Your guide to the up-cycling revolution

Up-cycling is the homeware recycling revolution that is taking over the interior design world. Despite what you might think, it’s actually quite simple to get in on the action. To get to grips with this growing trend it’s important to know the basics, and South West Upholstery is here to help.

Bring the old into the now
Up-cycling is a very simple concept that allows you to revamp any old, and tired looking furniture that you may have lying around the house. By up-cycling you’ll be saving valuable extra pennies that would have gone towards new furniture, and give these pieces an entirely new purpose. It can also be an excellent opportunity to start a creative project, a nice alternative to sitting at home and searching for something good to watch. Up-cycling can be done with wooden furniture, fabric furniture, old jars and bottles, and so much more!

If you don’t feel confident with your up-cycling abilities, it might be worth starting small. Old picture frames can be easily up-cycled, and give you the opportunity to practice different techniques and styles before you move on to something larger.

Know your style
The first thing to consider when beginning an up-cycling project is what style you’re looking to achieve. Are you aiming to embrace Scandinavian simplicity, or shabby-chic style? The style you’re looking to achieve could have a significant impact on the type of furniture you choose to up-cycle, whether you’re working on something you already own, or beginning with an older piece that you’ve found at a charity shop or auction house. It will also have an effect on the type of finish that you choose.

Pick your finish
Once you’ve chosen your piece, and you know the style you’re hoping to achieve, it’s time to get started. As previously stated, if you’re working with wooden furniture it’s important to consider your finish options in order to help achieve the final look you’re aiming for.

The first thing to do is strip the old wood of any varnish or paint, and sand it down to a smooth surface. If you’re looking to add a simple varnish, or a colour that is not too different to the current wood colour then you won’t need to use a primer, but if you’re looking for something drastically different it’s a good step to include.

You then have multiple options as to how to finish the wood. As said before, varnish, or wood stain is a perfectly acceptable option for a more natural finish, but be sure that the wood is perfectly smooth to get an even coverage. If you’re opting for a fully painted finish, it’s worth experimenting with different colours before you begin – just as you would when painting a wall. This also gives you a great opportunity to try out colour combinations, stencilling patterns, or even decoupage to create a truly one-of-a-kind product. To create the shabby-chic look, paint on a light, or pastel, colour and then lightly sand the wood once dried.

Your chosen piece of furniture may have fabric already attached, in which case you may want to consider re-upholstering to achieve your desired finish. You may even be able to add an upholstered section to furniture that didn’t previously have one, such as a dining room chair, or even the top of a chest of drawers or ottoman.

There may be a lot of tutorials online showing you have to upholster yourself, however to achieve a high-quality finish that will stand the test of time, it makes sense to trust the professionals.

South West Upholstery offer an expert, quality upholstery service in Bristol, Bath and throughout the UK. We’re proud of the service we provide, and we think you will be too, so get in touch today to find out how we can help you with your up-cycling project.