an image of upcycle furniture outside a shop

How to Upcycle Furniture: Top Tips - Alan Farr Limited

2016 has been a big year for furniture restoration and upcycle projects, and 2017 is showing no signs of change. Bring an old chair or dresser to life with these top tips from Alan Farr Limited and a little bit of love.

The Furniture

You can find some fantastic pieces of furniture looking for love at antique car boot sales, charity shops, or even local skip sites. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! An abundance of furniture can be quite overwhelming so it’s good to have an idea of what you’re looking for. Individuality is key, with characteristics such as detailed woodwork or carvings, turned out legs, and scrolled backs. Be sure to check the condition – look for tell-tale signs of woodworm such as excess dust or holes that look out of place. If you see signs like this, ask the dealer if the item has been treated.


Give your furniture item a thorough clean all over and take out all loose pieces such as drawers. Sand your furniture down, starting with a fine sandpaper and moving up to a slightly coarser one if required. This will depend on the wood it’s made from, but it’s best to start fine and work your way up to avoid damage. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to begin your upcycle.


A popular choice for modern upcycles is chalk paint. This gives a great matte finish and is incredibly simple to use. It doesn’t require a primer beforehand and offers excellent coverage. Add another coat if required. Once dried, you can sand some areas back to achieve a distressed look. Be selective with the areas, and for an authentic appearance go for the sections that would have the most wear and tear such as corners and edges. A great technique is to layer white chalk paint underneath another colour – this creates a fantastic powdery, vintage detail once sanded down. If you choose to use emulsion paint, you will need to prime your surface first.


Adding detail to your design using stencils will create a vintage look and can be really effective. Stipple your chosen paint through your stencil using a large brush and, once dried, wax to protect.


Here at Alan Farr Ltd, we pride ourselves on the quality of our workmanship alongside the high level of customer service we provide. For more information regarding our service, please call 01543 469 946.