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One of the most exciting and undoubtedly creative parts of living sustainably is upcycling old furniture. There is no limit when you are looking to turn previously loved items into fresh-looking pieces. From rustic chic to elegant vintage, there are many upcycling ideas for the furniture that you could try.
Tapping into your creative side and trying to see the beauty even in the most ragged piece of furniture might be challenging. But remember that there is a treasure hiding behind every scratched wooden surface or even threadbare sofas. Dig through your hardware cabinet for some leftover varnish or a small amount of paint that could turn any well-loved chair into looking elegant once again. Old patterned curtains could make for quirky upholstery for your favourite reading chair. Sometimes, you might surprise yourself where you find inspiration.
Upcycling your furniture is not just about being quirky or fashionable. Brand-new furniture could cost an arm and a leg sometimes. Aside from that, buying new things means someone has to keep on manufacturing new things. When furniture factories create new items, they consume primary resources - from the wood made into your furniture, fuel to transport materials to the factory to shop to your doorstep, and even plastic to keep your furniture safe as it is transported to your home.
Buying new things is not bad, per se. There’s nothing wrong with buying new items to display at home or use for comfort. But if you keep on buying and the world keeps on creating them for everyone’s consumption, there might come a time when our environment will not keep up with the demand and run out of finite resources.
Forests will be cut down to produce your elegant dining table set. Arctic caps will keep on thawing as fossil fuel heats the atmosphere. Buying new furniture every time you tire of your current ones or looking used could cost us our environment something irreplaceable.
One of the most precious renewable resources we have as humans is our creativity. Creativity is the master plan behind every sustainability plan. It is the powerful energy that transforms ideas into action. It is the wisdom that sparks innovative solutions to the world’s most trying challenges.
And being creative doesn’t happen in the world’s biggest platform, either. It could happen everywhere - even in the comfort of your home. When you cut down on meat and turn your local fresh produce into something delicious for everyday meals, that is a type of creativity. When you switch your gaudy watch into something new, chic and sustainable such as a wooden watch, you are fashionable and creative.
Upcycling your favourite well-loved furniture is also creative while being conscious of what you consume from the environment. Recycling is an exercise in sustainability and creativity. It’s finding new ways to use old products and creating beautiful but functional items that could last you longer.
So prepare your pens and papers. Bring out your scissors, paint, or even tape measure. We’ve gathered 7 of the countless upcycling ideas for the furniture that you could try that will surely take your interior design to the next level without harming the environment.
The star of any living room is your sofa. After years of receiving guests and witnessing your family’s most cherished moments, your sofa chair might look a little old and weary. This doesn’t mean you have to let it go and collect dust and garbage in the landfills.
A little splash of dark paint or varnish could make the stained and scratched frame look fresh and chic. Choose any printed curtains or brightly coloured sheets that could help take your busted sofa into a dazzling character in your living room.
Let’s face it: old window shutters could be making your house look a little dated and too vintage. Moving homes just because your window shutters look a little old doesn’t sound too sustainable, either. But you could replace these long-serving window shutters with glass windows, which are more durable and could bring light to your home.
Does that mean you throw away your old window shutters? Certainly not! A little minor carpentry, and you will get yourself a new and chic cabinet. Make sure to paint to match it with your interiors. Your new shutter cabinet will look absolutely amazing as a statement cabinet in your living room or a convenient bedside cabinet.
Throwing away a big and bulky thing as old desks might sound a little too wasteful. After all, if your desk is made from wood, it still could be repurposed into something useful. How about you take all those wood and fashion them into beautiful and functional side tables?
Minor carpentry work is also needed to make this upcycling idea happen, but the results are more than worth it. Take the drawers out and add some wooden legs to make them stand. A little coat of paint or even a fun wallpaper could make your newly minted side tables a lot more elegant.
If you have a dresser you’re looking forward to disposing of, maybe take a pause and take a good look into it. A really good look at your dresser might bring you to imagining your very own DIY wine rack that would look showstopping on your next wine night with your friends and family.
Breathe a new life to your dresser with some scrap wood, a few nails, and some minor carpentry work. You can also craft the top shelf as an upside-down glass holder. Your new and chic wine rack will fit perfectly on your kitchen bar or as a new addition to your living room.
French-style benches look sophisticated on your balcony. And would you believe that it doesn’t take much to create your French-style benches? You could turn any preloved chairs into a French-style bench!
This crafty project works wonders even if you have cheaply made chairs made of thin wood. Align two chairs facing each other and nail down a connecting scrap wood that would serve as the bench. If you have any old pillows or any soft materials that could be used as the bench’s upholstery, then that would be perfect. Don’t forget to paint the frame and voila! Tres chic French-style benches without paying a fortune!
Your old door does not need to head into the landfill after serving its purpose. If you are looking forward to disposing of your door for some reason, you can hold off any plans of throwing it away and upcycle it by turning it into your new headboard.
Remove the doorknob or any other accoutrements there are in your door. If you are ready for some challenge, you can choose to strip the door of its paint and sand it down. You could also paint it to match your bed frame for an easier time. One thing’s for sure, though, your old door frame would look sophisticated as a headboard.
Perhaps one of the loftiest ideas in this list, transforming an old drawer into a fancy-looking ottoman is easier than it sounds! Add a special touch of fancy to your home with this cute and innovative drawer-turned ottoman.
With a bit of creativity and carpentry, use scrap wood and use it as the ottoman’s cover. Attach some stuffing and cover it with a quirky fabric to finish. Don’t forget to attach some legs to your drawer to complete the transformation.
Being creative is one of the pillars of sustainable living. Creativity is a renewable source of inspiration and energy that spurs society and civilization as we know it. With a bit of creativity, upcycling ideas for furniture could immensely help save our environment. Paired with a trusty hammer, a small can of paint, and some well-loved fabric, you can turn a dresser, desk, or even a sofa into something elegant and sophisticated without hurting your budget or the environment.
Are you looking for some other fun ideas to incorporate into your sustainable lifestyle? Check out our article on sustainable ideas to live by this summer.