It's easy to upcycle furniture

It is becoming increasingly easy to refinish furniture, no matter how banged up and scratched it is. Pieces that look almost beyond repair can be given a new lease on life using a variety of products that you will find at your local Builders Warehouse.


Gretchen bought a set of four solid wood chairs and a badly scratched solid wood, extendable dining table at auction and made them something special, using methods and products that we have easy access to. All that's needed is some spare time to turn discarded furniture into pieces that you would love to have in your home.


All furniture needs some sanding before applying paint, sealer or varnish. When you are using a product such as Rust-Oleum Chalked, or other chalk paint, a light sanding should be done before painting.

- Repair damage

Where the surface of the wood is badly scratched or chipped, you have the option to leave as is for a rustic finish, or do more intensive sanding to refinish the scratched surface, and use wood epoxy (Alcolin QuikWood) to repair missing sections or chipped areas.

- Sand efficiently

If you want to save time and money, sand working from a low to high-grit sandpaper.  Lower grit sandpaper is specifically designed to have gaps between the grit to allow for the accumulation of waste material and not clog up too quickly. If you will be removing layer upon layer of paint or varnish, 40- or 60-grit sandpaper will do this quickly.

If you only need to remove a couple of layers of paint or varnish, opt for 80-grit sandpaper. In both case, stop sanding just before the raw wood starts to appear. You want to remove as much paint or varnish as possible without damaging the surface of the wood.

After removing gouges or scratches you can then continue to sand with 120- and 180- or 240-grit sandpaper to finish and smooth.

- Finish

Chalked or chalk paint is becoming ever more popular as DIY enthusiasts realise how easy it is to use this product on almost any surface. With a coat of Top Sealer or antique wax this paint finish offers a beautiful way to transform furniture.

You can use practically any paint to finish off your furniture. However, some oily woods will require that you apply wood primer before paint, so it's a wise step to include this step as a norm, as it also blocks stains from knots and other defects. I like to use Prominent Paints Select matt paint for Shabby Chic or rustic furniture, as this can easily be sanded or distressed and then finished with sealer or wax.

To restore a wood finish that isn't going to be painted you can stain and seal or varnish. I personally find that sealer is the best option for all furniture, since this is absorbed deep into the cellular structure of the wood and offers more protection. Woodoc have a range of quality stains and sealers that are available in clear or various wood tints, all available on the shelf at your local Builders store.