The movement to curb climate change and use better environmental practices has gained momentum over the last couple of years, as the world has finally begun to recognize the very real effects of global warming. There are many steps we can take to protect our precious resources and keep our planet safe and beautiful for generations to come. Upcycling (which is a form of reusing) is one great example of one of the countless actions you can take to create a more sustainable future.

As the name might imply, upcycling is the process of converting an unwanted item or belonging into something that is wanted or useful. With a little imagination and some handiwork, upcycling allows you to create something new and unique out of an item that was headed for the bin.  Upcycling allows you to breathe new life into an item that has been forgotten while keeping it out of the landfill. What’s not to like about it?

Your old furniture is a prime example of one of the many items you can upcycle. Refurbishing old furniture isn’t just a fun home improvement project to keep you busy, but it also allows you to use something you already have to spruce up your space and home office.

Keep reading below for some useful tips on how you can make old furniture feel like new.

1. Establish What You Want 

Before starting to refurbish your furniture, take time to create an idea and plan for what you want to accomplish. Having an idea of what you want your updated furniture to look like can help streamline the process. Does it require just a little paint or refinish? Are there broken parts that need to be fixed? Will the finished product create the look and feel I am aiming for? These are important questions to ask yourself before you get started.

2. Make Sure That You Have the Proper Tools 

Once you’ve determined what exactly it is that you want to do, your next step is to ensure you have the proper tools to get the job safely done. You may be a home improvement expert at this point in the pandemic and already have a fully stocked toolbox and safety box, but you’re likely missing a few critical items. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned home improvement project guru, some items are always good to have when you’re restoring furniture: sandpaper, plastic/metal putty knives, wood glue, screwdrivers, a hammer, measuring tape, paintbrush, stain, or varnish. Do some research on what tools can be the most useful for your specific refurbishment.

3. Clean Before You Begin 

It’s important to give the piece a thorough cleaning before sanding or painting it to get rid of any dust or grime. In some cases, a good cleaning and buffing will reveal a nice wood style underneath and could be all that the item really needs to look new again. Give the furniture a gentle, thorough scrub with a sponge and some vegetable-based oil soap and warm water.

4. Repair Broken Parts and Tighten Loose Screws 

After you’ve cleaned the piece, you’ll want to repair or replace any broken parts (such as a wobbly table legs, missing couch legs, etc.). Tightening screws is an easy fix, but if you’re not particularly handy and the piece requires extensive repairs, consider consulting a professional.

5. Refinish, Stain, or Repaint the Piece 

Refinishing is the process of removing the old finish and creating a new one. This typically involves starting by sanding your furniture and then applying a stripper. It can be a time-consuming process, so don’t get discouraged. Once you’ve smoothed out the surface and removed the old finish or paint, you can go ahead and apply the new stain or paint.

Now that you’ve read these tips, we hope that you can safely begin restoring your furniture to add some ambiance to your home. For more tips on topics including reusing, reducing, recycling, and much more, then be sure to stay tuned on our blog.