Renovating and upcycling old period furniture

Renovating and upcycling old period furniture is big business nowadays and for sure a trend which is here to stay. People are now turning to this as a trend as a great means to recycle and prolong the use of current items of furniture they own. In this age of upcycle, renovating furniture before going out and spending a fortune on a new item may be easier and certainly cheaper. Even if they may not have the level of skill to upcycle the furniture themselves, there is an emerging market for barns and premises where you can take items to be upcycled. There is also a great mass of information online where you can read up and first hand learn how to upcycle furniture also.

 

Upcycling is a very straightforward process; you can source old tatty pieces by scouring junk shops, auction houses, car boot sales and look for items on Freecycle and eBay. Antique shops can also be a great source to purchase such furniture though as a word of advice this can be a more expensive means to do so given they tend to have a greater concept of the value of the items they sell. All it needs to update pre-loved pieces is a little bit of inspiration and basic DIY skills as to how to best bring out the best in the item you purchase.

 

From item to item, how to go about the overall restoration and upcycle of the item will vary depending on the design and components the furniture has. For a sofa for example, a key process will tend to be the need to recovering or reupholstering the upholstery. This can be for two reasons; the conditions of the textiles on the item at present - or the chances being that the upholstery may be out of date and no longer in fashion. Like in all aspects of the overall upcycling of the furniture, this is a process you can hire in by an external company - or you can do this yourself. Having good experience in this does help though. This is however a little more advanced than the processes of upcycling or painting a table. This is a full skill in itself.

 

No matter what the item may be, painting - and or varnishing furniture can straight away be a safe and cheap bet to bring out the best in the item. Different shades of paint can all play a role in being able to modernize a piece of furniture and be sure to add a cool wow factor also. Being able to customise furniture in this type of way is also highly rewarding - and a lot easier than you may think. If Shabby Chic is what you may be after, it is key to make sure you know the techniques to getting this effect; you will for sure need wax - and sandpaper. If you want to give your piece a really aged look you can add dark wax to some areas, and then go back over the item as before.

 

If you are looking to re-style your home - or a room in your home, this is a great way to do so. This is also a great time to do so given the sheer number of shops out there and reclamation yards out there where you can iconic designs of furniture cheaply. This is also a great time to accept old items of this type of furniture which may be handed down in the family. There is no end of possibilities as to what you can do with these items and for sure you really make good use of these items as a nice way to bring your home alive with a new personality.

 

The same can also be said for the idea of sourcing other types of period items, such as tiles, curtains, even rugs. Those too have come back into fashion with more and more people reverting back to this style. This also speaks volumes when you now consider there are stores out there as iconic as Liberty of London who now sell such items. Even though at a store such as theirs you may pay a premium, this does for sure show this is a market which is well and truely alive.

 

When upcycling furniture you first need to decide what it is that you're looking for. Antiques fairs or car boot sales can be fascinating places to wander around - though you must keep in mind that these places can also be prone to having low quality items also. After all, for some people they will have thought out having a car boot sale as something of a last resort, almost in desperation. If you are visiting a car boot sale, make sure you really do ask yourself what it is you want and if the sale will be able to meet this need for you. Look for a piece with individuality, for example turned legs, scrolled backs and detailed woodwork. Look for something which may be quirky and something you can draw something unique to so it can stand out in some way within your property. This does not mean that you have to spend a fortune; just think outside the box.

 

Likewise, from the points made above, don't be overly put off by any bold features; look beyond this and think up the fact that part of upcycling is the fact you can have the freedom to transform the item. This can be done from a lick of paint - or if you wish to divulge deeper, you can go to work on the shape and the curves which may make up the item. Working on such detail can really bring out the best in the item and a lighter colour can straight away soften the look if the item may be harsh in part to look at. There is no right or wrong way to do this so to be sure on colour, have a look at a colour chart.

