Upcycle a piece of furniture

Find your next item of furniture or decorative item second-hand and bring it back to life by refreshing the finish, re-purposing or re-upholstering it.


There will always be new furniture available and it may be easier to buy new, but fast-furniture has an impact. Much ends up as waste and faux wood, MDF board, polypropylene fabrics and solvent-based adhesives can all be environmentally harmful. The throw-away ethos of the fashion industry, which has done so much damage to the environment, also now applies to furniture and furnishings – by choosing this action you can help apply the brakes and slow this trend.

The reasons to do this aren’t all environmental. There is pride and attachment imbued in any item which you have worked on yourself and if you’re  learning a new skill, like upholstery say, you may be helping to keep skills, crafts and traditions alive.  Upcycled can be stylish and contemporary – rowse through any interior design magazine or look online and you will find beautiful interiors featuring unique, quirky pieces taking centre stage.


It isn’t necessary to have a wealth of skills to personalise or revive a tired piece; a little guidance, the right tools and a healthy splash of imagination can transform anything.

There are one-day, weekly, weekend and online courses where you can dip your toe into the upholstery world, try furniture restoration or learn to re-paint a piece of furniture. In the future we will see more of these courses pop-up locally, so always check your local websites and online forums. There’s a wealth of skill around us just waiting to be shared.

Live and online craft course www.craftcourses.com

Witchord and Impington Village Colleges https://www.impington.cambs.sch.uk/impingtonadultlearning

Cottenham Village College  http://community.cvcweb.net/arts-crafts

Pictures and videos that others share of their creations can be a great source of inspiration. See Pinterest and find thousands of ‘How to…’ videos on YouTube, Videojug in particular is a good source.