Transforming Your Home – The Upcycling Way

30 Jan

There’s not much that’s good about this recession is there? VAT hikes, pay cuts – none of it happy news, but amidst the gloom there’s one chink of light: the trend towards loving what you already own. Restoring and taking care of what you’ve got and looking afresh at what’s already in your cupboards is exactly the sort of behaviour that skint girls embrace – and right now it’s more fashionable – and necessary – than ever. ‘Upcycling’ is the trendy name for it, ie taking what you’ve got and making it even better.

 Upcycling is now big business, with established designers vying to transform bits of junk into beautiful things. At a professional level, people are busy turning old tyres into funky chairs and old plastic bottles into gorgeous chandeliers, but there’s a whole lot you can do yourself at home, just by thinking creatively about what you own. From sanding down and repainting old furniture, to coating it with resin and covering it with pictures, there are loads of ways to improve past-its-prime furniture and turn it into something better.

  • Give an old chest of drawers a repaint and some flamboyant handles to transform it into a snazzy bedside table
  • Scour car boot sales and charity shops for design classics from the sixties and seventies then give them a makeover with a bit of spray paint. I recently bought this seventies sunburst clock, below,  for two pounds at a car boot sale, cleaned it up and sprayed it silver. It looks fantastic in my hall  –  and best of all I found out that posh high street store, Heal’s are selling similar for £85! Bonanza! 

    My two quid style statement


  • Clip beautiful pictures from art books, or even magazines – Vogue’s fashion spreads, for example, are often spectacular. Mount them on card and frame them, then hang in a group of three. They will look expensive and stylish. Markets and charity shops are great places to find funky frames for a couple of pounds.  Spray-paint wooden frames silver or gold – takes two minutes and really looks the business.
  • Recycle old clothes into cushion covers (you only need basic sewing skills for this). Here’s how.
  • Paint is a Godsend to those on a budget – it jazzes up a room like nothing else, it’s cheap, easy to use and you can choose from every colour of the rainbow and then a million more. In short, it’s the biggest decorating bang for your buck that you’re likely to get. From accent walls, to picture rails, to floors and doors, painting is one of the quickest, cheapest ways to zazz up just about anything.

Let your imagination run wild! If you’ve got a piece of furniture that no longer floats your boat, what do you have to lose by sanding it down, changing the handles or giving it a lick of paint?

Paint? Check. Handles? Check. Whole new look? You bet.


One Response to “Transforming Your Home – The Upcycling Way”


  1. Viva Vintage – Why Secondhand is Trumping The New « Skint in the City - October 31, 2011

    […] way more sustainable than cheap garments that fall apart then fall into landfill. Customising and upcycling, whether clothing or furniture, are the darlings of the green […]

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