Upcycling Old Furniture: A Step-By-Step Guide

Whether you’ve just purchased a vintage item of furniture, or you want to jazz up some of your existing pieces, upcycling is a fun and low-cost way to lend your older possessions some new life. 

Of course, if you’ve never embarked on an upcycling project before, you may be a little hesitant. 

The good news is that it’s actually quite a straightforward process, as you will see from this handy step-by-step guide. As a result, you should soon be able to build up the confidence to upcycle on a more regular basis. With that aim in mind, let’s get started and learn how to upcycle the simple, stress-free way!

Step One: Invest In The Ideal Tools

If you want to upcycle, especially if you think it may become a pastime of yours, then you will need the right kit to be able to make the most of every piece of furniture. This kit should include:

  • A dust sheet to protect your floors, and a dust mask, to protect your lungs. 
  • Paint brushes and different types of paint (e.g. furniture paint and metal paint).
  • Masking tape.
  • Primer.
  • Sandpaper. 
  • A paint roller and a tray.

As you can see, none of these items will be very pricey to buy, and they will help you transform your pieces of furniture with ease. When they’re not in use, you can simply store them away until next time! 

If you don’t have room for your kit and any pieces awaiting your attention in your home, you can easily find a low-cost and convenient self-storage unit in your local area with the help of Safestore, where you can keep all of your upcycling items. 

Step Two: Prepare To Paint

Once you have all of your tools and the piece of furniture you want to upcycle to hand, it’s time to prepare. First things first, get your designated upcycling space ready by laying down the dust sheet, donning your mask, and laying out all of the kit that you will need. Then it’s time to prepare the item of furniture itself. 

For instance, if you are planning to give it a fresh coat of paint, you may need to sand it first to remove any scuffs and scratches before giving it a coating of primer to prepare the surfaces for your chosen paint colour. 

It’s recommended that you apply two coats of primer, leaving each coat to dry for up to four hours. Once fully dry, give the piece of furniture one more gentle sanding to ensure it’s as smooth as possible. 

Step Three: Get To Work!

Now it’s time for the fun part: the actual painting. If you want to paint the entire piece of furniture, then you can get stuck right away with your chosen colour. However, if you only want to paint certain parts – for instance, the legs of a coffee table – then you can use your tape to cover any bits that you want to leave unpainted. Just remember to allow the first coat of paint to fully dry before you apply the next one. Two coats are always recommended to ensure proper coverage. 

Step Four: The Finishing Touches 

Once the paint has dried on your item and you’re happy with the results, it’s time to add a couple of finishing touches to make your upcycled furniture look professionally done – and to help your work last longer. 

This simply means applying a coat of wax or varnish to seal the surfaces of your transformed piece and protect the paintwork. Of course, you can always skip this step if you’re after a more ‘distressed’ or rustic look!

You may also want to add some additional little flourishes, such as a new set of handles or even some strips of washi tape for extra decoration. It’s entirely up to you. 

Once those little finishing touches are completed, you can now step back and congratulate yourself on your very first piece of upcycled furniture. Hopefully, you enjoyed yourself so much that you won’t think twice about doing it again with your next item of furniture that needs a new lease of life. 

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