 

You should also consider the type of paint you wish to use in the process of painting the item. Farrow and Ball is for sure a leading brand when it come to painting this type of furniture to a high overall standard. This does come at a price though and can be a little pricey. There are other ways to go about this however; Ebay can be a great place to source tubs of Vintage Paint from as little as 8.15 a tub. If you would rather see the choice in front of you, DIY store Wickes also have their own range. One you have the paint to do the job, as touched on, it is about getting the look and the effect to make this all the more worthwhile. This is all dependent in part on HOW you paint the item of furniture; this is an art and it all comes back to technique.

 

This is what will be able to take an item to the next level and give it it's added wow factor. After all period furniture is famed for being blessed with its attractive features and in this sense it really does help to ensure you take your time to paint over the curves and features in the best ways you can, in terms of finish and technique. The application of varnish can also play it's part in making the paint have something of a stand out look and effect. There are high street chains who have really embraced this and they have since reproduced this type of furniture, retailing items for up to 1000 an item in the process. The reproduction market is a market of it's own and something to read up about further on in this article.

 

Shabby Chic is very much the "in word" of the moment and by the looks of things, it is very much here to stay. This is a market trend which has really taken off in a big way with a great number of people looking to create their own items in this style when it comes to the process of upcycling furniture. More than anything though in the process of doing this is the importance of choosing and buying the perfect paint for working on the furniture to get the desired, special effect. Matt, Satin, Vinyl Matt, Acrylic Eggshell, Estate Eggshell, Kitchen and Bathroom paint, Chalky Matt, Acrylic Gloss, Satinwood, Chalk Paint and Milk Paint are just a few of the types of colours to look out for in this area. Knowing the finish that you are striving for will make all the difference in what materials you use, what will work and play well with other finishes and what sort of prep you need to do. You can spend money or you can choose not to in this area; as mentioned this can be down to personal budget and personal preference.

 

In technical terms, there are the oil based paints, acrylic paints and the Annie Sloane paints which the latter has since become something of a household name. The advantages of oil-based paint are that they are generally more durable than acrylics. They are also noted for being better for covering up stains and scratches that may be present on the item of furniture. They are also able to offer a lovely gloss over it's acrylic counterpart. There is one disadvantage being the long times they take in which to dry; they are also a little more harsh in terms of their smell. Acrylic is a more water based paint and an easier one to work with also. They also manage to dry quicker and they are cheaper. That said an acrylic gloss will always look a little flatter than a good oil based gloss and acrylic paint is generally less durable which can get in the way should you be trying to achieve a desired look on an item of furniture. Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell is the safest bet for buying an acrylic variety with an oil-based look / finish.

 

Separate to both of the both with its own unique offering is the Annie Sloane paint which can for sure play a massive role in the upcycling of period furniture. This paint stands out as it is able to go straight on without any prep, with no undercoating needed. It also dries very, very quickly to a dead flat finish. It sticks to just about anything including handles and hardware (if you choose to paint them instead of removing them) and even covers waxed pine beautifully. Of all the types of paint this one stands out due to it's ease of use and the ready manner to which you can start to use it to cover items of furniture. Cost aside, this is for sure the perfect paint to use for a beginner. Some of the light colours may need a couple of coats but often the darker colours go over in one coat, which makes this a very efficient paint to use. You can for sure very quickly progress in painting items of furniture to a high end standard.

 

From this there are these three key options, however it does also pay to go back and review the items of furniture you need to upcycle and also assess the size and type of the items question. So many love the distressed shabby-chic look of furniture that has had a make-over and to enable your furniture to be the envy of others you need to not only choose the ideal paint, but know how to paint over the furniture. This is where the word technique takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Once you have sourced to hand your chosen piece of furniture, you will need to prep the surfaces to be painted. First be sure to remove any handles, hinges or metalwork and any other fittings which may end up getting in the way. You're now ready to start stripping the paint or varnish, to do this I tend to use sandpaper or Nitromors. You can source these items from most general hardware stores or DIY stores. Take note though, if you need to work to close levels of attention to detail, Nitromors are the better choice to get the better quality finish. Nitromors is a chemical substance that removes paint, varnish and skin, so do be careful and wear protective clothing as a safety precaution among other things. Once the item has been stripped and sanded, get rid of any dust by wiping it down with warm water. Bring the furniture right back to the bone. As a note, do not do this outdoors if possible.

