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Elfie PH

The Basics of Upcycling Furniture


Thanks in no small measure to visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, furniture upcycling has recently evolved from being a niche hobby into one that is very much in the mainstream. In some circles, it has even become a way to show off one’s creativity, eye for detail, and uniqueness. In the Philippines, the trend has become so popular that some small businesses now buy up broken or unused furniture with the intent of creating and selling upcycled pieces.

Whether you want to sell an upcycled piece or need something for an upcoming DIY project, the safest option for newbie upcyclers is to go on trusted online marketplaces like LookingFour where people buy and sell online all sorts of items available under the sun. But before you start doing either, it’s important to understand the basics. In this brief guide, we’ll give you a short overview that covers The most important things you need to know about furniture upcycling as a practice.

What Is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the remaking of old or used items into something new, usually in a way that adds value or changes a product’s original purpose. The creation of value makes upcycling different from recycling, a more common practice that upcycling is confused with. Upcycling is also different from restoration, as restoration aims to return an old item to a state similar to what it was when it was new.

Almost any item made from durable materials can be upcycled. Objects made from wood, glass, high-quality cardboard, metal, and durable plastics are prime candidates for upcycling projects.

Why Should I Upcycle Furniture?


Apart from being on trend, upcycling furniture has a few significant benefits:

1. Upcycling Usually Costs Less Than Buying New

Typical furniture upcycling projects usually involve furniture pieces that you already have or items that you can source for free or at a very low price. This makes upcycling worth considering for household pieces that either get a lot of wear and tear or no longer suit your needs.

For instance, many homeowners will discard their dining table and dining chairs after a renovation project, simply because they no longer match their dining room’s theme. Rather than doing that, what homeowners can do instead is to upcycle these pieces to match their decor, which can potentially save them the cost of a new dining set.

2. It Brings Out Your Creative Side

Because most upcycling projects are one-offs, you cannot always rely on past experience to complete them. This means you’ll need to actively exercise creativity and thoughtfulness. It’s worth mentioning that the challenge of turning discarded and worn-out furniture into something valuable with minimal additional resources can force you into adopting a more innovative state of mind — something that can be useful in other parts of your life.

3. Upcycling Is a Sustainable Practice

While upcycling furniture is a great way to save some cash and personalize your home, it also encourages you to practice sustainable consumption. With the Philippines and many other places in the world now under threat from pollution and climate change, any buying decision that maximizes existing resources and cuts down on unnecessary resource extraction is a welcome one for the planet we all share.

What Kind of Furniture Can I Upcycle?

There is virtually no limit to what you can upcycle. However, for practical reasons, furniture pieces made from hardwood, metal, and durable plastics are easier to work with and are less likely to come apart. Glass furniture pieces could also be upcycled, though you may need some special tools to be able to safely cut and reshape glass. Furniture made of chipboard, cardboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), or softwoods can also be upcycled, but the end products may not be suitable for the outdoors.

Where Can I Find Inspiration for My Upcycling Project?

If you’re new to DIY projects, it can be tough to think up original ideas for upcycling your furniture. Fortunately, there are now a lot of places where you can find the inspiration you need.

Visual social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram can offer aspiring upcyclers endless inspiration for their projects. Outside of social media, you can also find websites that are specifically designed to help you find the ideas you need to update your worn-out furniture. Lastly, you can visit local furniture showrooms and art spaces that feature upcycled pieces to take a close look at professionally assembled examples.

What Other Items Can I Upcycle?

Furniture is often upcycled as a lot of it is easy to readapt. But with enough work and a bit of imagination, anything made from reasonably durable materials can be reworked into something of lasting value. Other popular candidates for upcycling include:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Broken musical instruments
  • Appliances
  • Cutlery
  • Equipment cases
  • Luggage
  • Bottles
  • Old computers
  • Accessories
  • Insulated cables
  • Unneeded books

Why You Should Hop on the Upcycling Trend

Upcycling can be a fun, economical, and rewarding way to breathe new life into furniture that you would have otherwise discarded. More importantly, upcycling helps us to reexamine the things we own, particularly the resources they use up and their impact on our environment. In a time when nothing we buy seems to last, furniture upcycling is an encouraging trend that raises important questions, empowers consumers, and helps heal our planet.

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