Upcycling is the art of breathing new life into old items and it’s far more than just a side hustle for hipsters. There has been a major surge in the popularity of upcycling in recent years as shows like The Repair Shop on the BBC and trends on TikTok have brought the idea into the mainstream.
What is Upcycling and How Do I Get Started?
Upcycling is the process of repurposing old or discarded items into something new and valuable. It’s an incredibly creative endeavour and rewarding that can lend your home a unique touch and become a compelling hobby.
Getting started couldn’t be easier either. Start by scouring local charity shops and car boot sales for hidden treasures. You’d be amazed at the quality pieces and hidden gems you can find that are just begging for a makeover if you’re willing to look for them. The internet is a goldmine of upcycling inspiration too. Look for online guides, tutorials, DIY blogs and YouTube videos that provide step-by-step instructions on how to transform specific pieces of furniture.
If you’re new to upcycling, however, we’d always recommend starting with smaller projects as this will help you build your skills and confidence before tackling larger, more complex and potentially valuable pieces. Also, you won’t have to worry about making a mistake on smaller projects.
Is Upcycling Sustainable?
Upcycling isn’t just a creative way to redecorate your home but a sustainable practice that reduces waste and promotes environmental responsibility too. Not only does it reduce waste and prevent perfectly serviceable items from ending up in landfills, but it also conserves resources. Perhaps even more profoundly, furniture manufacturing consumes vast amounts of energy and upcycling, by contrast, is a much greener process.
Popular Upcycling Ideas
The only limits to the potential of upcycling are in your imagination, the tools and resources at your disposal and your level of skill. Upcycled projects have included everything from
- Old chairs can be transformed with a fresh coat of paint and new upholstery. Consider mixing and matching chair styles for a unique dining set.
- Refinish an old chest of drawers by sanding, painting, or staining it. You can also replace the hardware for an instant update.
- Reupholstering an old armchair can give it a completely new look. Don’t forget to use a staple gun for securing the fabric.
- Repurpose an old bookcase as a display shelf for your collectibles or convert it into a stylish bar cabinet.
Tools of the Trade
Of course, what good would any upcycler be without their tools? You’ll need some essential carpentry tools and disposable materials such as paint, varnish, and sandpaper, before you even consider getting started. Of course, the specific tools required will vary depending on the project, so be sure to research and prepare accordingly before you roll up your sleeves and get cracking.