New to Upcycling? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are you a creative individual looking for new and exciting ways to decorate your home? It could be time to give upcycling a try! Upcycling is great for those looking to decorate their home on a budget or for individuals who love DIY projects. Plus, it is great for the environment.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is when you take an old or discard object and turn it into something more useful. It is different than recycling because you’re not breaking objects down. Instead, you’re focused on taking the object and improving it. It is similar to thrifting, but it adds additional artistic aesthetics to the piece.

For individuals looking to redecorate their home, upcycling provides them the chance to take their existing furniture and turn it into something new. Tired of that dresser? Paint it or turn it into something new! A little bit of paint makes a huge difference.


What is the purpose of upcycling?

One reason people like to upcycle is that they can use their own creativity to make an object look however they like. For example, if you find a style of a couch that you like but the fabric on the couch is old and dated, it is easy to upcycle the couch by covering the existing fabric with a new fabric of your choosing. This allows you to match the couch to your existing decor.

Another reason people upcycle is that it is good for the environment. Instead of items being sent to the dump, they get to be repurposed and reused. Not only does this lower the amount of waste in landfills, but it also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

And, finally, another reason people prefer to upcycle is that it saves them money. It is often cheaper to repurpose an existing item instead of purchasing a brand new item.


What objects can be upcycled?

Almost anything can be upcycled with enough creativity! Clothes, glass bottles, old books, discard furniture…the list goes on!

If you’re new to upcycling and want to refresh your interior, start by upcycling old pieces of furniture. Start by going to a thrift store and looking for a sturdy wooden piece, such as an old table or dresser. You can then sand the furniture down and either paint or stain the piece. You can also replace existing knobs with newer knobs.

Other popular furniture pieces for beginners to upcycle are chairs, stools, chests, and bookshelves. As you gain more experience, you’ll find other creative ways to upcycle furniture that goes beyond painting and staining.


What should you keep at your workbench?

Stocking your workbench is part of the fun of upcycling! Whenever you begin a new project, make a list of all the supplies that you’ll need to successfully complete the project without having to repeatedly run to the store.

You’ll also find that there are some objects that you’ll use for every project. For example, if you’re working with wooden furniture, you’ll probably always need some sort of sandpaper, paint, and stain on hand.

You’ll also want to get a toolkit that has some basic hand tools. Pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, sockets, drills, and saws are hand tools that you’ll need fairly regularly.

Individuals that are regularly working on projects may find it useful to invest in some larger equipment. This could include a table saw, which can help make more precise cuts, or a drill press, which can help drill perfectly sized holes. If you’re working in a small space, you may need to get creative with your equipment. For example, you might need to buy a portable table saw instead of a full-size one. Or instead of buying a drill press that sits on the floor, you might need to purchase a small one that sits on a countertop.


Where can you get project ideas?

If you’re ready to begin upcycling but don’t know where to begin, look for inspiration on the internet! There are blogs, Facebook groups, and Pinterest boards dedicated to upcycling. Folks loving sharing before and after pictures of their upcycling projects. Some blogs will also take you step-by-step through a project, which is particularly useful when you’re first starting out.


Final thoughts

Upcycling is a cost-efficient way to refresh and restyle the interior of your home. Upcycling is a current trend that many creative homeowners are turning to. Sometimes upcycling changes the look of an existing piece and sometimes it changes the function of a discarded piece. Projects can range from simple to complex — the only limitation is your imagination!

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