Spring is almost in sight, but first, the coldest months of winter must pass. January and February bring with them plunging temperatures, snow and other unpleasant conditions which force us inside for respite. Paired with the restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, it’s likely that you’ve never spent so much time inside as you are doing at the present moment. Being indoors so much highlights more than just how much we take our freedom for granted – it also draws extreme amounts of attention to the homes in which we reside.
The bitterly cold winter months often see people renovate their homes in anticipation for the fresh beginnings of spring, and this has only been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic. Out with the old and in the new is the mantra on many people’s lips at this time of year, but due to COVID-19, it’s not quite possible to go shopping for the ‘new’. That’s doesn’t mean you need to be stuck with the ‘old’ though; upcycling furniture is an option that makes a lot of sense, especially since most people have a lot more free time to dedicate to home renovation projects at the moment.
If you’ve got a hideous coffee table screaming out for a refurb or a headboard you so desperately want to upholster, now is as good a time as any to reignite your love for what you already have. Before you get started though, you’ll need to be prepared for all eventualities. Like any DIY project, upcycling home furniture comes with the risk of not going exactly to plan. To minimise the chances of anything going heinously wrong, here are three tips to keep in mind before you get your overalls on and open the paint tin.
1. Check The Condition
As good as upcycling is, there are some items that simply can’t be saved. A lick of paint isn’t going to make an old wardrobe stable and usable, so before you invest hours on the project, make sure you properly inspect the item you’re trying to revive. For wooden items, you will need to check for things like woodworm because this can cause irreversible damage to the structure of the wood. If any areas are affected, you may be able to replace specific sections, but if there’s a lot of damage, it might be best to replace the entire item.
If you’re looking to renovate something metal (like a desk or a lamp base), check for rust. In the same way damp and woodworm affect wood, rust affects the structural stability of metal. Whilst smaller areas can be treated, if the majority of the item has extensive signs of damage, it may be beyond saving.
Taking the time to properly inspect the item you’re planning on upcycling can save you a lot of effort and will help you avoid disappointment if things don’t quite go to plan.
2. Match Styles
One mistake many people make when upcycling furniture is to try and change the style of the piece they’re renovating. Some furniture is old and won’t fit a contemporary style in the same way modern furniture won’t always suit an old look. Figure out the time period the furniture is from and try and restore it accordingly. Doing so will result in a much better finish that looks of a higher quality.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be imaginative with the item; you can still add artistic flair in the form of paint, panelling, fabric and wallpaper, but try and choose colours and styles that will complement the natural form of the furniture. Not everything looks good distressed in a shabby chic style, and not everything looks good perfectly neat and uniform. Take lead from the furniture and don’t try and force it to be something it’s not.
3. Think Outside The Box
Do you want a new shelf to display your books, accolades and plants but can’t find the right one? Maybe you’re existing shelf unit isn’t quite what you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean you need to go out and source a brand new one. Be creative and use what you have. Ladders have recently exploded in popularity as shelves because they’re a great size, easy to renovate and are something most people already have. Painting the old ladder in your garage could be the shelf solution you’ve been searching for!
Hallway seating can be expensive, but if you’ve got an old coffee table, you could repurpose it by painting it and adding padded cushions on top to create a bespoke bench unique to your hallway. There’s no limit of creativity when it comes to upcycling – if you think it will work, give it a go and find out.
The beauty of upcycling lies in the fact it’s very much trial and error; there’s no real right or wrong. That being said, these three tips will hopefully help you have less errors and more triumphs as you renovate your surroundings in time for the freshness that spring brings.