 

The next stage is to then add the primer over the furniture. Depending on the condition of the wood it is sometimes necessary though you can also get away with not adding this. When applying the paint always go in the direction of the wood grain, keeping minimal paint on the paintbrush and with a nice thin layer. It's quality, not quantity is this part of the process of bringing the best finish to life. Allow each layer of paint to dry properly before adding the next. Again, this is different to say, decorating your home; you need to ensure this is carried out with great precision and that you ensure every detail is painted over in the best and most precise way you can. This doesn't mean you can't have fun though. One tip can be to add a dark paint to the shade you are working with to emphasise and bring out the edges and the curves on the item you are working on. Whether you do this or not, leave the item to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before distressing. Some people do not like the distressed look, so you could always leave it and just add a varnish or wax to protect the paint.

 

The distressing of the furniture is a whole stage of its own in itself. When distressing the furniture, there are so many routes and degrees of "aging" that you can do. The concept of what you need to do this is simple however, as all you need is sandpaper or metal wool. Again, it is best to ensure the fittings are taken away so you can have a free reign to scrub away as much or as little as you like in the areas you wish to focus on. For example, on a chest of drawers, this would be on raised areas, edges, around drawers, handles and the top of detailing. The trick is to sand in one direction repeatedly. If you want to create extra damage and bruise the furniture, use metal chain or the edge of metal tools to beat the furniture. This is just one other way you can work to create that unique one-off look.

 

Once you're content and you have the finish you had in mind, you can either leave as is, or add a coat of beeswax or varnish. This will help protect the wood, but don't be too over the top here as an overly shiny varnish will not look authentic and shabby chic. The whole point with Shabby Chic is the unique look and the fact you cannot see it from it's shine but from it's one off bespokeness. It is best to make sure however you get the finish to meet the needs for your own requirements of someone who may have commissioned you to do this work on their own behalf.

 

There are further tips still to take note of in the overall upcycling of furniture. For example in the buying process, minor surface scratches may also reduce the price of furniture - as long as they can be sanded over you could pick up a good bargain. You could use this as a means to get the seller to reduce the item. Most crucially with wooden items, you need to check they are sound. This is probably most important with woodworm. Aside from the above tips of how to work on the items and how to paint the items and how to choose and the details covered on the market as it is, try and get any information of where the item was sourced from so you have an idea where it may have sat or where it may have been stored. Look for damage that might be difficult to repair and be realistic about your limits with regards to renovation. Also keep in mind the finishing touches or the reupholstery that you might be able to do to transform a piece. This is for sure the case with chairs and sofa's.

 

As an overall period of furniture and furniture design, it says a lot that some of the most up to date retailers, such as DFS are nowadays selling brand new furniture in a design which replicates the Shabby Chic look. Hotel's are also designing rooms around this look. More on subject, this is becoming more and more of a business for people to go into and for antique traders to look to as a side business from retailing old items. For some, they are offering the chance to commission items that people give them and they are selling items which they have converted at a mark up price, ready to go.

 

Overall, the renovation and upcycling of period furniture is for sure a thriving area and there is for sure more to it than meets the eye. From the stage of understanding the market, where to buy it and source, where to commission an item - and how furniture can be upcycled, there are a lot of aspects to take on board no matter which are you may look at. As a type of furniture, the period furniture is for sure very much back and very much here to stay, with more and more consumers now buying this furniture whether it may be ready-prepared or they wish to prepare it / upcycle the items themselves. From now on, this is for sure a period and type of furniture to take greater interest in.

