Before and after furniture

Table of Contents

The good thing about upcycling is that there really are no limits to what you can create. It’s a sustainable, cost-effective option, and anyone can join the upcycling revolution and undertake a range of upcycled furniture projects – no previous skills required.

Interior designer and upcycler, Lynne Lambourne from Love Nellie, is encouraging the nation to join in on the upcycling movement and breathe new life into vintage and second-hand furniture and homewear with these following tips.

1. Preparation is key to upcycling. Plan ahead and ensure you have the tools and equipment needed to do the job. Give all furniture a wipe down before you start, otherwise you could get an old cobweb stuck to your paintbrush! And factor in time at the end in case you need to make any corrections to your work. Sometimes the excitement of getting the job done can mean we rush things.

2. Be imaginative when you see old pieces. Old ladders make great places to display plants, and old washing machine drums make great outdoor plant pots. Creative ideas can give a new purpose to something that would have otherwise been discarded.

3. If you see a piece of vintage furniture for sale on the high street that you like, the chances are that you can find something very similar in a charity shop, at a car boot sale, or on sites such as Gumtree. You may even find something similar in your granny’s attic! With a bit of paint and some imagination, you can create something beautiful at a fraction of the price.

MalkovstockGetty Images

4. Make sure you match the era of the piece of furniture with the style of upcycling. An old 1950s G-plan sideboard will never look good painted in pastels and then distressed to give a shabby chic coastal effect. Be sympathetic to the original style – for example, a piece like that would look great painted in a bold colour, or decoupaged using geometrical wallpaper.

5. Spend a few extra pennies on good paint brushes. Cheap ones leave bristles in your work and don’t give good coverage. All good paint brands now have their own paint brushes which work wonderfully well together. Wrap brushes and rollers in tinfoil or clingfilm in between coats to keep the brush moist and then clean them as soon as you’ve finished painting or waxing.

sturtiGetty Images

6. Collect old odd socks (clean ones, of course!) as they are great to use to apply wax to furniture, providing they are not too fluffy, as any loose fibres will stick to the wax.

7. Have fun and be bold. You are not bound by the constraints of what is available on the high street. There are so many colours to choose from and a wealth of ideas on Pinterest to inspire you. There should be no end to everyone’s creativity!

Dorling Kindersley: Charlotte TolhurstGetty Images

8. Remove old drawer knobs first so you don’t paint around them only to find when you remove the old ones, the new ones are smaller and you have a space with no paint.

9. New products are launched all of the time which seem to make the impossible, possible. For example, protective outdoor paints and sprays mean that you can be creative with outdoor spaces and create the look of an extra room in the garden quite easily. Think outside the box, gardens don’t have to be full of teak furniture! There are some amazing new easy crackle glaze products out there which mean you can age a piece easily. This is great news if you find second hand mirrors or frames as these can be made to look super expensive.

Al Fresco range, 750ml for £16.95, from Frenchic – Frenchic

10. Once you have finished your pieces, make sure you protect all your hard work with wax or varnish to give it longevity. After putting so much effort into making something re-loved, give it the respect it deserves by finishing it properly.

11. Don’t be afraid to try and get started, I always say that there are no mistakes in upcycling – only lessons learnt.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


Olivia Heath Digital Editor, House Beautiful UK Olivia Heath is the Digital Editor at House Beautiful UK, uncovering tomorrow’s biggest home trends, delivering stylish room decor inspiration and rounding up the hottest properties on the market.

Sharing is caring!


This roundup of 50+ repurposed table ideas will inspire you to change up or transform that table you have in storage, or maybe you just found the perfect table at a thrift store or on the side of the road. In any case, you’re sure to find something here to inspire you to save an old table from the landfill or dump. Old tables are generally well made and will last much longer than the newer tables of today.

Some of these table ideas are simple makeovers with paint and or stain. Others are a little more complicated, and even a few may include a saw to change the table up. There are even ideas to turn other furniture items into tables that are useful.

Are you more of a table makeover person or a table transformation? Do you refinish tables or just paint them? There is definitely something here for you regardless.

I hope you pin this collection so others can find inspiration, and it will help you remember where you found over 50 table ideas!

