Ten easy ways to upcycle old furniture


    A great weekend project that can save you money and allow you to keep older items that are full of memories.

  1. Bed frames often have a lot of memories associated with them, so keep hold of yours by turning it into a bench that can be used inside or outdoors. Simply cut it down to size, reattach the foot of the bed if desired, then paint to cover imperfections. Small bed frames also make great raised flower boxes.
  2. Rugs gather grubby patches and marks over the years but may otherwise still be serviceable. Try stencilling on a pattern in a dark colour using good-quality fabric paint. You can find a range of stencils online or make your own so it’ll cover any marks perfectly.
  3. Desks with drawers are easily repurposed as dressing tables – just combine them with a large mirror and a small seat. Swap the handles to make them feel less utilitarian and personalise with magnifying mirrors for make-up and additional storage.
  4. If a mirror’s beyond repair or broken, think about cutting it into sections, sanding away any sharp edges and using it to clad furniture, make smaller mirrors or hand mirrors, glue onto a tray or bowl for a shiny piece of tableware, decorate your garden or hang up as wind chimes.
  5. Don’t overlook light fittings. As well as upcycling tired chandeliers with a new coat of paint, acrylic crystals and metallic accents, you can create your own fittings from almost anything heatproof, such as decanters or bottles with the base removed, wirework, pieces of perspex or even cardboard.
  6. As long as a sofa has a strong, sturdy frame, it can be adapted to suit a new purpose. Think about extending or cutting one down to fit a different room, replace the foam or padding, then reupholster in a new fabric. Piping, buttoning or new feet make a great finishing touch.
  7. There’s a world of things you can do with a wooden chair and a pot of paint, but how about giving découpage a go? Paste paper pictures to the seat or frame, then cover with layers of varnish to protect them. Alternatively, if your chair is beyond repair, its parts can be split up to create shelving, a towel rack or picture frames.
  8. Battered suitcases can be revamped into almost anything you like. Stack and secure them to create a stand or table, slice in half and add a pillow to make a pet bed, or use as open shelving. You could even add legs for a neat ottoman that looks great at the end of a bed.
  9. Coffee tables are just the right size to be adapted to lots of uses. You could add a long cushion to the top and pop it below a window so it forms an inviting seat with a view, or cover the top with chalkboard paint to make an activity table for children. Or try swapping the top for something more luxurious, such as a slab of marble, an antique mirror or rustic wood.
  10. The trick with cabinets is to look past ugly finishes or minor damage and look for a pleasing shape overall. Once it’s stripped back, you can start to emphasise this with a bright colour (spray paint is better if you’re not handy with a brush) and layers of lacquer for a glossy finish. Then place where it’s needed – as a bedside table, hallway storage, kitchen furniture or as a bathroom vanity unit.