Easy upcycling ideas to spruce up your wooden furniture

Find out how to upcycle furniture and give it a new lease of life in this guide.

24 June 2019

gloved hand painting plank of wood for rustic ladder shelf
Sustainability

Quality wooden furniture can be hard to come by – at least not without paying good money for it! If you’ve got an old piece of wooden furniture that needs some TLC, whether it’s a cabinet, chest of drawers or even an old chair, then turn it into something new with our easy upcycling ideas.

If you’re in need of cheap, unique furniture, buy old wooden pieces from second-hand shops and use our great upcycling ideas to make them yours!

How do you upcycle furniture?

Learning how to upcycle furniture will vary from item to item. The choice is yours over how you update your old items – whether with paint, paper, decoration, or renovation. Get creative and let your imagination run wild or try some of our ideas below!

How to upcycle a chest of drawers

Follow these steps if you want to learn how to upcycle furniture in shabby chic style.

  1. Start by using sandpaper to remove old paint or varnish and create a clean, smooth surface on your wooden furniture.
  2. Then apply a primer to protect the wood and ensure a smooth paint job.
  3. Slick on two layers of water-based acrylic paint, leaving time for them to dry.
  4. One painted, gently rub with wire wool or sandpaper to reveal some of the wood beneath and give you a distressed look.
  5. Add some quirky door handles or door knobs to finish it off.

You can also apply the same steps to bedside table upcycling, just skip the last step.

Other ideas to upcycle old furniture

If you’re looking for great upcycling ideas for other items of wooden furniture, we’ve got plenty of inspiration. Not all projects have to involve lots of steps – sometimes, a coat of paint is enough.

  • Give old furniture a new lick of paint to brighten up old items.
  • Use stencils to provide interesting paint patterns on your furniture.
  • Reupholster or add new cushions to items like chairs to lift their appearance. 
  • Change door handles and other embellishments to update simple items of furniture.

Once you get the hang of how to upcycle wooden furniture, there’ll be no stopping you! You’ll be renewing all of your old pieces, transforming them into something new that fits more into your home and life.

Key steps

Remember these rules when upcycling wooden furniture:

  • Try easy upcycling ideas first to get the hang of it. Sometimes a lick of paint is enough.
  • Give wooden furniture a shabby chic update by painting and then sanding to reveal some of the wood beneath.
  • Use a stencil to create interesting paint finishes – make your own or buy them from stores.
  • Give your upcycled projects finishing touches with new door handles and other embellishments.