Why it's time for you to give pine furniture another shot (yes, really)

Often, pine furniture is well made and high quality but simply not quite as on-trend as you’d like. The good news is upcycling pine furniture is easier than you think.


man with rubber glove and brush painting wooden table

Almost every home has a piece of pine furniture somewhere. Boring, ugly, unloved pine, often buried under piles of clutter. But you might be surprised to discover that pine’s excellent quality (perhaps that explains why it’s hung around so long) makes it perfectly primed for a makeover.

With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can transform those shiny orange eyesores into something that fits in beautifully with your own home decor style. Customising and upcycling pine furniture is easier than you might think. What’s more, making over a piece of furniture is very rewarding and relaxing, a great way to while away a rainy Saturday afternoon.

So what are you waiting for? Dive into our top tips and ideas for upcycling your pine pieces.

Upcycling wooden furniture 101: it’s all in the prep

For a smooth, pro-looking finish, you need a strong start. Begin by sanding down your pine piece to get rid of any varnish. It’s also important to make sure it is clean and dry before you start painting it (head here for some top tips on how to clean wooden furniture). Lay down some old newspaper to protect your floors and pop on some clothes you don’t mind getting splashed with a few paint splodges.

Upcycling paint: the basics

If sanding and prepping seem like too much faff, grab a tin of chalk paint. It can be used right away and painted straight on to any kind of wood, with no priming necessary (though a quick clean with wire wool and a damp cloth will do wonders for your finish). If the shabby chic style that chalk paints are known for isn’t your thing, fear not, as they now come in a range of more muted, contemporary hues. Apply your paint in several thin layers (not one thick one). A smooth roller can help get a streak-free finish, especially on bigger pieces like wardrobes and doors. Once your paint is completely dry, adding a layer of protective clear wax safeguards against spills, sticky fingers and stains.

Upcycled drawers: 3 gorgeous ideas

You can never have enough storage, right? Instead of spending the weekend assembling another plastic veneer-covered MDF purchase, reevaluate the benefits of a solid wood pine piece. If you don’t have any at home, you’ll likely be able to pick one up for buttons at your local charity shop. It will almost certainly last longer and is much easier to transform and adapt as the years go by. Don’t believe us? Here are three things you can try with a simple set of pine drawers:

  1. For a kid’s room, you can use Mod Podge (an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish) to decoupage your piece, covering it a cute print or even with family photos. There are tons of step-by-step video tutorials online.
  2. In a more grown-up space, consider simply painting it a muted colour and adding some cute door knobs. You can find cool vintage ones online, at interiors or craft stores or you might just get lucky at your local charity shop.
  3. For a more minimalist, on-trend feel, you could try sanding and waxing and simply leaving it at that. Removing the varnish will take that notorious orange shine off, and you may be surprised at how much you like your pine piece au natural.

And that’s that – pretty easy, right? Don’t worry if you don’t fall in love at first sight with your creation, either. The process is part of the fun, and you can always try again with different paint or a new idea.

Originally published