New life for old furniture

Starting off in your own place for the first time can be difficult. Even if you haven't bought your own place, you still had to put down a hefty deposit with the first month's rent, which leaves very little left over for buying furniture and accessories that you need. You can easily ask family for hand-me-downs and turn these into display pieces for your home.


In this feature we look at incorporating hand-me-down or secondhand furniture for a lounge or family room.

Secondhand lounge

If there is one skill you simply should learn about, it's basic upholstery. Since most of today's furniture is upholstered in sections and then put together, learning how to take it apart and reupholster is a craft that can save you tons of money. Not to mention the fact that you can pick up old upholstered furniture for practically nothing and then upholster in your favourite fabric.

Hard to believe that this is the same chair. As long as the framework is still in good condition you can reupholster almost any piece of furniture for your new home - and it's not as difficult as you think.

If you happen to inherit or come across an old sofa, don't let what is on the outside put off your decision to move it into your new home. Ange at chair-up came across a bargain sofa that she knew would be perfect for her home once reupholstered.



When you learn the art of taking old furniture apart you also find out how easy it is the change the look of an old sofa. This old sofa becomes a mid-century classic simply by changing a few small details. The old sofa was stripped down to the frame and then rebuilt with foam and batting before adding a modern grey flannel fabric.

As you hone your upholstery skills on smaller projects you will soon realise that re-upholstery is not that difficult. Vintage finds or reproduction antiques that you pick up at auction, online or at a secondhand store, can easily be re-upholstered to fit in with your individual style.

Regardless of whether you are decorating a new home or just wanting to have new furniture, being able to reupholster your own furniture is a valuable skill. You only new a few tools and accessories for any upholstery project:

º Quality staple gun and staples
º Drill/Driver or screwdrivers
º Set of pliers
º Foam, batting and fabric

As a more affordable alternative to expensive fabrics, consider using canvas dropcloths to upholster or fit slipcovers to old furniture.