Coffee Table Ideas

Two Tier Coffee Table Makeover with Ms Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Mid Century Modern Coffee Table gets a new top

Coffee Table into an End of Bed Bench

How to refinish a Coffee Table

Vintage Ammo box into a Coffee Table

Army Footlocker Into Coffee Table with Storage

Easy Image Transfer Coffee Table

Vintage Door Coffee Table

How to Make a Coffee Table using Chair Legs

Side Table Ideas and Makeovers

It’s Just Me, Sewing Table redo

Small Table Makeover with Homeright’s Finish Max

Annie Sloan Paris Gray

shabby two-toned side table

Quickie Table Makeover

Faux Leather using Brown Paper Bag Decoupage Technique

Cut a table in half to make a console table

$5 Small Table (falling apart) Repaired and Painted, given a new life

Ikea Tables-Easy Makeover

Using Flooring to make a topless table presentable again

Fun Game Board Table

Decoupaged Hexagon Side Table

Queen Anne Side Tables Cut in Half

Vintage Side Table Makeover

Side Table Makeover

Hall Tree made from a Door and Table

Outdoor Table Ideas

Patio Table Makeover by Sew Woodsy

Susan @ Homeroad married two pieces to get this awesome table!

Cute outdoor table made from wood scraps

simple rustic table made from a cabinet door

Repurposed Chair Side Table

Pallet Top Table

Dining Table Ideas

Chase The Star-chalkboard table

Potholes & Pantyhose DIY Dining Table

Small Kitchen Table Redo

How to strip and refinish a table (before)


Thrift store table gets a makeover with DIY Chalk Paint

Double Pedestal Oak Table and Chairs

Old Oak Table New Craft Table

Large Farm Table Redo

DIY Chalk Paint Kids table and Chairs

Table transformed into a footstool

Make your own Table

Going a little Coastal-Sawhorse Desk/Table

Stool Turned side Table

Repurposed Singer Sewing Machine Side Table

Double Pedestal Sofa Table

Updated Singer Sewing Machine Table

Console Table made from Leaf and Legs

Make a Standing Computer Desk out of a Tray Table

Made from an old table

Faux Pocket Watch from a Table Top

Kitchen table repurposed into a faux clock coffee table

Console Table made from an antique drop leaf table

Table made from “parts”. Crib and antique drop leaf table

Antique Drop Leaf table into a Console Table

Table Top into a Game Organizer

Repurposed Coffee Table Chalkboard Easel

Hall Tables & Sofa Tables

Easy Makeover – Black Sofa Table

Library Table Makeover

Pretty in Pink Table Makeover

I hope you found something to inspire you to rescue a table, or pick up a cheap table at a thrift store.

More collections to inspire you!

Old Window Projects

Repurposed Dresser Ideas

Old Chair Projects

Headboard Bench Projects

Sharing is caring!


Share this idea!

  • Tweet
  • Pin7
  • Facebook0


When a passion for repurposing is focused on furniture, the opportunities are limitless. Discarded street signs and broken skateboards provide vibrant patterns for tables and seats. A vintage radiator is a showpiece as the base on a desk. Empty toilets evoke smiles as a whimsical way to display potted plants.

Whether shopping for upcycled products, embellishing pieces you already own, or embarking on a unique DIY design, repurposing is exciting, economical, and satisfying. Sometimes, it’s also delightfully outrageous. Ideally, it’s kind to the planet.

For repurposing and repurposed furniture ideas, we tapped into the creativity of innovative artisans, shop owners, and DIYers.


Repurposed skateboard desk by SkateOrDesign. Photo:

The folks who launched SkateOrDesign on Etsy repurpose broken skateboards bought from shops and parks. They freshen up components and piece them together as shelves, benches, desks, and other assorted products.

“The skateboard art and colors on parts are matched and selected by our skater-craftsman much like a fine woodworker selects the grain and color of his lumber,” says Jason Podlaski, who established the Pennsylvania-based business with his brother Adam.

For DIYers, the website Upcycle That offers an assortment of tutorials, including instructions on building skateboard display shelves.

Dresser Drawers

Mismatched drawers repurposed as display shelves at Upcycled gift shop. Photo: Donovan Peterson

Upcycled is a nifty gift boutique with such intriguing items as bike tube wallets and skateboard earrings.

Repurposing at the business in Missoula, Montana, extends to their innovative display units. Especially noteworthy is an intentionally free-form tower of assorted dresser drawers, stacked upright with the open spaces facing forward. The display unit, which is securely anchored to the wall for safety, draws plenty of interest, especially for folks who appreciate repurposed furniture ideas. Shoppers snap pictures and ask for instructions on building their own, says store owner Donovan Peterson

It’s easy, says Peterson. Stack drawers in a pattern you like. Add screws to lock them together, and anchor the unit securely to the wall at the top. If you want to revise the design, simply remove the screws and restack. “We treat these things like building blocks. We move them around,” he says.

