Repurpose and upcycle is a hot trend

Repurposing or upcycling old furniture and finds has become one of the hottest trends around the world. More and more DIY and craft enthusiasts are discovering the fun in transforming junk and throw-away furniture into practical pieces for a home. Not only fun, repurposing or upcycling old furniture is also becoming a new way to make money.

Items that were, not to many years ago, considered as trash are now finding their way into homes, as we look for options to become more eco-friendly and cut down on spending. Let's be honest, new furniture doesn't come cheap and when times are hard we look for ways to still have a beautiful home, just without the price tag.

Paint up a cable spool or wire drum, add some pine dowels or pop on a new top and - hey presto... you have a casual bookcase or coffee table. If you're lucky enough to get hold of a larger cable spool or wire drum, these make the perfect rustic dining table for indoors or outdoors. Where to find a cape spool or wire drum... ask at your local Telkom branch and they should be able to point you in the right direction, or shop around at salvage yards.

We know there are hundreds of ways to repurpose and upcycle pallets. The problem is that pallets are so in demand they are practically impossible to come by. Another alternative to using pallets is to get your hands on reclaimed timber, items such as scrap floor boards, old fences and that type of thing.

It doesn't make sense to increase production of pallet manufacture, as that defeats the whole idea of repurposing and upcycling if they are manufacturing to meet false demand. It does make sense, however, to look at ways to repurpose and upcycle old timber and wood items that are no longer useful.

Remember this awesome garden table that has space for potting succulents down the centre? This is the perfect example of using reclaimed timber if you can't find timber pallets.

I have always loved finding old pieces of furniture that can be upcycled into something new. It may sound a bit odd, but I am drawn to waste skips and homes where owners are moving out. These are prime spots for finding something no longer wanted but still in reasonably good condition. Given a little TLC and paint, these pieces are unique and sought-after items.



Tree- fellers and garden services are laughing all the way to the bank. Tree stumps are in great demand as decor accessories. Tree stumps make stylish coffee tables and unique decor items in any home, adding texture and interest. Vintage scaffolding and lovingly sanded scaffolding planks are upcycled in many ways, but my favourite is this dining room table.

Remember this retro kitchen renovation we featured way back. Steel kitchen cabinets can easily be upcycled for a modern kitchen. Restoring or upcycling a mid-century kitchen means that you can keep the original features, or add them, in an older home.

And it's not just steel kitchen cabinets that are being upcycled. These stainless steel laboratory cabinets [below] are repurposed into bathroom cabinets.

An old factory cart is repurposed into a rustic display unit.

Hard to believe that industrial shelving could look so good. Upcycling zink, sheet metal or steel shelving for home storage allows you to experiment with various configurations that meet your personal storage needs and finish to suit your decor.

Tips to repurpose or upcycle furniture:

If you want to start repurposing or upcycling furniture there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Shop wisely - There are more than a few shady dealers out there who will try to overcharge for salvage or reclaimed pieces. Haggle the price down to a level you feel is worth it.

Take into consideration the costs involved to repurpose or upcycle a piece of furniture - You don't want to spend a lot to buy a piece and then still spend a lot more to repurpose or upcycle.

Invest in quality tools - You are going to need a few basic power tools that include a Drill/Driver, a Sander and a Jigsaw. These three tools will take most of the hard labour out of repurposing or upcycling furniture. If you intend to turn this into a business you should also consider buying a few Dremel Tools, such as a Dremel MultiTool, as these tools are invaluable for detailing on vintage furniture.

Research the products you'll need - There are plenty of finishing options for furniture these days. Take a walk down the aisles at your local Builders Warehouse to acquaint yourself with what is available.

While using the Internet as a resource for information on repurposing and upcycling will provide plenty of creative ideas, bear in mind that a lot of the supplies are not available locally and will need to be substituted. Here on Home-Dzine we try to offer alternative solutions for South Africans who want to repurpose and upcycle furniture and vintage pieces.