Top tips for upcycling

Interior designer and blogger Lynne Lambourne from Love Nellie shares her top tips for upcycling pre-loved furniture.
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Preparation is key to upcycling

Plan ahead and ensure you have the tools and equipment needed to do the job. Give all furniture a wipe down before you start, otherwise, you could get an old cobweb stuck to your paintbrush! And factor in time at the end in case you need to make any corrections to your work. Sometimes the excitement of getting the job done can mean we rush things.

Be imaginative when you see old pieces

Old ladders make great places to display plants, and old washing machine drums make great outdoor plant pots. Creative ideas can give a new purpose to something that would have otherwise been discarded.

Check out the charity shops

If you see a piece of vintage furniture for sale on the high-street that you like, the chances are that you can find something very similar in a charity shop, at a car boot sale, or on sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle. You may even find something similar in your granny’s attic! With a bit of paint and some imagination, you can create something beautiful at a fraction of the price.

Make sure you match the era

It’s important to match the era of the piece of furniture with the style of upcycling. An old 1950s G-plan sideboard will never look good painted in pastels and then distressed to give a shabby chic coastal effect. Be sympathetic to the original style – for example, a piece like that would look great painted in a bold colour, or decoupaged using geometrical wallpaper.

Paint brushes

Spend a few extra pennies on good paint brushes

Cheap ones leave bristles in your work and don’t give good coverage. All good paint brands now have their own paint brushes which work wonderfully well together. Wrap brushes and rollers in tinfoil or Clingfilm in between coats to keep the brush moist and then clean them as soon as you’ve finished painting or waxing.

Collect old odd socks

They are great to use to apply wax to furniture, providing they are not too fluffy, as any loose fibres will stick to the wax but make sure they’re clean ones!

Have fun and be bold

You are not bound by the constraints of what is available on the high-street. There are so many colours to choose from and a wealth of ideas on Pinterest to inspire you. There should be no end to everyone’s creativity!

Cupboard handles

Save the details

Remove old drawer knobs first so you don’t paint around them only to find when you remove the old ones, the new ones are smaller and you have a space with no paint.

Do your research

New products are launched all of the time which seems to make the impossible, possible. For example, protective outdoor paints and sprays mean that you can be creative with outdoor spaces and create the look of an extra room in the garden quite easily. Think outside the box, gardens don’t have to be full of teak furniture. There are some amazing new easy crackle glaze products out there which means you can age a piece easily. This is great news if you find second hand mirrors or frames as these can be made to look super expensive.

Look after it

Once you have finished your pieces, make sure you protect all your hard work with wax or varnish to give it longevity. After putting so much effort into making something reloved, give it the respect it deserves by finishing it properly.

Don’t be afraid to try and get started, I always say that there are no mistakes in upcycling – only lessons learnt.

For further tips, visit Love Nellie

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 1:36 pm Home Improvements • 6 Comments