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Upcycle basics for the uninitiated

May 24, 2021

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ and while it’s traditionally a slogan applied to household waste, it’s also a sentiment that spilling over into interior design.

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ and while it’s traditionally a slogan applied to household waste, it’s also a sentiment that spilling over into interior design.

The practice of shunning brand new furniture in favour of repurposing what already exists has the dedicated and more glamorous name of ‘upcycling’, and is often used in the same sentence as ‘pre-loved’, ‘vintage’ and ‘revamped’.

Whether you’re a skip rat on the hunt for a cast aside gem, want to refresh what you already own or are reducing your carbon footprint by refusing to buy new, upcycling is the easy way to breathe a new lease of life into items.

This Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Upcycling is a great place to learn all the dos and don’ts, especially on matters of preparation and tools, and there are links to some great finished projects for inspiration. If you’re nervous, however, why not start with one of these simple ideas that are perfect for upcycle novices:

Replace the handles:  if you have a screwdriver, you can change door knobs and drawer handles. A trip to B&Q or Ikea is a good place to start but for a myriad of choice, take a look online. Currently in vogue are leather pull handles, knurled details and matt black bar handles.

Repaint the surfaces: thanks to some highly advanced primers and good old fashioned sandpaper, almost any surface can be treated and repainted. A great place to start is Zinsser, whose primers make light work of wood and plastic finishes. Take a look at their ‘how to’ guides before tackling your paint job.

Change table legs: it’s highly likely that any side, coffee or dining table will have legs that are simply bolted on. If that’s the case, it’s super easy to transform the entire look of an item with new legs. Today’s most fashionable option is hairpin legs and there’s even a company dedicated to selling these in different colours, styles and sizes. The Hairpin Leg Company’s website will give you all sorts of ideas – take a look!

Apply interesting elements: even the plainest bedside cabinet can become an eye-catching statement piece with a little imagination. Vinyl decals, stencilling and decoupage can add interest in the form of colour and pattern, while gluing on wood beading and moulding can add texture. 

Choose a new top: sticky back plastic isn’t just for Blue Peter or exercise books! This self-adhesive film has a myriad of applications in the home, especially on flat surfaces. One of its best uses is to recover existing furniture tops and with retailers including Wayfair stocking on-trend prints, including terrazzo, hessian, distressed wood and marble, you can quickly upgrade your look as you upcycle. 

If you’re a design conscious home mover and would like a new home to match your style, contact us for a list of available properties in your area. 

 

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