How to “recycle” furniture, because this stuff is expensive

A mid-century armchair that gets a makeover with some DIY upholstery work.

Photo: sarasang (Getty Images)

Recycling furniture can add a quirky touch to your space while keeping furniture out of the landfill – a real win-win, especially when you remember how expensive it is to buy new furniture, and how many of them. aren’t built to last unless you’re “willing to pay top dollar. (AAnd maybe even then …) If you follow the path of upcycling, thereYou can save money by finding furniture anywhere and figuring out how to make it work in your space. Here are some tips to get you started on your upcycling adventure.

Where to find furniture to save

You will often spy on unwanted but still perfectly usable furniture in the trash or left on the street. This can be a viable way to source to rescueacorn articles, but personally, I would jump the sofas off the sidewalk, or anything with a lot of cushion—it is better to know as much as possible about where your soft, padded parts come from. Neighborhood-less groups, yard and estate sales, thrift stores, and your own garage are all places to look for potential candidates. Solid wood or metal furniture is a good choice, as pressed cardboard and composites can break more easily and be more difficult to upgrade. Iimagination and the ability to see the potential of what is in front of you are necessary to choose the right part for you, but do not be afraid to err on the side of practicality, if a project going to take more work to perfect than you can realistically accomplish, leave it to someone more industrious.


If redoing or rebuilding an entire piece of furniture seems ambitious to you, try starting with a simple upholstery project. If you have a worn headboard or and a threadbare dining chair you want to salvage, which be a good projects to start. These jobs need fabric, fleece, a stapler, and maybe a few other simple tools, but they won’t require a lot of construction to complete.

For the upholstery, the first step is to remove the old fabric with a staple puller (or a flat screwdriver) and a few pliers. If you are working on a chair seat, you will first need to remove the seat by unscrewing it from below. If it’s a headboard, remove it from the bed. Then, stretch your new fleece layer evenly over your surface, wrap it backwards, and staple it. Once the fleece is secure, take your new piece of padding and fold the back or bottom edge underneath. Staple it along the underside or on the back of your coin, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges, smoothing out wrinkles as you go. Repeat this step along the opposite edge, then the sides. Finally, work your corners in a “hospital corner” as you would on a bed sheet and tie them as well.. Texcess fabric rim in the corners if it looks too bulky.

Change your material

It is surprising what a new set of pulls or drawer pulls can do for a room, and it’s pretty much the easiest upgrade ever. Find the material that matches the existing number holes in your furniture so you don’t end up with a bunch of visible holes left behind that you will need to patch.

It goes beyond drawer handles: Some sofas, chairs, dressers, and the sideboards have feet that are screwed in from below. If they are scratched or look old fashioned, you can replace them with something new. If you are not sure about the size, take your old gear to the store with you for comparison or shop online from sites with a range of custom replacements. Talking about that…

Add new legs

Old desks and tables with damaged or missing legs can be recovered by replacing them. You are unlikely to find an exact match for the leg you want to replace, so it’s usually a good idea to replace them all at the same time. If the feet screw in from below, you can simply unscrew them (phew). Some legs will have brackets or other hardware supports in place, but you can get new ones supports for the new leg you choose to add if the old ones to dois not suitable. You can buy prefabricated legs, or if you have the tools, make your own. New legs can also to lend a modern feel to an older room.

A new coat of paint

You can breathe new life into a piece of furniture by sanding and painting it. First, sand the old uneven finish until your furniture is smooth. WClean it with a damp cloth, then paint or re-varnish. Make sure to apply the paint as evenly as possible to keep the surface smooth. Iit’s a good idea to prime your piece first to ensure an even coat if you change color drastically.

Turn a shelf in a cabinet

An old bookthe housing can easily be converted into a cabinet with the addition of doors to hers before. Old shutters or kitchen cabinet doors can be reused—or, if you have the skills and tools, you can create some to fit. All you will need to secure your doors is a screw gun and hinges. First, attach one side of your cabinet hinges to the inside of your door. Then open the hinges and line your door up to the edge of yourself in a free post. Attach the cabinet hinges to the edge of the shelf with open and level door. You can adjust the lower edge of the door to a block or a piece of wood to help keep it level. Add magnet cabinet socket to keep the doors closed. Finish your room with matching paint to put it all together.

Use your imagination

Older furniture can be reused in several ways; the only real rule is to check for lead and mold before bringing a part in your house. Reducing waste while saving money is about as good as it gets when it comes to furnishing (this shit is expensive). Be creative and bring your own style to your unique recycled treasures.

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