Style On a Budget: Bringing Life to Old Furniture

Having been living the student life for the past three years (and soon to be the life of a graduate which is basically student life without the loan) I’ve been on a tight budget for a while but that hasn’t made my desire for beautiful things any weaker.

Over the years I have built up quite a collection of trinkets, crockery, clothing & furniture from charity shops, second hand shops and the generosity of friends and over the coming weeks will be sharing snippets of my collection in the hopes of forwarding my inspiration.

This week is the project I’m most proud of and that is the two pieces of furniture I stripped down, re-painted and have loved ever since.

The first was an old brown table I picked up in a British Heart Foundation shop for £5. My mother hated it, I loved it and was determined to prove it could be beautiful.

IMG_1097Here it is in all its lacquered-varnished glory.

I managed to pick up a selection of paint brushes for £4 along with a Craig & Rose Chalky Wall Paint in Winchester Green (the name swayed it). If you can get a rough idea of the size of your table you can get a good estimate of how much paint you will need. I only used two sample pots for this which cost me very little. I probably should have used a paint specifically for wood but over a year of holding all of the junk mail dumped through our letterbox (a lot) the paint has held up well and a little chip here and there only adds to its character.

Stripping the table was an arduous task but one I enjoyed. Don’t do, as I did, and think that laying down a sheet in the house will protect your carpets and walls. It won’t. The dust will get everywhere.
The varnish on this table was quite thick and took several hours of using a very rough sandpaper – about a P40 – to strip the thickest layers and then graduated down in thickness through about a P60 to even out the ridges and finally a P180 to get a lovely smooth finish. Helpfully, Wikipedia has a whole page dedicated to sandpaper and what you can use different grit numbers for.


At this point temptation struck to leave the table looking battered and worn but figured I already had the paint and well, to anyone other than me it probably looked shit.

With a few hours and two coats of paint my table was a beautiful green and I was in love.


My second project was a cupboard gifted to me by family. I’ll be honest, when I first saw it I thought the only place it was fit for was the bin. It had gone through many years of extensive use and the wood had absorbed so much bleach and chemicals that it stank.

Thankfully this cupboard had only a light varnish on so it was much easier to clean than the table.

Just as before, I picked up some sample pots of paint and got to work. The cupboard has some detailing on the front which were a little difficult to sand and paint but with a bit of time and a *lot* of patience I got there. I also painted the inside of the cupboard with some white emulsion and a bit of patchworked pink I found lying about – thankfully it was only the inside and the less said about that experiment the better. But the outside of it looks good anyhow.

IMG_1173Apologies for the terrible quality picture, I’m not much of a photographer

So there you go.  Hopefully a little inspiration to pick up some ugly old furniture and give it life. The next projects on my list are a nest of 3 tables like the one above which will hopefully become a trio of pastel coloured ones and maybe one day an old desk chair brought to life with a bright colour and a re-upholstered seat.

Have you upcycled anything and fallen in love with it?

See you next time for a snippet of my eclectic crockery collection – it’s worth it. Genuinely.

Lauren – Tweet Me!


One thought on “Style On a Budget: Bringing Life to Old Furniture

  1. Pingback: Beauty, By Nature. | Wendy House

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s