Renovating and upcycling old period furniture is big business nowadays and for sure a trend which is here to stay. People are now turning to this as a trend as a great means to recycle and prolong the use of current items of furniture they own. In this age of upcycle, renovating furniture before going out and spending a fortune on a new item may be easier and certainly cheaper. Even if they may not have the level of skill to upcycle the furniture themselves, there is an emerging market for barns and premises where you can take items to be upcycled. There is also a great mass of information online where you can read up and first hand learn how to upcycle furniture also.

 

Upcycling is a very straightforward process; you can source old tatty pieces by scouring junk shops, auction houses, car boot sales and look for items on Freecycle and eBay. Antique shops can also be a great source to purchase such furniture though as a word of advice this can be a more expensive means to do so given they tend to have a greater concept of the value of the items they sell. All it needs to update pre-loved pieces is a little bit of inspiration and basic DIY skills as to how to best bring out the best in the item you purchase.

 

From item to item, how to go about the overall restoration and upcycle of the item will vary depending on the design and components the furniture has. For a sofa for example, a key process will tend to be the need to recovering or reupholstering the upholstery. This can be for two reasons; the conditions of the textiles on the item at present - or the chances being that the upholstery may be out of date and no longer in fashion. Like in all aspects of the overall upcycling of the furniture, this is a process you can hire in by an external company - or you can do this yourself. Having good experience in this does help though. This is however a little more advanced than the processes of upcycling or painting a table. This is a full skill in itself.

 

No matter what the item may be, painting - and or varnishing furniture can straight away be a safe and cheap bet to bring out the best in the item. Different shades of paint can all play a role in being able to modernize a piece of furniture and be sure to add a cool wow factor also. Being able to customise furniture in this type of way is also highly rewarding - and a lot easier than you may think. If Shabby Chic is what you may be after, it is key to make sure you know the techniques to getting this effect; you will for sure need wax - and sandpaper. If you want to give your piece a really aged look you can add dark wax to some areas, and then go back over the item as before.

 

If you are looking to re-style your home - or a room in your home, this is a great way to do so. This is also a great time to do so given the sheer number of shops out there and reclamation yards out there where you can iconic designs of furniture cheaply. This is also a great time to accept old items of this type of furniture which may be handed down in the family. There is no end of possibilities as to what you can do with these items and for sure you really make good use of these items as a nice way to bring your home alive with a new personality.

 

The same can also be said for the idea of sourcing other types of period items, such as tiles, curtains, even rugs. Those too have come back into fashion with more and more people reverting back to this style. This also speaks volumes when you now consider there are stores out there as iconic as Liberty of London who now sell such items. Even though at a store such as theirs you may pay a premium, this does for sure show this is a market which is well and truely alive.

 

When upcycling furniture you first need to decide what it is that you're looking for. Antiques fairs or car boot sales can be fascinating places to wander around - though you must keep in mind that these places can also be prone to having low quality items also. After all, for some people they will have thought out having a car boot sale as something of a last resort, almost in desperation. If you are visiting a car boot sale, make sure you really do ask yourself what it is you want and if the sale will be able to meet this need for you. Look for a piece with individuality, for example turned legs, scrolled backs and detailed woodwork. Look for something which may be quirky and something you can draw something unique to so it can stand out in some way within your property. This does not mean that you have to spend a fortune; just think outside the box.

 

Likewise, from the points made above, don't be overly put off by any bold features; look beyond this and think up the fact that part of upcycling is the fact you can have the freedom to transform the item. This can be done from a lick of paint - or if you wish to divulge deeper, you can go to work on the shape and the curves which may make up the item. Working on such detail can really bring out the best in the item and a lighter colour can straight away soften the look if the item may be harsh in part to look at. There is no right or wrong way to do this so to be sure on colour, have a look at a colour chart.