Peterson’s knack for repurposing is expressed in assorted projects at the store and his home. For example, he repurposed golf woods as towel rods by hanging them horizontally in his bathroom at home.

For novice repurposers seeking ideas, Donovan suggests picking a specific item and thinking of 20 or so different ways to reuse it. One of those ideas just might be the inspiration you need to kick-start your project.

Assorted Upcycled Furniture Projects

Vintage radiator repurposed as desk. Photo:

  • A decades-old radiator provides a distinctive base for a desk with a sleek glass top. You can find this beautiful repurposed piece by Thatch Vintage on Etsy.
  • Wood reclaimed from demolished bowling alleys provides a durable surface with a hint of nostalgia. features a variety of pieces made with reclaimed bowling lane wood, including beautiful dining tables, benches, and coffee tables.
  • Juro Vyboh of Bratislava, Slovakia, is an artisan with a variety of repurposed furniture ideas. He incorporates wood, pieces from old furniture, and steel — including pieces of bicycle chain — into his upcycled designs sold in the JurajVyboh Etsy shop.
  • Streets signs provide bright fun for chairs and other furniture sold on Artful Home. Designer Boris Bally “transforms recycled street signs and found materials into objects for the home that celebrate a raw American street aesthetic,” the website states.

Chair built with old street signs. Photo: Artful Home

Display It Outside

Sara Getzkin, a professional organizer with Hands On Organizing Services in Los Angeles, likes the idea of repurposing parts of old furniture and other items in the garden. The frames of dining chairs, especially bentwood chairs, often work nicely as a trellis for vines and flowers. Tying two or more chairs back to back might make a nice focal point in a garden, Getzkin says.

Another opportunity for a trellis, she says, is a head rail or foot rail from a brass or wrought iron bed frame.

Repurposed chair. Photo:

For a quirky outdoor planter, add greenery to the tank and the bowl of an empty old toilet, Getzkin suggests. It’s definitely something that nabs attention, she says.

For instructions on repurposing a chair and other items for the garden, the website Upcycle That offers an assortment of tutorials.


Repurposing furniture by reassigning it for a fresh use is a budget-friendly and valuable tool for organizing, Getzkin says. Before dumping unwanted bookcases or cabinets, consider whether they’d be useful in another room. “As an organizer, I am always looking for more storage,” she says. “You never know when that old bookcase can organize things in the garage or laundry room.”

Feature image courtesy of

Editor’s note: Originally published on September 22, 2017, this article was updated in November 2019.

You Might Also Like…

30 Unbelievable Before & After Furniture Flip Ideas

Flipping furniture is when you buy on old piece of furniture from a flea market or garage sale for dirt cheap and transform into something new. It’s an awesome hobby to pass time and it can become a lucrative side hustle.
Turning furniture from flea markets into a modern creation is so much fun and it’s an awesome way to create cheap furniture.
You can do so many things with an outdated piece of furniture. The possibilities are endless, and listed below are some the best flea market flips you have to see!

Take a look at how this DIYer turned an old headboard into a bench

Found from Ruggy DIY

Painting this desk with metallic paint gave it a new look

Found from Hometalk

Look at how this thrift store dresser was flipped into a TV stand

Found from Two It Yourself

Bring a vintage enamel table back to life with this makeover tutorial

Full tutorial from House of Hawthornes

Create an ottoman out of an old coffee table

Found from Belle Vie

Here’s another great example of flipping a coffee table into a tufted ottoman

Found from Bean in Love

With a little bit of effort, you can give any old piece of furniture a new look

Found from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Painting this dresser with chalk paint gave it a fresh look

Found from U Create Crafts

I’m in love with this vintage 70’s style flea market flip

Found from Visual Heart

This farmhouse desk transformation is phenomenal!

Found from Prodigal Pieces

Adding stencils to this thrift store bookshelf makes it stand out

Found from Cutting Edge Stencils

This nightstand makeover is absolutely amazing!

Found from Thirty Eighth Street

A beautiful china cabinet can become the focal point of any room. A thrift store china cabinet makeover like this one will definitely catch your eye when you walk in the room.

