow up and see how expensive everything is! haha. I actually upcycled a changing table I found at the thrift store with little paint and contact paper. Just as good as new for $25! Great article

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to know the basics before getting started on any project. Check to see if the piece is in good shape. I always keep a good paint stripper on hand and plenty of paint brushes and rags.

    Like

  6. I LOVE this. Living in NYC people throw away the most beautiful stuff! It’s amazing what a nice paint job will do to a wooden chair, or how much of it can be upcycled and remade. Thanks for this — super helpful! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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