10 Easy DIY Furniture Upcycling Ideas to Try at Home in 2023 | Blog | Domestika (2024)

Learn creative, budget-friendly hacks to turn trash into treasure, and add a splash of color to your interior decor with these pro tips

You don't have to be an expert furniture artist to fill your home with unique pieces. With a bit of creative inspiration and some basic materials, you can quickly transform well-loved and worn items of furniture into something new using easy upcycling techniques. A sustainable way to revive forgotten items, the possibilities of upcycling are endless with plenty of ways to stamp your personal style or add a splash of color to forgotten furniture.

Furniture artist and upcycler Joanne Condon (@joannecondon) believes you can turn old furniture into works of art. That’s what she does via her business, which has led her to win multiple awards and publish her own book about upcycling.

Here, Joanne shares 10 DIY furniture upcycling ideas, suitable for all budgets and experience levels. Keep reading to discover accessible materials and entry-level techniques to give your favorite pieces of furniture a new lease of life.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is the practice of creatively improving or transforming existing items to make something new. Upcycling techniques can be applied to furniture, textiles, decorative objects, and so on.

Upcycling is considered to be a more sustainable method of creating. It can extend the life cycle of old or worn furniture or garments, reducing waste by reusing materials that may otherwise end up in landfill.

Furthermore, making something new out of items that already exist reduces the demand for the production of new products made using raw materials.

Basic tools for furniture upcycling

All of the furniture upcycling ideas Joanne shares in this article are designed with beginners in mind and—outside old pieces to repurpose—only require a few basic materials to get started, including:

- Furniture paint and primer
- Paintbrush
- Painters tape
- Tape measure or ruler
- Strong glue
- Screws and a screwdriver

Before you get started: top upcycling tips

How to find inspiration for paint colors

If you’re upcycling furniture with paint, one of the main decisions you will have to make is what colors you want to use. And, if you’re someone who generally leans toward safer, neutral shades when it comes to interior design, upcycling furniture can be a great way to add a splash of color to your home.

“If you’re stuck on colors, a lot of people say that you should look inside your wardrobe for inspiration—to see what colors you like,” says Joanne. “After all, if you’re wearing it, you like it.” If you’re feeling adventurous? “Why not look inside your sock drawer?”

Joanne also suggests revamping outdoor furnishings as a perfect opportunity to explore brighter, more vivid hues: “A lot of people are afraid of color, and people have their own palette, but outside we’re generally braver to go wild and have more fun.”

Where to find free and cheap furniture to upcycle

As well as browsing thrift stores, charity shops, and flea markets, you can find free and cheap furniture to upcycle on secondhand and used goods platforms like Freecycle, Craigslist, eBay, and Gumtree.

10 easy DIY furniture upcycling ideas

Here, Joanne shares ten easy DIY upcycling ideas, including tips to decorate pieces with paint and ways to transform old items into totally new objects.

1. Use the "paint-dip" trick for chairs, stools, and beyond

A DIY technique that went viral a couple of years back, the paint-dipping technique simply involves partially dipping your piece of furniture into paint for a striking decorative look.

While you can use this technique to add a splash of color to all kinds of old wooden furniture, Joanne uses a chair for her example: “Either dip the legs or the top of the chair in your paint, using painters tape to mark it off so you get a clean line… This technique is very quick and easy (you’ll get it done in an hour) and it’s really effective!”

2. Decorate your furniture with geometric shapes using painters tape

Geometric shapes have been around for centuries, seen everywhere from nature to the latest design trends, which makes them a safe choice for interior decor that’ll stand the test of time.

With a roll of painters tape, a ruler, and some furniture paint, you can easily create your own geometric patterns. “If you have a wooden piece of furniture or something that’s painted a plain color, use painters tape to mark out a triangle right in the center, and paint it a bright block color,” says Joanne. “It’s really easy to do, but really lifts the piece up.”

Joanne also explains that the possibilities here really are endless, “As well as individual bigger shapes, you could do smaller shapes or patterns in different colors.”

