How to upcycle furniture

Breathe new life into tatty furniture with our top, up-cycling tips

The Knowledge

Breathe new life into pieces of old, tatty furniture with our top, up-cycling tips from experts Theresa Tsui and Ali Yazdjerdi

Theresa Tsui, Chief Creator at reMADE DXB

Repaint an old wooden chair in a bright and vibrant colour to bring it back to life. Use fine sandpaper to remove all traces of varnish before priming and painting with two even coats of custom blend satin enamel.

Wallpaper the back panels of a bookcase to transform an ordinary piece of furniture into something unique. Remove the back panel of your bookcase and apply wallpaper as you would on a wall.

Upcycle old shutters or doors into room dividers. Take three doors and hinge them together to form a self-standing room divider. Paint or stain them as you wish.

Decoupage the frame of an old mirror. All you need is a mirror with a wide frame, some Mod Podge (a decoupage medium), and some old maps, vintage book, comics or decorative napkins. Lightly sand the frame to remove any wax or varnish, before creating your collage across the frame.

Spray paint a standard hallway table or piece of wooden furniture that you’re bored with. Use an all-in-one spray-on primer first. Take this project outside and make sure that you cover your mouth.

Ali Yazdjerdi, owner of bespoke furniture company The Taz Project

Create an antique finish Apply a base coat of paint, allow it to dry, and then add your final colour. When that is dry, use sandpaper to distress some areas – and then apply a coat of stain, wiping it off before it dries. Protect your work with a coat of polyurethane (matt, stain
or glossy).

Use a doily as a stencil to paint beautiful and elegant designs on your old furniture.

Bring furniture back to life
by applying a couple of coats of oil. You have lots of options, including Danish, Tung and Linseed, each giving a different finish.

Mix oil and varnish to give old pieces a new lease of life. Use any of the oils mentioned above, along with your choice of varnish. The standard mixture is one third oil, one third varnish, and one third thinner.

Give furniture a textured effect by pulling a dry paintbrush through a coat of wet paint. The bristles will cut grooves through the paint, creating the unique effect. This can be achieved on any surface.

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