Quick and simple furniture upcycle

March 4, 2019

It's been a while; sorry about that. It's recently been half term and I've been enjoying the company of my fiancé. He's been very busy working on the house, and I've been helping with the less energetic things! It's been super lovely to make more of a stamp on our home. This post is all about up-cycling furniture. If you want to know how to freshen up some wooden furniture like below, then keep reading (also works on laminate MDF)! 

You may have a piece of furniture already that needs a bit of love, or you may want a new piece of furniture. We were looking for a sideboard for our dining room but didn't want to spend much money. We were keeping an eye out on facebook marketplace and gumtree etc for any cheap things but nothing quite fitted our space. Then one morning on our way to Aldi, our neighbour had a sideboard outside their house going free! We quickly shoved it indoors ready to do up. As you can see, it needed a bit of TLC. It was marked, dated, dirty and the handles were falling off...but it was free! I could see such potential in it and didn't feel guilty about painting a 1940s piece of furniture because it was so run down.

First things first, you will want to clean your furniture. Ours obviously had years and years worth of grime as the photo below is the cloth after about 6 cleans of the unit. If you're working with wood, particularly antiques, you need to be careful what you use so you don't damage it. I started by using elbow grease spray, but I noticed it began to take the finishing stain off the wood. Now this didn't really matter as I was going to paint over it, but I switched to a gentler option anyway. I used warm water with fairy liquid to soak my cloth (it's important you use white so theres no colour running) and white vinegar in a spray bottle.

Once your furniture is spick and span, it is time to paint! I really recommend Rust-oleom chalky finish furniture paint. It's not the cheapest, but it is worth it for the quality and ease of use. The beauty of this paint is that there is no prep required - you don't need to sand down or prime, just a simple clean will do. The paint comes in lots of different colours, but I had some Graphite left over from a previous project. The pot also lasts a really long time and I've not even used quarter of it after doing up 2 fairly big pieces of furniture.

Depending on the colour of your furniture and the colour of your paint, you might need to do two coats, but because I didn't necessarily want a perfect finish, I stuck with one coat. It takes 2 hours to touch try and 4 hours to be workable with again. The photo below is it drying, so don't worry about the patchy bits!

As you can see, I didn't paint the whole unit. I chose to leave the feet, handles and carvings wooden for a bit of extra interest. I would have left the top wooden too, but it was too marked and stained. Now at this point, you could leave the paint as it is, or rough it up with a bit of sand paper if you want more of a rustic look. However, be aware that it will show through bits of the colour underneath the paint, so if you don't want the original colour showing through, then use a different base colour (maybe white or black depending on your top colour choice). However, I wanted to darken my unit up a bit more and give it a more satin finish. For this you will need rust-oleom furniture finishing wax. I chose the shade dark for my unit. This brush isn't neccesary, but I find it applies the wax coating really evenly and makes it much easier to work with. It is a 'chalk paint wax brush' from Amazon and had a round tapered end. I also waxed the wooden bits of the unit too to define any details. After 10 minutes, rub down the waxed furniture with a dry white cloth to remove any excess and buff it out. 

 We then repaired the handles, styled it up and voila, a new piece of furniture for very minimal cost!














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