Upcycling — the money-wise approach


Whether your much-loved dining table is chipped and stained, or your chairs are looking more worn than wonderful, it’s easier than you may think to revamp rather than replace your furniture.
For wooden items such as tables, chairs and chest of drawers, the easiest way to upcycle is by painting them, especially if they’re looking worn and unloved. To transform your furniture from drab to fab, all you need is your desired colour of paint — make sure it’s suitable for painting wood — plus a paintbrush, sandpaper and a protective sheet to make sure the paint goes only where it’s intended to.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to sand down the wood first. This gets rid of any rough edges and gives the paint a better base to stick. Once you’ve sanded, give your furniture a wipe to get rid of the dust and then start painting. Let it dry fully before moving your furniture back to its rightful place and admiring your handiwork. Not only will you have a great new item for your home but you will have saved money, and the environment by upcycling.


Soft furnishings such as sheets, curtains and cushion covers can be refreshed with some simple amendments to make them look like new again. Fabric dye is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to liven up your linens, and often comes in a wide range of shades to suit your desired style. Look out for machine-use dye which is an easy and mess-free way to dye your fabrics (be sure to read the instructions carefully). Fabric dye is great for brightening up once white pillowcases and bedsheets or transforming them into something totally new and exciting to perk up your living space — like some royal blue curtains or some chic grey cushion covers for your sofa.


In a similar way to fabric dye, spray paint is a quick, effective and easy way to transform the colour of your everyday household items. Basic items that you might not look twice at — empty wine bottles, tin cans or glass jars — can make eye-catching candle holders, quirky storage units or cute vases with a coat of spray paint, and no-one need ever know they were destined for the bin.
House plants are a great way to bring some colour into your home, but you don’t need to fork out a lot of money on decorative pots. Instead, you can upcycle things around the house that are no longer used, such as empty paint tins and chipped teacups. Empty paint tins just need a thorough clean and a lick of paint on the outside and you’re ready to insert your plant, in its plastic pot and preferably with some small stones in the bottom for drainage. If you have any chipped teacups, ideally with a saucer, you can re-purpose them into cute planters by carefully drilling a small hole in the bottom of the cup, covering the bottom with small stones and then filling with soil and your plant. Simply position the teacup planter in a way that hides the chip and —voila, — you have a quirky plant pot that has saved you money and the environment.

Not only will you have a great new item for your home, but you will have saved money.