3. Brighten up your doors with scalloped or squiggly borders

This playful interior design trend is something Joanne has seen a lot of in recent months. “Paint a squiggle line or scalloped edge around the doorframe, and paint the door the same color so you have a bold, fun color block.”

For something more subtle, Joanne shares another really easy tip to brighten up door rims: “Paint a bit of neon on the rim, so that when you open the door you get a quick pop of color.”

4. Decorate with polka dots

Channel Yayoi Kusama and experiment with polka dots! “For a temporary design idea, pick up some black round stickers (you'll find them at any stationery shop), and use them to create a polka dot pattern that adds a bit of fun to any piece.”

5. Revamp your old furniture handles

“People always forget about furniture handles in upcycling,” says Joanne. “Everyone always wants to change or replace them, but painting a plain wooden handle can do so much to a piece!” Even with really old handles, Joanne is an advocate for giving them a new lease of life with paint: “Why not paint them a mad color? It can look gorgeous.”

6. Get creative decorating old plant pots

“Everyone has an old dingy plant pot that can easily be painted to add a bit of personality,” says Joanne. You could try the paint-dip technique, add some geometric designs, or really anything that your imagination allows.

“Even with plastic plant pots, as long as they’re primed, you can paint them. A lot of furniture paints are for interior and exterior and can do multiple surfaces once they’re primed.”

7. Make a DIY bobble frame using wooden beads

Whether it’s a picture frame or a mirror, “most people have an old frame lying around, and there’s loads you can do with them—it’s endless,” says Joanne.

Like the plant pots, you could use furniture tape to paint patterns or do a paint-dip, but one trend she’s seen a lot of recently is using split/half wooden balls to create a textured design. “All you need to do is place the beads and stick them on for a bobble effect.”

8. Turn an old wooden tool carrier into a DIY shelf

You can quickly repurpose a wooden tool carrier with a bar across the top into a shelf with a small hanging rail. “Painted and flipped upside down, these old carriers can be used as a shelf with a little towel rail—you’ll just need a bracket to fix it to the wall.”

9. Transform an old drawer into a DIY herb garden

A great one for summer, if you have an old drawer (or even a chest of drawers!), simply by adding soil you’ve got yourself a planter for a herb garden.”

If you’re using an individual drawer, Joanne suggests adding legs to the base to create a bit of height. You could either use a strong wood glue or screws to fix them in place. For a contemporary look, she adds, “hairpin legs are very in at the moment, and will make the planter look really modern as well.”

10. Make a DIY dog or cat bed

“There are loads of things you can do with old drawers,” Joanne continues. In a similar style to the planter, a draw can be repurposed as a dog or cat bed. Add a pillow and fix on some old furniture legs if you want to raise it slightly, and you’ve got yourself a bed for your pet.

For more furniture upcycling ideas from Joanne, check out her Domestika course Creative Furniture Upcycling for Beginners. Throughout the course, she’ll teach you how to breathe new life into old furniture and design unique pieces that reflect your personal style using innovative upcycling.

Learn more upcycling tips and tricks

1. Take your knowledge further and Redesign Your Home with Upcycling along artist Chloe Kempster.

2. Explore hand-painted techniques to transform vintage furniture in this course: Upcycling Vintage Furniture with Painting Techniques.

3. Apply upcycling to your wardrobe through creative crochet.

10 Easy DIY Furniture Upcycling Ideas to Try at Home in 2023 | Blog | Domestika (2024)


10 Easy DIY Furniture Upcycling Ideas to Try at Home in 2023 | Blog | Domestika? ›

Furniture upcycling can actually become a full-time job once you've worked out how to sell your finished pieces. You might think you need a shop. Well, you don't!

Can you make money upcycling old furniture? ›

Furniture upcycling can actually become a full-time job once you've worked out how to sell your finished pieces. You might think you need a shop. Well, you don't!

What is the best furniture to upcycle and sell? ›

Upcycle furniture.

