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Top 10 Tips on Upcycling Second Hand Furniture

ByDave Stopher

Jun 16, 2020

Instead of sending pricey old furniture to a landfill, how about a makeover? Second-hand and old hand-me-down furniture is often of better quality than cheap modern furniture. Other than buying a new low-quality bookshelf that is bound to break any time now, the better decision would be refurbishing an old antique bookshelf. With a bit of facelift and some TLC, it could look as good as new! Here are the 10 top tips you need to upcycle old and second-hand furniture:

  1. Finding Second Hand Furniture

If you do not own old antique furniture, there’s no need to fret. Second-hand furniture can be found locally in many places. Some of the popular ones are auctions, car boot sales, charity shops, and online sites such as Preloved. Online sites could give you a wide array of options before and an idea of how much second-hand pieces cost.

  1. Choosing the style

When you are going for an antique look, opt for carved, raised moldings or curved furnishing. Most upcyclers look for this authentic look, but if you’re out for the contemporary look, opt for clean lines and simplicity, for example, flat-front drawers and straight legs. Finish the look with perfectly chosen cabinet knobs. Remember to assess the quality of the furniture, and make sure you buy a solidly built piece. Buying an old desk doesn’t mean you should settle for a weak or chipped off piece.

  1. Painting the furniture

Various DIY painting techniques can be accessed on blog articles, YouTube, and through short online courses. Egg Shell paints, Milk, and Chalk paints are considered the best with old furniture. Before painting, practice a bit to ensure you get it right!

  1. Finding Inspiration

Pinterest has lots of ideas that you could explore when upgrading second-hand furniture pieces. It’s a great source of inspiration as well as furniture painting blogs. You could check out Annie Sloan’s furniture painting books for examples, and come up with a mood board where you could post all your painting ideas.

  1. Find your style

Different kinds of furniture have different painting styles, all invented by creative minds. Instead of copying others, how about creating something fresh out of the box? You’d be surprised by coming up with a genius way of decorating old furniture and creating a theme that matches your living space perfectly.

  1. Find good lighting

Natural lighting is the best when choosing colors since it showcases the original look, uncorrupted by colored bulbs and fluorescent indoor lighting. When it’s not practical due to rain and other weather conditions, paint your furniture in a room that receives a lot of natural light.

  1. Organize your workspace

Organize your equipment in an orderly way to ease the process of upgrading your furniture. It also prevents damage to other things in the house. Ensure your space is clean and tidy by using plastic storage boxes to sort and clear things away.

  1. Preparation is key

Before working on the surfaces, prepare and prime them. Wipe off all dust and debris, and if the furniture has scratches, paint peels, and dents, use sandpaper to soften the look beforehand.

  1. Use good quality brushes

Good quality brushed paint better. They also last longer in case you need to use them in the future. After using them, simply clean them then wrap them in tin foil to keep them moist.

  1. Protect your piece

When using a water-based paint such as Milk and Chalk paint, you need an extra moisture protective layer. This can be achieved by adding a top varnish or wax layer to the painted finish. High usage areas need 2 to 3 layers of wax. Besides protecting your piece, the wax will also give a nice soft sheen. Moreover, polyurethane varnish comes in matt or gloss options which increases versatility and protects your piece!

With these ten tips, your old second-hand pieces could look as good as new!