Wondering what to do with old, broken, or unused furniture? Instead of buying new furniture, you can rethink, refurbish, and reuse what you already have by upcycling—the sustainable process of transforming and giving furniture a new purpose. Before you start upcycling furniture, consider these tips:
- Start small
- Use secondhand or inexpensive pieces
- Have a plan and gather supplies before you start
- Clear a well-ventilated workspace
Once you’re ready, you can start repurposing your furniture, or start thrifting pieces to upcycle! Check out these 16 DIY upcycling ideas to elevate your furniture.
Add New Hardware
An easy way to refurbish furniture is to replace the hardware. Whether you’re redoing your kitchen cabinets or fixing up an old dresser, new hardware can create noticeable change in your space. If you need furniture that can evolve over time, like in a child’s bedroom, you can keep the same furniture but replace handles and knobs. Switching design styles between modern, rustic, and more can be done easily by changing up the materials and finishes of your hardware.
Brighten Up an Old Dresser
If your dresser feels outdated, a fresh coat of paint can help it feel brand new! Repainting furniture is one of the best DIY home projects for beginners, as it’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of tools. Consider painting your dresser a mood-boosting color to make it a focal point of a room. Or paint each drawer a different color for a fun kids room design idea.
Use a Stencil to Update Furniture
Stencils are a great way to add flair when updating furniture! If you want a statement piece in your entryway, pick a large, bold stencil for the side of your entryway table. Use a smaller, more detailed stencil while repainting furniture for a more understated look. Stencils are a simple way to create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and are easily accessible at craft stores, home improvement stores, and can even be printed from a computer.
Refinish Wood Pieces
Nicked-up wood can make any piece of furniture feel old. Instead of throwing it out, consider a quick renovation. If you’re looking for an easy upcycling project, refresh your wooden furniture by sanding down the old stain and applying an updated one! You can also use wood markers, filler, or putty to conceal smaller scratches. If the piece is already painted, plan to strip the paint before adding stain. Just remember—when refinishing wood, you’ll need to work in a well-ventilated area!
Make a DIY Rustic Table
Looking to add in rustic home decor? Instead of investing in a new dining table, give your current one a makeover! Sand down the old coat of stain and add a vibrant coat of paint, then use sandpaper to distress the paint for a rustic look. A DIY dining table makeover can help you get your dream farmhouse dining room on a budget.
Reupholster Vintage Chairs
Have antique chairs that need to be brought into this century? Reupholstering antique chairs is an easy way to give them a second life! If you’re new to reupholstering furniture, it’s best to start small while learning. Usually, you can easily remove a section, pop off the outdated fabric, and staple on your new swatch. You may need to purchase new padding depending on the piece’s age and condition. For more complex projects, consider hiring a professional for help.
Update Your Hutch
There are many options for transforming a hutch into the focal point of your home. For an easy hutch makeover, add a fresh coat of an eye-catching paint color. Or line the exposed back with patterned wallpaper. If you have an old hutch you want to modernize, consider removing the doors or glass panels! You can leave it open, or replace the hutch doors with cane, chickenwire, shiplap, or other textured materials for a rustic farmhouse makeover!
Use an Old Ladder as Shelves
Unsure of how to use an old wooden ladder? Give it a fresh coat of paint and repurpose it for storage! Mount it in your kitchen as a place to rest your cookbooks. Use it to hang towels in your bathroom. Or lean it against a wall in your living room as a DIY quilt ladder or fun plant storage.
Repurpose a Dresser into a Stylish Sideboard
Instead of throwing out your old dresser, turn it into a piece you can use anywhere in your house! Flipping a dresser into a DIY buffet table is an easy way to add more storage to your home. Using stencils, bright paint colors, or a fresh stain will help your DIY sideboard stand out while providing convenient storage!
Upcycle a DIY Vanity
A vanity is a great upcycling project for adventurous beginners. If you’re remodeling your bathroom, a DIY bathroom vanity paired with a thrifted antique mirror is a great way to cut costs! Repurposing an old dresser into a bathroom vanity can add charm, storage, and visual interest to your space—just make sure to have a professional take care of the plumbing. And, turning a dresser into a vanity can work as a DIY makeup vanity in a bedroom, too!
Create a Kitchen Island
In need of more kitchen counter space? Rather than investing in a complete kitchen remodel, consider an upcycled kitchen island. Use an old table or repurposed dresser as the base and add wheels, shelves, and more! Leave the top surface as is, or add marble-patterned contact paper for a different look.
Design Your Dream Bar Cart
There are lots of ways to DIY a bar cart—you just need to get creative! If you have an old bookshelf or utility shelf or cart, you can create the bar cart of your dreams in just a few simple steps. Repaint the shelves a bright color, add some peel-and-stick tiles, and attach wheels. Bonus points for adding hanging hooks or a DIY wine rack for extra storage.
Refurbish Wooden Crates for DIY Storage
If you need ideas for what to do with wooden crates, you can create just about any type of DIY storage. Wooden box DIYs are simple because the structure is already there. You can make wooden crate wall shelves by painting the crate and hanging it up! Or transform wooden crates into a bookshelf by stacking and nailing the crates together.
Convert Restored Trunks into Furniture
Wondering what to do with an old trunk? There are lots of ways you can use an upcycled trunk, such as a unique piece of furniture or to provide convenient storage! Make your trunk into a coffee table, blanket holder, or bench for a stylish, vintage feel. Or set it upright and add shelves for an interesting storage solution.
Find a Unique Use for Upcycled Pallets
There are various wood pallet projects to create the piece of furniture that you need. Whether you want a pallet bed frame, new seating options, or a TV stand, pallets are the way to go! They’re easy to come by and can be broken up, stained, or painted however you’d like.
Save Salvage Wood for DIY Projects
Don’t throw out your spare or leftover wood! You can repurpose salvage wood in lots of different ways. An easy way to create kitchen or bathroom storage is to make shelves from salvaged wood. Embrace your farmhouse, rustic, or organic modern design style with a repurposed wood accent wall. Or attach legs to a plank of wood for a unique console table!
Need more room while upcycling furniture? Extra Space Storage has storage facilities across the country. Find affordable self storage near you!