Old dressers, chests, and cabinets are great for refinishing with paint or stain. You can increase the piece's value by adding new hardware. Custom furniture can bring in quite a bit of money, depending on the item.

How to make old furniture look expensive? ›

8 Excellent Ways to Make a Cheap Furniture Find Look More...
  1. Replace or remove hardware. ...
  2. Faux the finish. ...
  3. Display nice stuff on it. ...
  4. Lighten the visual load. ...
  5. Add white or black. ...
  6. Add sleek pattern. ...
  7. Splurge on expensive upholstery materials and methods. ...
  8. Change the function entirely.
Mar 11, 2020

How do you upgrade boring furniture? ›

Take Your Basic Furniture From Boring to Fabulous With These Tips
  1. Paint and Refinish. One of the simplest ways to enhance basic furniture is by painting or refinishing it. ...
  2. Upgrade the Hardware. ...
  3. Upholster or Reupholster. ...
  4. Add Decorative Accents. ...
  5. Incorporate Storage Solutions. ...
  6. Mix and Match. ...
  7. Add Art.
Jun 16, 2023

How to repurpose bedroom furniture? ›

Turn an old dresser into a kitchen island or a bathroom vanity by removing the top drawers, adding a countertop, and plumbing fixtures. Convert an old coffee table or end table into a pet bed by removing the legs and adding a cushion. Repurpose an old bookshelf by turning it into a shoe rack or a pantry organizer.

Where can I list upcycled furniture? ›

Where is the best place to sell used furniture online?
  1. eBay.
  2. Preloved.
  3. Gumtree.
  4. Facebook Marketplace.
  5. Etsy.
  6. Vinted.
  7. Depop.
Jul 11, 2023

What is upcycling simple? ›

It's a process many refer to as “upcycling,” which UpcycleThat.com defines this way: “The act of taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. In doing so, the finished product often becomes more practical, valuable and beautiful than what it previously was.”

How do you upcycle everyday items? ›

10 creative ways to upcycle household items
  1. Turn Old T-Shirts into a Quilt. ...
  2. Repurpose Glass Jars into Storage Containers. ...
  3. Transform Old Furniture with Paint. ...
  4. Create a Herb Garden with Tin Cans. ...
  5. Use Old Bed Sheets as Curtains. ...
  6. Turn Wine Corks into Coasters. ...
  7. Repurpose a Ladder as a Bookshelf. ...
  8. Use Old Tires as Garden Planters.
Mar 31, 2023

What is upcycling trend? ›

Q1. What exactly is upcycled fashion? Upcycled fashion involves taking pre-existing clothing or materials and transforming them into new garments or accessories, thus giving them a new lease on life. It's a sustainable approach to fashion that promotes creativity and reduces waste.

Is upcycled furniture still popular? ›

One of the key drivers behind the popularity of upcycled furniture is its inherent sustainability. In an age where environmental concerns loom large, the concept of repurposing old materials resonates deeply with eco-conscious consumers.

Do people buy upcycled furniture? ›

This process prevents items from going to landfills or being melted down or being burnt, ultimately reducing carbon emissions. Upcycled furniture is a game-changing way for our customers to buy pieces that feel new but have already had a previous life.

Is upcycling furniture a good side hustle? ›

Flipping furniture for profit is an increasingly-popular side hustle. You can make good money on your own schedule, work with your hands, and potentially save items from the landfill with your upcycling efforts.

What kind of paint do you use for upcycling furniture? ›

Water-based paints such as Dulux Aquanamel are durable, fast drying and perfect if you're after a glossier finish. If you're tackling an outdoor upcycling project, Weathershield has been specially designed to provide a tough, hard-wearing finish that provides protection from all weather conditions.

How do you upcycle furniture without sanding it? ›

5 Methods for Painting Furniture Without Sanding:
  1. MINERAL PAINT (My Favorite Option) With Mineral paint you don't need to prime anything beforehand. ...
  2. CHALK PAINT. Chalk paint is the best way to paint practically anything without sanding. ...
Apr 27, 2021


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