What is upcycling furniture and how can I do it?

Upcycling is a new take on recycling where instead of just giving an old object a new life, you use your crafting skills to make it more interesting and valuable than before.

Upcycling in the home commonly refers to revamping furniture, taking an old, broken, or unwanted item and repurposing it. For example, you could use your creativity to turn a plain wooden table into a new dining room centrepiece.

upcycling furniture

How can I upcycle my furniture?

Choosing the right furniture to upcycle:

You will need to choose something that has potential to be upcycled, this will need to be a structurally sound piece of furniture that can be used for many more years. Furniture with structural cracks or broken parts are better off for recycling.

Preparing the item:

Prepping the item is the best way to make sure that the repurposing lasts for a long time. If you plan to paint wooden furniture, it is best to sand down the surfaces using a palm sander to create a surface that can be easily painted. This is important if your furniture has a varnish coating as it will need to be removed before the surface can be painted.


Painting your furniture is what will really bring it to life, and choosing a bold and vibrant colour will help your upcycled piece stand out. This will also cover up and scuffs and scratches and make it look brand new.

First you will need to choose the paint colour. Choose one that matches your current home colour palette. You may want to use a coat of primer to allow the paint to adhere to the surfaces more securely, helping the paintwork last longer.

upcycling furniture


Upcycling furniture gives you the freedom to get creative with your design, this is where the decoration stage comes in. After painting, think about adding some extra finishing touches to make the piece come to life.

Adding varnish to your paintwork will transform the furniture from a home DIY project to an artistic furniture piece. The shine that varnish coating gives to the paintwork makes it look more professional. If you are planning to sell your upcycled items, a varnish coating could make it more valuable.

You can also add intricate designs and patterns to your upcycled furniture. One of the best ways to do this is by using some wallpaper designs for the surfaces. You can either use spare wallpaper you have or purchase a small amount of a design you like. This can be a great way to add life to your project, such as adding a fresh and funky design to the top surface of a small coffee table.

No matter the reason you choose to upcycle, whether it’s for the environmental benefits, to sell them on and make some extra money, or just for a project in your spare time, upcycling can be a fun hobby for anyone and a great creative outlet.

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