Everyone wants to have the perfect home with beautiful furniture and accessories. Unfortunately, it can cost thousands of pounds to get the looks you see on Instagram and Pinterest! I currently live in a rented house and have bought a few bits and pieces to try to make it feel more to my style. I’ve managed to do this on a budget by buying things second hand and upcycling them!
One of my favourite pieces of furniture is my shoe cupboard. I found it on eBay and was prepared for a bidding war to get my hands on it. To my pleasant surprise, I managed to snap it up with a winning bid of just £14! It’s a really solid piece made from walnut – none of this flimsy flat pack stuff that breaks when you’re putting it together! I use it to store lots of my shoes in and it is also a great focal point in my bedroom. It helps that it now looks very different from when I first bought it and that’s down to a bit of DIY upcycling.
After a bit of online research (and a few YouTube tutorials) I decided to have a go at upcycling it in a grey shabby chic style. I made my own chalk paint using emulsion paint and plaster of Paris; this was much cheaper than buying the ready-made stuff which is about £20 a tin. I opted for chalk paint as it can go straight onto the furniture without having to sand or prime it first. This saved both time and money. I also picked up a cheap roll of wallpaper, a pack of sandpaper, some paintbrushes and a tin furniture finishing wax. The total cost of materials was about £18.
I started by painting on three coats of the chalk paint, having to wait a day in between each coat to ensure it was dry. Once the painting was done I sanded around the corners and edges to create a worn and old look to create the shabby chic effect I was after. This was a bit daunting as I didn’t want to ruin all the hard work of painting, there was no easy way around it though, I just had to go for it. To finish it off I waxing the cupboard and lined the inside with the wallpaper using a flour and water paper mache solution.
When I finished the cupboard I had quite a few materials leftover so I decided to have a go at upcycling an old mirror. It was a similar size to the cupboard and I thought would look great above the cupboard. I used a slightly different technique called dry brushing to mimic the wood grain in the cupboard, once it was done it blended really well with the finish on the cupboard and looked brilliant hung above it.
Working on the project got me in a really creative mood. I decided to have a go at making a few accessories to go on the cupboard using bits and pieces I had lying around the house. I had a Douwe Egberts jar, an old plastic picture frame and a little wooden heart. I used some of the leftover wallpaper and a few pages from an old book as decoupage paper to decorate the items I had. I also made some mini paper bunting using a combination of book pages and wallpaper and glued the pieces to a piece of ribbon. I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it all came together and finished off the cupboard and mirror.
I now have an amazing piece of furniture that is both unique and stylish that should last for years to come. What’s better is that it cost just £32! It was well worth the effort I put into upcycling it and I would encourage everyone to give it a go. There are lots of quality pieces of furniture available in charity shops, online and at car boot sales that, with a bit of imagination and some cheap materials, can be transformed into one off pieces to suit your home and personal style.