Upcycling has to be one of the most satisfying hobbies involving secondhand goods that I know of. I’ve upcycled several furniture pieces now; a couple that have gone really well and one in particular that didn’t. To avoid my mistakes and have quick and easy projects, take note of my advice about what I’ve learned whilst upcycling furniture!
Unless you are a chippy, or know someone who is that is willing to help you out, do not purchase furniture that requires significant repair or has alot of water damage. Check that doors close well, drawers slide open and shut and that surfaces are relatively level. A bit of surface staining or chipping is fine, but anything that is structural or will require parts to be repaired is to be avoided if you want to finish your project quickly. However, if you have the time, skills and equipment to fix major issues with a piece, go for it!
Remember, this is meant to be an enjoyable hobby! Don’t rush through a project if you can avoid it, you’ll probably do a sloppy job and be reminded of the stress every time you look at it. My favourite projects are the ones I’ve enjoyed choosing paint colours, hardware and finishes over months and spent weeks finishing the job. Taking your time will also mean you may be able to source other secondhand items to finish your piece, like handles, knobs or fabric.
As tempting as it might be to go out and load up on every free or low cost peice that you find on Facebook marketplace, think about what storage you have and how much space you have to properly take apart, sand, restore or paint your item. Working in a cramped space is no fun, and neither is looking at the anxiety inducing looming pile of furniture you never have time to work on.
Not only is this the safer thing to do, it will also save you time and potentially get you a better finish at the end of the day. If you plan to make this a regular hobby, investing in good quality power tools will make the world of difference, especially an electric detail sander and drill.
These are my quick tips for upcycling I’ve learned along the way, please let us know if you have any other great tips for us!