10 furniture upcycling tips

Stencilling, repainting, wallpapering and more ways to bring furniture to life

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Theresa Tsui, Chief Creator at reMADE DXB

Repaint an old wooden chair in a bright and vibrant colour to bring it back to life. Use fine sandpaper to remove all traces of varnish before priming and painting with two even coats of custom blend satin enamel.

Wallpaper the back panels of a bookcase to transform an ordinary piece of furniture into something unique. Remove the back panel of your bookcase and apply wallpaper as you normally would on a wall.

Upcycle old shutters or doors into room dividers. Take three doors and hinge them together to form a self-standing room divider. Paint or stain them as you wish.

Decoupage the frame of an old mirror. All you need is a mirror with a wide frame, some Mod Podge (a decoupage medium), and some old maps, vintage book, comics or decorative napkins. Lightly sand the frame to remove traces of wax or varnish, before creating your collage across the frame.

Spray paint a standard hallway table or piece of wooden furniture that you’re bored with. Use an all-in-one spray-on primer first. Take this project outside and make sure that you cover your mouth.

Ali Yazdjerdi, owner of bespoke furniture company The Taz Project

Create an antique finish Apply a base coat of paint, allow it to dry, and then add colour. Use sandpaper to distress – and then apply a coat of stain, wiping it off before it dries. Protect your work with a coat of polyurethane (matt, stain or glossy).

Use a doily as a stencil to paint beautiful and elegant designs on your old furniture.

Bring furniture back to life by applying a couple of coats of oil. You have lots of options, including Danish, Tung and Linseed.

Mix oil and varnish to give old pieces a new lease of life. Use any of the oils mentioned above, along with your choice of varnish. The standard mixture is one third oil, one third varnish, and one third thinner.

Give furniture a textured effect by pulling a dry paintbrush through a coat of wet paint. The bristles of the brush will cut grooves through the paint, creating the unique effect. This textured effect can be implemented on any surface.

To ship or not to ship?

If you’ve just moved to the UAE, you may be wondering if it’s cheaper to ship your furniture from overseas or to start over from scratch. Francis Morgan of The Auction House Dubai offers his advice.

It’s definitely more cost-effective to buy your furniture again in the UAE, as shipping from your home country will be surprisingly costly. This is one of the world’s most transient cities, making it very easy to buy affordable second-hand furniture as people leave. Head down to The Auction House, as you can buy at the price you want on both new and old furniture, with everything checked and appraised before it reaches the auction. It’s also worth joining community Facebook pages where items are regularly advertised for sale.”

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