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A new lease of life

Upcycling furniture: Revive and reimagine

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Revive old and beloved furniture and bring your own unique style to interior design – on a budget everyone can afford. Read on for some nifty ideas on upcycling furniture!

Upcycling furniture: Why we should do it

After a certain Swedish flatpack furniture brand made it more affordable to bring clean, contemporary and minimalist design into our homes, it’s been tempting to just buy a new item every time we want to replace chairs, tables and bookshelves. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it has left many people’s homes looking, well, a bit too similar and – dare we say – ever so slightly soulless.

Another option that’s just as – if not even more – affordable is upcycling old furniture. It only needs a few simple DIY techniques to take an old dresser or a characterful desk from preloved to re-loved.

Whether you’re upcycling pine furniture, upcycling garden furniture or upcycling vintage furniture, it provides you with a canvas to express your individual creativity and bring some beauty into your home that will set it apart from your friends’ and neighbors’. Ultimately, upcycling furniture projects are fun, rewarding and unique.

Upcycling furniture ideas: Paint

One of the easiest ways to update and revive an item of furniture is to give it a new coat of paint. You can do this to match the color scheme of a room, or create a contrast and make the item a standout centerpiece.

  1. Protect. Cover the floor of the area you are working in to protect it from dust and flecks of paint. Use an old sheet or several layers of newspaper.
  2. Sand. The surfaces of the item of furniture you are upcycling might be uneven or varnished. If so, use sandpaper or a power sander to smooth them over and strip away any varnish. Brush or wipe away any dust
  3. Prime. Now apply a primer to the surface to ensure the new layer of paint is even and smooth. This will also stop it from flaking and give it a longer life
  4. Paint. Your item of furniture is now ready to paint. Use chalk paint to give it a characterful rustic effect, eggshell paint for a semi-matte look, silk paint for a softer, more graceful glow or gloss paint for a shiny finish that really makes your furniture pop. If you want to get creative, you can even use multiple colors and paint finishes – but plan and sketch these out before you begin.

Upcycling furniture ideas: Wallpaper

Another way to enhance furniture is by using patterned wallpaper. This can be applied to cupboard and wardrobe doors, drawer fronts, table tops and more to give them a unique feature. It can even be done in conjunction with a new paint job that matches the color or colors of the wallpaper.

  1. Cut. After you have chosen the wallpaper and selected the surfaces you want to glue it to, measure them and cut the wallpaper to match the dimensions.
  2. Sand. To ensure that your wallpaper can be properly glued to the surfaces you’ve selected, first sand them down with sandpaper or a power sander. Brush or wipe away any dust.
  3. Glue. Pretest the spray adhesive on a piece of wallpaper to make sure that it doesn’t bleed through and discolor the wallpaper. Cover the surface of the furniture and the backside of the wallpaper with a high-strength spray adhesive, then carefully position the piece of wallpaper you’ve cut and press it down onto the surface. Use a plastic squeegee or spatula to work out any air bubbles and smooth out the wallpaper to the edges.
  4. Dry. Leave to dry in accordance with your spray adhesive’s instructions.

Panels made of wooden materials tend to bend if an additional layer such as wallpaper is glued to one side only - adding another layer on the backside helps to prevent this effect.

Upcycling old furniture: Rust

One of the most common problems you’ll find with any old furniture that features metal components is rust. Loctite Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver works in just five to 10 minutes to remove it from ferrous metals like iron and steel. It can be sprayed or brushed and will even work on heavily rusted items.

Products used

  • loctite spray adhesive professional performance 13.5oz can
    Loctite Spray Adhesive Professional

    High-strength and temperature-resistant permanent bonds for indoor/outdoor use.

Expert Tip

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