25 June 2014

A guide to upcycling this spring

Getting a new look in your home doesn’t always have to mean splashing out on new furniture. Here’s a look at how you can upcycle everything from old mirrors to your kitchen cabinets.


A dull and dingy wooden chair can be cheered up by painting the frame in a lighter colour and reupholstering the seat. The simplest and cheapest way to upcycle an armchair is to give it a new cover, put a throw over it or adorn it with new cushions. You don’t have to go to any great cost, but your chair will be given a new lease of life.


If you’ve got an old table that’s suffering from wear and tear you can give it a revamp with a lick of paint. If you want a shabby chic look, paint your table and then sand it down so that the grain of the wood or even previous coats of paint can be seen through the new paint.


An old mirror can be transformed with very little effort. Simply by changing the finish or colour of the frame, you can instantly give it a new look. You can also make use of a broken mirror by using the pieces for mosaic.. The reflections give a stunning effect to things like photo frames and table tops. All you need is a pair of tile cutters, glue and some grout – but take care with those sharp edges.


If the creative urge takes you, try making your own artwork out of things found lying around your home, including magazines, tickets, photos and bottle tops. You might not be the next Damien Hirst, but creating your own pieces will give you a sense of satisfaction and put a personal stamp on your home. Picture frames can also be overhauled with spray paint or chalk. Use bold colours to make your artwork stand out.


If you’ve got lots of books that you’re never going to read gathering dust, you can turn them into bookshelves – literally. Buy two sets of brackets, using one set for below the books and a single bracket for above. Measure the thickness of each book and start drilling. Slide each book between the top and bottom brackets before placing lightweight objects on it.

Filing cabinets

Most of us could do with some extra storage in our home, and one way to achieve that is to upcycle a filing cabinet that you no longer need. Smaller ones can be used as drawer space in your bedroom, while taller ones can be revamped to give you an extra worktop and more storage space in the kitchen. Spray your filing cabinet casing and drawers with primer and cover in two coats of a spray paint colour of your choice. For the kitchen unit, screw a chopping board to the top, and attach some hooks to the side for your utensils to hang on. For the bedroom unit, build a wooden base for it to rest on.

Kitchen cabinets

If you’re a dab hand at DIY, old kitchen cupboards can be revitalised with new drawer or door fronts for the fraction of the cost and upheaval of replacing your kitchen. Alternatively, mismatched furniture can be painted in complementary colour tones to give a more contemporary feel. It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to transform the look of a room.

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