 

You should also consider the type of paint you wish to use in the process of painting the item. Farrow and Ball is for sure a leading brand when it come to painting this type of furniture to a high overall standard. This does come at a price though and can be a little pricey. There are other ways to go about this however; Ebay can be a great place to source tubs of Vintage Paint from as little as 8.15 a tub. If you would rather see the choice in front of you, DIY store Wickes also have their own range. One you have the paint to do the job, as touched on, it is about getting the look and the effect to make this all the more worthwhile. This is all dependent in part on HOW you paint the item of furniture; this is an art and it all comes back to technique.

 

This is what will be able to take an item to the next level and give it it's added wow factor. After all period furniture is famed for being blessed with its attractive features and in this sense it really does help to ensure you take your time to paint over the curves and features in the best ways you can, in terms of finish and technique. The application of varnish can also play it's part in making the paint have something of a stand out look and effect. There are high street chains who have really embraced this and they have since reproduced this type of furniture, retailing items for up to 1000 an item in the process. The reproduction market is a market of it's own and something to read up about further on in this article.

 

Shabby Chic is very much the "in word" of the moment and by the looks of things, it is very much here to stay. This is a market trend which has really taken off in a big way with a great number of people looking to create their own items in this style when it comes to the process of upcycling furniture. More than anything though in the process of doing this is the importance of choosing and buying the perfect paint for working on the furniture to get the desired, special effect. Matt, Satin, Vinyl Matt, Acrylic Eggshell, Estate Eggshell, Kitchen and Bathroom paint, Chalky Matt, Acrylic Gloss, Satinwood, Chalk Paint and Milk Paint are just a few of the types of colours to look out for in this area. Knowing the finish that you are striving for will make all the difference in what materials you use, what will work and play well with other finishes and what sort of prep you need to do. You can spend money or you can choose not to in this area; as mentioned this can be down to personal budget and personal preference.

 

In technical terms, there are the oil based paints, acrylic paints and the Annie Sloane paints which the latter has since become something of a household name. The advantages of oil-based paint are that they are generally more durable than acrylics. They are also noted for being better for covering up stains and scratches that may be present on the item of furniture. They are also able to offer a lovely gloss over it's acrylic counterpart. There is one disadvantage being the long times they take in which to dry; they are also a little more harsh in terms of their smell. Acrylic is a more water based paint and an easier one to work with also. They also manage to dry quicker and they are cheaper. That said an acrylic gloss will always look a little flatter than a good oil based gloss and acrylic paint is generally less durable which can get in the way should you be trying to achieve a desired look on an item of furniture. Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell is the safest bet for buying an acrylic variety with an oil-based look / finish.

 

Separate to both of the both with its own unique offering is the Annie Sloane paint which can for sure play a massive role in the upcycling of period furniture. This paint stands out as it is able to go straight on without any prep, with no undercoating needed. It also dries very, very quickly to a dead flat finish. It sticks to just about anything including handles and hardware (if you choose to paint them instead of removing them) and even covers waxed pine beautifully. Of all the types of paint this one stands out due to it's ease of use and the ready manner to which you can start to use it to cover items of furniture. Cost aside, this is for sure the perfect paint to use for a beginner. Some of the light colours may need a couple of coats but often the darker colours go over in one coat, which makes this a very efficient paint to use. You can for sure very quickly progress in painting items of furniture to a high end standard.

 

From this there are these three key options, however it does also pay to go back and review the items of furniture you need to upcycle and also assess the size and type of the items question. So many love the distressed shabby-chic look of furniture that has had a make-over and to enable your furniture to be the envy of others you need to not only choose the ideal paint, but know how to paint over the furniture. This is where the word technique takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Once you have sourced to hand your chosen piece of furniture, you will need to prep the surfaces to be painted. First be sure to remove any handles, hinges or metalwork and any other fittings which may end up getting in the way. You're now ready to start stripping the paint or varnish, to do this I tend to use sandpaper or Nitromors. You can source these items from most general hardware stores or DIY stores. Take note though, if you need to work to close levels of attention to detail, Nitromors are the better choice to get the better quality finish. Nitromors is a chemical substance that removes paint, varnish and skin, so do be careful and wear protective clothing as a safety precaution among other things. Once the item has been stripped and sanded, get rid of any dust by wiping it down with warm water. Bring the furniture right back to the bone. As a note, do not do this outdoors if possible.

