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The guide to upcycling furniture

Upcycled dark forest green sideboard painted with Lick Green 05 paint

Giving your home a fresh, new look doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Welcome to the world of upcycling furniture! Got a few tired-looking pieces of furniture around your home that could use a glow-up? We’d recommend giving upcycling a go.

Upcycling furniture is one of the cheapest and most impactful ways you can revive furniture. And no, you don’t need to be a DIY guru to get involved. No idea where to start? Read on for our mini-guide to upcycling with a few easy upcycling furniture ideas.

Benefits of upcycling furniture

  • Upcycling furniture saves you the expense (and hassle) of sourcing brand new pieces.
  • It’s easy - all you need to start is your paint colour of choice and tools.
  • It’s good for the environment - upcycle your furniture so it doesn’t end up in landfill any sooner than it really needs to.
  • Upcycling furniture is fun. And you’ll have a ‘new’ unique piece of furniture that no one else has.

How to upcycle your furniture with paint

Although there are many different ways to upcycle your furniture (staining, stencilling, upholstering, wallpapering, you name it..), refreshing it with a good old-fashioned lick of paint is the easiest way to get started.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Prep

Start by preparing the furniture item you’re looking to upcycle by giving it a good clean.  Take any knobs or handles off. Sand down the surface to make it smooth and give the paint something to stick to.

Step 2: Prime

Prime the furniture piece to make your paint last longer, especially if you’re upcycling an oft-used item such as a dining room table. Using a small paint brush or foam roller, apply a thin coat of primer and allow it to dry.

Note: You can skip this step if you’ve got a tin of Lick paint - all our paints are self-priming. For more on how to make a paint job last (and last), check out our article on how to paint all types of surfaces.

Step 3:  Paint

Time to get stuck in. Apply a thin coat of paint and leave to dry. Once dry, examine the surface and sand down any bumpy sections before applying the second coat.

Upcycled furniture ideas

Ready to get started? Here are some easy upcycled furniture ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

Upcycled chest of drawers ideas

Alice and Ollie from Patience & Gough used our paints to create a classy and modern ombre effect on an armoire. Ombres are very time-consuming. Achieving a perfect fade around an entire piece sometimes takes many attempts, keep going!

Other ideas to upcycle your chest of drawers are:

  • Turn it into a television stand —it looks unusual (in a good way) and can work well if your chest of drawers is the right height
  • Paint your drawers a bold and beautiful colour and transform a boring old chest into a statement piece
  • Add a drop-front work surface to your chest of drawers and use it as a desk

“For this elegant French Armoire, we took on our largest ever Ombre project. Using Lick paint [we] created a smooth blend from black to white around the entire piece.”

Alice - Patience & Gough

Upcycled dining table ideas

  • New dining tables can be pricey. Upcycle your existing table to give your dining room new life without a big cost investment.
  • Got your heart set on a new dining table? Shorten the legs of your old dining table and give it a fresh lick of paint to transform it into a whole new piece - an upcycled coffee table.

“Use a roller for flat surfaces as they are small and they are simply the best. For the more delicate curves and smaller spaces, use a small artist brush so you can really feel the curve and shape of the piece as you paint.

Alice - Patience & Gough

Upcycled coffee table ideas

  • Turn a wooden coffee table into a stylish living room feature by repainting the surface.
  • Add a glass top to the surface for an easy coffee table update.
Two upcycled Teal side tables painted with Lick paint and sausage dog

The soft sage green perfectly complements the delicate William Morris fabric

Upcycled Teal side table painted with Lick paint

The subtle shades of green on a cream background softens the whole piece

Upcycled sideboard ideas

  • Your sideboard doesn’t need to just be a space to stash your clutter. Spruce it up by plastering printed wallpaper onto the front panels.
  • Replace any drawer knobs with new ones for a super affordable and simple upcycle hack. Add a bit of quirk by using different door knobs for all your drawers.
Upcycled dark forest green sideboard painted with Lick Green 05 paint

What a lick of paint, different door knobs and some printed wallpaper can do

Upcycled dark forest green sideboard painted with Lick Green 05 paint

Green 05 - the green that 'screams' William Morris

Feeling inspired? Tag us on Instagram @lickhome, as we'd love to see your upcycled furniture results!

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