How to give your furniture a new lease on life

How to give your furniture a new lease on life

Upcycling furniture is an easy, fun and affordable way to give new life to tired or just boring furniture pieces.

By Sherron Dalziel

how to upcycle your old furniture

You may have something at home looking sad in a corner, (no not the dog), or under the house, at an op shop or just calling to you from a curbside collection.
Wooden pieces are the simplest to makeover and usually the easiest to get your hands on.
With a coat of paint, tables, chairs, chests and shelving units can be transformed in no time at all.

You will need:

  • Piece of furniture
  • Sandpaper 150grit if the wood has no shiny surface
  • 80 grit if you need to take some shine off
  • Lint-free rags
  • Newspaper to protect the floor
  • Brushes
  • 2 different sizes depending upon how big the project is
  • Paint
  • A primer is optional but can give a good base for the following coats.
  • Chalk paint - drys quickly and gives a good coverage or
  • Acrylic paint. Both are water soluble and no nasty odours.
  • Surface finish
  • Varnish is not essential but protects both chalk paint and acrylic or for only interior use and a different look, wax can be used on the chalk surface.

Let's get going

  1. Lay down newspaper or a drop sheet for those excited paint drips. Make sure there is no dust or dirt on the piece so brush it down and give it a good wipe over with a damp cloth.
  2. A light sandpapering will help the paint stick and also evens up any rough edges or splintery bits if it has already had a hard life and give it another wipe down as you don't want dust in the paint surface.
  3. Apply your first coat of either primer or your chosen paint. You don't have to be too worried about this coat so go for it and just make sure you have got into all the fiddle bits. Once dry do another light sand all over and smooth out any drips, and wipe away the dust.
  4. You need to be more careful with the next coat. Start from the top and work down so you can catch the drips. Follow the grain of the wood in long smooth strokes. If the paint looks a bit thick add some water a little at a time. 
  5. Another light sand and wipe again and you're up to the final coat (hopefully). This depends upon the finish you want. I like a more relaxed look, less work, and I sand away the edges to let some wood show through.
  6. Once dry, and if required,  seal your piece with a varnish, again smooth strokes and try to minimise drips. Furniture wax can be rubbed into the chalk surface if you prefer a softer finish.
  7. Items such as table tops and chests etc will need surface protection but the chair shown l left with just the painted finish.
  8. Chair pads are easy to recover and you can find those details and videos by searching online, it's a bit tricky to try and explain. You just need some fabric scissors and a staple gun.

We'd love to see pictures of your unique upcycled pieces tag us on Instagram and #banishbandit.

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