Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
How to Upscale Furniture (and What to Do with It)
When it comes to renovation and redecoration, it’s always worth knowing how to upscale furniture that you have already. Not only is it a useful way of cutting back on spending and helping reduce waste, but it also allows for your own unique design work to be centre-stage. Rather than fully populating a space with furniture designed by other people (as good as that may be), the creative freedom expressed when you upscale used furniture can add that special something to an interior.
You don’t have to retain the original purpose of the piece of furniture either. That old chest of drawers doesn’t need to stay as clothes storage – it can be repurposed into a bookcase or a coffee table, for instance. It’s a great way to keep your rooms feeling fresh and bring out your creative side. Upscaled and repurposed furniture is often a feature of boutique B&Bs, as the pieces bring a sense of individual creativity and design flair to the space.
What to Look For
Your best bets are bits of furniture that you’re thinking of getting rid of. Rather than throw away something that you think you don’t need, take a step back from it all and work out whether it can be repurposed somewhere else. Were you thinking about purchasing some furniture for another room? Perhaps the item you’re looking to get rid of can be repurposed instead of buying something new.
Generally speaking, bigger objects with separate component parts are often best. A chest of drawers, for example, can have its drawers taken out and upscaled as different types of storage. Wooden objects are also versatile, as it’s easier to sand and paint them to fit a different purpose.
Know Your Vision
Upscaling furniture is more than just the DIY work – it’s also about placing that new piece in a fitting environment at the end of the process. Because of this, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you want the new item to look like, as well as knowing how and where it will fit in with the rest of your interior. If you’re in need of some ideas, Upcycle That have them in abundance.
People often associate upscaled furniture in the home with a more rustic chic. It’s certainly one of the most popular styles within the home setting – partly because it’s easier to match with a lot of contemporary interior designs. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the only option: there’s much that you can do with more modern-inflected styles, which often take inspiration from art deco and make frequent use of gold and silver paints.
The Upscaling Process
Of course, this depends massively on what it is that you’re looking to upscale or repurpose. Upcycling chairs requires fabric and stitching skills, whereas repurposing shelving units could well need power tools and plenty of paint. Most upscaling work is done with more solid wooden or metal items of furniture, so that’s the process we’ll be looking at.
If you’re planning on improving the look of a piece of furniture by painting it, then it’s important to sand it first. Sanding removes any rough surfaces, which means that you get a smoother finish – and it’s less likely to chip. You should sand most of the time, unless the surface is already factory-smooth. If the piece you’re wanting to paint is chipped, then you should definitely sand it down before going any further.
If you’ve sanded the piece, chances are you probably won’t need to prime it. There are times, however, when using a primer is important as a base layer before fully painting. Wood with red undertones, such as mahogany, will probably need a primer because the red colouring can bleed through into the paint layers. The same goes for drastic colour changes – from black to white, for instance – as the primer acts as a great leveller. Rain On A Tin Roof has got a great post about when to sand, degloss and prime, which we’d recommend looking at for more information.
Once you’ve sanded and/or primed your piece, it’s time to get creative. Go wild with the paint, change the handles and knobs, and add final accessories and bits of detail. If you’re repurposing it to go into a new room, it might be time to find companion pieces in its new location – and start the process again!
What to do With Upscaled Furniture
Photo by Sam Toolsie.
When it comes to what to do with your new piece, there aren’t any set rules. If it fits with your original vision, then make sure that you integrate the new piece into the surroundings properly. Do you want this new piece to take centre-stage, or is more of a supporting cast member? Is there anything you can add to the space alongside it to help bring out its best features?
Some of The Chapel’s best upscaling work came in the repurposing of the original pews. They were neatened up before being made into various objects around The Chapel including doors, bannisters and even kitchen cupboards. The repurposed pieces blend modern and contemporary styles with the history of The Chapel, and they create a truly unique effect.
If you want to immerse yourself in the wonderful design work in The Chapel, make sure to book a stay.