Found from Confessions Of A Serial Do-It-Yourselfer

If you’re lucky enough to come across an antique hutch for $99, then you should definitely flip it like this!

Found from Confessions of A Serial Do-It-Yourselfer

Here’s another unbelievable hutch makeover. It’s gorgeous!

Found from It’s A Mom’s World

Can you believe this sofa table was purchased for $17 from a thrift store? I’m so impressed by this!

Found from Confessions of A Serial Do-It-Yourselfer

Flip a laminate oak bookshelf into a rustic modern creation with this furniture flip tutorial.

Found from Anika’s DIY Life

Try to recreate this amazing dresser makeover with your bedroom dresser

Found from Fynes Designs

You can never have too much storage space. Look at how this dresser was flipped into a side table with an area for storage!

Found from Ella Claire Inspired

Distressed furniture is trendy! Follow along with this tutorial to flip your old furniture and give it a new, distressed look!

Found from Salvaged Inspirations

There’s nothing worse than a cluttered home office. The spring accents on this $15 storage unit adds character to the entire room.

Found from Little House In The Big D

If you’re a coffee addict, then you are going to love this furniture flip idea! Look at how this $40 hutch was transformed into a coffee bar.

Found from DIY Beautify

Transforming an older dresser into a fully stocked wine bar is a furniture flip idea that I would love to have in my home!

Found from The Navage Patch

Like I mentioned earlier, furniture flipping can become a lucrative side hustle. This DIYer paid $11 for this dresser, flipped it by adding a few improvements, and sold it for $175!

Found from Sawdust 2 Stitches

I love how this DIYer added a splash of color to the barstools that she received for free.

Found from Down Redbud Drive

Buying new dining chairs can be expensive. Take a look at how this DIYer completely transformed these dining chairs.

Found from Bless’er House

This DIYer found a way to turn an old dresser into a bench with storage and a built in table!

Found from The Quirky Cottage

Got an old headboard? Follow this tutorial to turn it into a fully functional bench!

Found from My Repurposed Life

This bathroom china cabinet transformation is mind blowing!

Found from Painted by Kayla Payne

This rustic dresser makeover will make you want to try your hand at creating it!

Found from Liz Marie Blog

Aren’t these furniture flip ideas amazing?! I’ve never seen anything like the ideas that I’ve listed above. Which idea are you going to try?

I’ve mentioned before how I have lots of photos of my work on my computer. I had this grand plan that I was going to post all about each of them and then reality hit me and I realized that posting all of them just wasn’t gonna happen. So instead I decided I’d just share a few before and after photos for you guys. Lots of these were client projects and some were pieces that I purchased and then reworked and sold. I hope that you’ll find at least one painted furniture idea here that inspires you.

Be sure and leave me a comment letting me know which one is your favorite.

This media cabinet is done in ASCP Antibes Green.

This chest was done in Sherwin William Tricorn Black.

And here we have a chair done in latex paint I forget the color but it’s very similar to ASCP Provence.

This hutch is painted in ASCP Duck Egg.

I reworked this kitchen island to make the top a little smaller and I replaced the glass with chicken wire, then painted it with latex paint very similar to MMS Lucketts Green.

And here’s an adorable bow front dresser that I painted in MMS Kitchen Scale.

Here we have a coffee table that I painted in latex lime green and then chalkboard painted the top. It’s a great game table now!

These metal chairs were a challenge. I had to wire brush the entire surface and then I coated them with rust inhibitor and spray painted them with Rust-oleum in lime green.

I transformed this art deco style dresser with ASCP Louis Blue.

And this little baby turned out ADORABLE!!!! One of my faves… had to be completely reworked and then I painted it with MMS Mustard Seed Yellow.

Here’s a headboard done in ASCP Old White.

This bed is done in ASCP Old White with lots of distressing.

This vanity was done in ASCP Old White with turquoise hardware for a little added fun.

And heres a dresser that I did in latex paint. It’s a soft sea foam green.

This buffet was done in latex paint as well. It’s a soft yellow.

This chest of drawers doesn’t look like it but it was a monster! I mean giant and it had a matching dresser to boot. I painted them with ASCP in French Linen.

I paint lots of chairs. These were done in ASCP Provence.

This side table was painted with latex paint. It’s from Lowes and the color name is Front Door Red.

I custom mixed the paint for this side table. It was a mix of ASCP in Emperors Silk and Coco I think. 😉

This side table was a custom mixed yellow.

