Unilever logo
Coronavirus (Covid-19) information: How to keep yourself, your loved ones and your home safe.

3 ways to make the most of unwanted furniture

Transform your old furniture with these three simple upcycling furniture projects.


By Cleanipedia Team

blue stool with potted plant by the wooden door

Take a good look around your home and garage - chances are you’re hoarding old furniture you can’t be bothered to take to the tip, right? Now imagine you could breathe new life into this old furniture with some simple upcycling and restoration inspiration. Upcycling furniture is fun and rewarding (and for many a tad addictive too). It’s also fairly easy, even if you’re a total newbie (honest). So dig out the old newspaper sheets and get that DIY wear ready for action.

Before you get started: prepare your wood and soft furnishings

The devil’s in the cleaning detail when it comes to a good furniture upcycling and restoration. It’s important to start with a clean canvas. And this means banishing dust, stains and any signs of wear and tear.

If your piece is made of pine, use our handy guide to cleaning pine furniture. For tips on cleaning other types of wood from mahogany to oak, check out our tips on cleaning and polishing wood. Depending on the condition and finish, your wood may also need to be sanded down too.

Top tip: Before getting started, don’t forget to take the obligatory ‘before’ pic so you can share your upcycled furniture before and after and inspire others to give it a try!

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

1. Upcycling old bookshelves into a shoe rack

If your hallway is filled with muddy shoes and stacked up old boots, this simple hack will be a delight for your doorway.

  1. First, change the finish of the wooden bookshelf to match the decor of where your new shoe rack will sit. 
  2. You can sand, prime and paint, or opt for chalk paint which can just be applied right away, with no prep required.
  3. If you’d like the shoes to be out of sight (who doesn’t?), fit an extendable (no screw) shower curtain rod across the top shelf and add some pretty fabric to act as a curtain.

2. Upcycling your old wooden ladder

Old wooden ladders are one of our favourite things upcycle, as they can be quickly and easily transformed into modern or rustic look shelving units.

  1. Clean your ladder with an old wet rag to remove dust and dirt. 
  2. You can then either leave au natural, adding plants and decorative fairy lights for a sweet boho look, or paint it to match your decor for something sleeker.

3. From humble stool to chic plant stand

That neglected old wooden stool is easy to upcycle into a beautiful home for your plants.

  1. If the stool has a cushioned top, you’ll need to remove this before starting. 
  2. Then, get painting - we love the idea of having the top and legs painted in contrasting colours. 
  3. If the surfaces are unvarnished there’s no need to sand or prime – chalk paint will do the trick.

Then let the paint dry and add your pretty plant pot to the top.

If you’re keen to get started and are ready for more upcycling old furniture inspiration, here are some more furniture makeover ideas perfect for the weekend.

Originally published