 

The next stage is to then add the primer over the furniture. Depending on the condition of the wood it is sometimes necessary though you can also get away with not adding this. When applying the paint always go in the direction of the wood grain, keeping minimal paint on the paintbrush and with a nice thin layer. It's quality, not quantity is this part of the process of bringing the best finish to life. Allow each layer of paint to dry properly before adding the next. Again, this is different to say, decorating your home; you need to ensure this is carried out with great precision and that you ensure every detail is painted over in the best and most precise way you can. This doesn't mean you can't have fun though. One tip can be to add a dark paint to the shade you are working with to emphasise and bring out the edges and the curves on the item you are working on. Whether you do this or not, leave the item to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before distressing. Some people do not like the distressed look, so you could always leave it and just add a varnish or wax to protect the paint.

 

The distressing of the furniture is a whole stage of its own in itself. When distressing the furniture, there are so many routes and degrees of "aging" that you can do. The concept of what you need to do this is simple however, as all you need is sandpaper or metal wool. Again, it is best to ensure the fittings are taken away so you can have a free reign to scrub away as much or as little as you like in the areas you wish to focus on. For example, on a chest of drawers, this would be on raised areas, edges, around drawers, handles and the top of detailing. The trick is to sand in one direction repeatedly. If you want to create extra damage and bruise the furniture, use metal chain or the edge of metal tools to beat the furniture. This is just one other way you can work to create that unique one-off look.

 

Once you're content and you have the finish you had in mind, you can either leave as is, or add a coat of beeswax or varnish. This will help protect the wood, but don't be too over the top here as an overly shiny varnish will not look authentic and shabby chic. The whole point with Shabby Chic is the unique look and the fact you cannot see it from it's shine but from it's one off bespokeness. It is best to make sure however you get the finish to meet the needs for your own requirements of someone who may have commissioned you to do this work on their own behalf.

 

There are further tips still to take note of in the overall upcycling of furniture. For example in the buying process, minor surface scratches may also reduce the price of furniture - as long as they can be sanded over you could pick up a good bargain. You could use this as a means to get the seller to reduce the item. Most crucially with wooden items, you need to check they are sound. This is probably most important with woodworm. Aside from the above tips of how to work on the items and how to paint the items and how to choose and the details covered on the market as it is, try and get any information of where the item was sourced from so you have an idea where it may have sat or where it may have been stored. Look for damage that might be difficult to repair and be realistic about your limits with regards to renovation. Also keep in mind the finishing touches or the reupholstery that you might be able to do to transform a piece. This is for sure the case with chairs and sofa's.

 

As an overall period of furniture and furniture design, it says a lot that some of the most up to date retailers, such as DFS are nowadays selling brand new furniture in a design which replicates the Shabby Chic look. Hotel's are also designing rooms around this look. More on subject, this is becoming more and more of a business for people to go into and for antique traders to look to as a side business from retailing old items. For some, they are offering the chance to commission items that people give them and they are selling items which they have converted at a mark up price, ready to go.

 

Overall, the renovation and upcycling of period furniture is for sure a thriving area and there is for sure more to it than meets the eye. From the stage of understanding the market, where to buy it and source, where to commission an item - and how furniture can be upcycled, there are a lot of aspects to take on board no matter which are you may look at. As a type of furniture, the period furniture is for sure very much back and very much here to stay, with more and more consumers now buying this furniture whether it may be ready-prepared or they wish to prepare it / upcycle the items themselves. From now on, this is for sure a period and type of furniture to take greater interest in.