And here we have some more chairs. I painted them with latex paint in turquoise and also painted a little side table to match.

This table and bench were a fun redo because I still get to see them in my mother-in-loves house. I had to completely strip down and sand the table and then refinish it. The bench I painted with a custom mixed white and then the chairs with the same latex Front Door Red as above.

This little shelf was one of the first items I used Websters Chalk-like Paint Powder on. It painted in a soft white.

Thanks so much for reading along. I hope you enjoyed this look at several of my projects from last year.

Do you have furniture you’d like to have painted? Are you shopping for furniture and need help finding the perfect piece? Email me at [email protected] for pricing and details about custom work and my current inventory.

Enjoy this post? Don’t forget to subscribe to get all the latest info delivered directly to your inbox and please check out my Facebook page.

Thanks for reading and feel to comment below.


Painted furniture provided an updated look for our master bedroom makeover. Follow these simple steps we used to paint furniture.

Do you have furniture that is outdated but still in good condition? Then Part 2 of our master bedroom makeover series is for you! If you missed Part 1 you can get all the details and before & after pictures of our updated modern farmhouse bedroom here.

We bought our furniture over 20 years ago. It’s solid pine wood by Broyhill so it’s good quality furniture. It just wasn’t my style anymore. Although it was stained with an outdated orange color stain, it had simple classic lines that I love. We really didn’t want to spend the money on a new bedroom set. So, what’s a girl to do? I grabbed some paint and crossed my fingers! Follow along as I share the steps I took to paint our furniture.


I went back and forth between wanting to paint the furniture white or black. Since we painted our board and batten wall treatment white…I decided to paint the furniture black. The painting wasn’t a super-fast process because I used oil paint but the finished product was so worth the extra drying time it took!

Here is another picture before I refinished the furniture. As you can see the lovely orange finish….and lots of knots because of the pine wood.

Step 1 – Clean

Give all of the furniture pieces a good cleaning. Can you see the layer of dust on my dresser? I’m slightly embarrassed about that dust…no not really…I’m all about keeping it real! And my dusty furniture is real life. 😂 Just be sure your furniture is cleaned well in preparation for the next step.

Step 2 – Prime

Prime all the furniture using Zinnser cover stain. After doing some research I found that if I used this primer I could skip sanding all the furniture. I was able to shorten the process and skip that labor-intensive step. Whoo-hoo! I’m all about making it simple.

Using a foam roller & 2 inch angled brush I applied the primer. Adding the Penetrol to the primer will help eliminate brush marks. I applied two coats of primer and lightly sanded between each coat.

Here are some of the furniture pieces during this process of applying the primer.

Step 3 – Paint

Use an oil-based paint for great coverage. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of that paint can but I got it at my local Ace Hardware. It’s a basic oil-based paint in black that I purchased right off the shelf. When I explained what I was doing to the nice people at Ace, they recommended that paint. Remember though…oil paint is messy! Before this project, I had only ever worked with latex paint, but I wanted a durable finish without having to put a glossy sealer over the paint. I added the Penetrol to the black paint to limit brush marks and then applied my first coat.

Wait at least 12 hours before applying a second coat of the oil-based black paint on all the furniture pieces. I painted the tops and sides of the furniture with a roller. The frames and edges of the furniture were painted with an angled brush.

You can see using an oil-based paint gives your furniture a beautiful sheen without having to add another step using a sealer.

Step 4 – Refinish Hardware

After pricing new hardware for all the newly painted furniture pieces I decided to try painting the original wood knobs. Spray paint that was supposed to resemble metal was the perfect alternative to new hardware. Painting each knob with a coat of primer then spraying them with Rustoleum Hammered (linked at the end of the post).

The “metal” spray-painted wood knobs looked great against the black furniture. And it saved me some money! Win-win!

What a difference some paint can make in a room…don’t you think? If new furniture isn’t in your budget right now, consider painting it to get an updated look for your room makeover.

Resources used to paint furniture:

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. .

  • Rust-Oleum Hammered Silver Spray Paint
  • Zinnser Primer
  • Flood Penetrol
  • Black Oil Based Paint

Other posts in this series:

  • Master Bedroom Makeover | Before & After
  • Master Bedroom | Installing Board & Batten

Other room makeover projects you make like:

  • Teen Girl Bedroom Makeover Final Reveal
  • Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover
  • Budget Bathroom Makeover Final Reveal
  • Master Bathroom Makeover