The Upcycle Revolution
Updated: Jan 27
If there is ever a critical time to talk about the environment, it is now. The landscape is shifting and thankfully our attitudes are too. As a society we are becoming more engaged with the benefits of sustainability. The concept of upcycling household items that are looking tired and in need of a transformation is increasingly taking on the new norm.
To claim your stake in the upcycling revolution, it is good to understand what it actually means. In simple terms, it is about making use of waste or something you no longer use and repurposing it to improve and prolong its use. An example of this is repurposing an old guitar case and turning it into a funky bookshelf. Upcycling furniture might seem a little daunting if you have never tried it before, but it really is not that hard. Creative ideas can give a new purpose to something that would have otherwise been discarded. In fact, the rewards you reap from saving moving and increasing the value on that item outweigh an expensive trip on a whim to the furniture store.
Where on earth do we start when it comes to upcycling? Firstly, if you have a furniture piece in mind and you do not happen to have something similar at home to upcycle, visit vintage markets, car boot sales, charity shops or online second-hand sites such as freecycle or ebay for a great bargain. Preparation is important so ensure you have the right tools and equipment to help you. Give your items a good wipe down first before you get started.
Sometimes all it takes is sanding paper, good paint and some elbow grease to transform your granny’s chest of drawers. If you are looking to achieve the distressed paint finish, apply wax and a top layer of paint over the first coat of paint. That top layer of paint is only optional if you are looking for two tones of paint in your distressed finish. Distress the item with steel wool and sandpaper once the paint is dry. If you have painted two coats, use the steel wool to go over the waxed areas to reveal the base colour. And voilà, you have a new piece of furniture!
Look to pinterest for inspiration, you will be surprised with how much of the ordinary things we use every day can become extraordinary with a little creativity. To get you into the crafty swing of things, here are some ideas to consider:
- For small spaces, source some reclaimed wood and strong rope to suspend a shelf by affixing securely to the ceiling.
- Fancy a wine bottle rack to mount to your wall? Find some old vinyl discs – they are so malleable so with a little heat applied you can bend them to create a holder for your wine bottle. Display a group of them on the wall for the ultimate retro look!
- Pick up some old world globes and use them as cool light fixtures by cutting the bottom of the globe to thread through the pendant light and attach to the ceiling.
- Always dreamt of a kitchen island? Upcycle a large display cabinet or chest of drawers and securely affix a quartz countertop on top.