Join the Upcycling Movement
YOU CAN GET A NEW LOOK AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE WITH A LITTLE WORK
Dated furniture is scattered about every yard sale, consignment shop and thrift store. You might even have some in your own spare room. That provides plenty of opportunities to tear it all apart in order to create something new, a process known as upcycling.
WHERE TO LOOK
If you don’t have ready access to an old dresser or chair, widen your search in order to find the best buy. Find neighborhood sales, flea markets, antique shops and other places where older items are traded, consigned or sold. They’re a great source of inspiration since you never know what you might find around the next corner. Ask family, friends and neighbors to alert you when they decide to upgrade their own furniture, since there may be up-cycling opportunities closer to home. Be on the lookout for give-away options, too. Some people simply discard furniture that still has plenty of life left in it.
TRANSFORMING UP-CYCLING ITEMS
You’ll need a truck, van or roomy car to get many of these items home. Borrow one or go with a friend if you think you’ve found a suitable up-cycling candidate. There are key tools you’ll need once you’ve gotten the piece home, since you could be repainting, resurfacing and re-covering. They include good quality brushes for priming, straining and painting, sandpaper and sanding equipment, sanding sponges and a wellfitted respirator. In some cases, you’ll need woodworking tools including files and perhaps a table saw. Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow some of these items from others at first, since they can be expensive. Pawn shops and thrift stores may also have these tools on sale for less.
Once the piece of furniture has been stripped back to the basics, it’s time to get creative. That might mean adding a fun design to the side of a cabinet, a warm and inviting stain to an end table, or a bold new fabric to a chair. You won’t be an expert in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as you learn. As you become more of an up-cycling expert, these once-outdated pieces of furniture can become centerpieces that define your living space. Some people even turn this kind of project work into a second job — or even an entirely new career.