If your baby is too big for the cot, your bookshelves are looking tired and rundown, or your dining table is stained with more than just a wood finish – it’s time for an upgrade. But an upgrade doesn’t mean it’s time to hit the tip – instead, consider giving new purpose to your old furniture and follow the latest trend called Upcycling.

What is Upcycling?

Quite simply, upcycling is the process of giving new life. It sees your old products modified, fixed up and recreated so they can live to see another day (or decade). It’s a hit with the budget-conscious who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on new furniture, and it’s also something art lovers are taking on board as it gives them a chance to be creative.

You take your unused everyday items or old materials that you’d otherwise send straight to the tip, including timber and furniture, and you turn it into treasure. Most household items can be repurposed, and that’s exactly what upcycling does. It adds value to items that would otherwise be thrown away.

The difference between upcycling and recycling is that recycling converts waste into reusable material – for example, plastic bottles are melted down to become a plastic chair. Upcycling, on the other hand, sees that plastic chair is recreated into a pot plant stand. It’s described as “reusing a material without degrading the quality or composition of the material”.

What You Need To Know Before Upcycling Furniture

Upcycling is affordable, sustainable and it can be a lot of fun if you let your creativity take over. You don’t have to be a professional carpenter, there are no interior design skills required – all you need is imagination. Here are some of the essentials you need to know before you get started:

Preparation is the key. Consider what you want to upcycle and how you’re going to do it. Plan ahead and make sure you have all the tools you need to get the job done. Clean all the furniture as much as possible before you get started and set aside some time when you can do it. If you’re going to paint it, you want to follow these steps:

  1. Clean it, take the handles and knobs off, sand it down to make it smooth.
  2. Use a small paint brush or foam roller to add a thin layer of primer, this helps the paint to last longer.
  3. Paint it, using quality paint that matches the materials. You can get advice from your local hardware store if you’re unsure.

Use your imagination. Everything you own can have another purpose, you just have to re-imagine it. Take a good look at the items you’re preparing to throw away and see if you can visualize it somewhere else in the house or yard. See below for examples.

Get the design right. If you’re planning on upcycling a vintage table from the late 1800s, try to keep the history prevalent. It will make your new look furniture seem more authentic. Also, make sure your new design suits the style of the home in general. You don’t want to go to all this work for it to stick out like a sore thumb.

Ideas For Upcycling Furniture

Not sure where to start? Try these great ideas:

  • Turn your baby’s old cot into a toddler day bed, or outdoor seating. Or you might turn it into a loft bed for a toddler
  • Spin old drawers on their side, add a shelf and you now have side tables.
  • Get your old chest of drawers and transform it so you can put your TV on it.
  • To upcycle your dining table – shorten the legs, give it some new paint, and turn it into a coffee table.
  • Upcycling could be as simple as upholstering your old worn ottoman and giving it new fabric that stands out.
  • Turn old photo frames into food trays, by simply removing the glass and giving the wooden board a coat of lacquer.
  • If you have an old door, why not consider turning it into a new bedhead! It’ll look classic and will only cost as much as a tin of paint.
  • Are you renovating your bathroom? See if you have any old dressers around that you can turn into a vanity.
  • Upcycling in the kitchen could be as simple as giving your fridge a paint makeover to add colour to the room in general.
  • Turn wooden bowls into lamps and old lampshades into flower baskets.
  • Old wooden crates have long been upcycled, becoming garden beds, drawers, flower pots, dog beds, even desks and toddler beds.

With a little creativity, you can really do anything with your old, unwanted furniture and other household or backyard items.

What You Can Do With Any Furniture That Can’t Be Reused Or Upcycled

If you’re not sure what to do with your old furniture, and you’re sure it can’t be upcycled or re-used, here are our top suggestions:

Take it to your local recycling centre. Give them a call first to see if they are accepting the item you’re offering, and also to check whether or not they prefer to receive it in one piece or pulled apart.

Curbside pickup. Sydney City Council offers a free kerbside pickup service, on occasion, for any of your old furniture. This includes tables and chairs, sofas, wardrobes, bookshelves, desks and drawers, bed frames and cots, as well as outdoor furniture. You can get in touch with council to book a pickup.

Hire a rubbish removal services company. Rubbish removalists, like Cheapest Load of Rubbish removal Sydney, will come to your home or property and remove any unwanted furniture (among other trash). When you get in touch with Cheapest Load of Rubbish online or by phone, you’ll receive a quote for the cost of pickup and removal. If you agree, the experts at Cheapest Load of Rubbish will come to your home at the agreed time and remove anything you don’t want, leaving no mess behind.

If you want to find out more, get in touch with Cheapest Load of Rubbish today.