Revamp, Reuse, Recycle: How To Upcycle Old Bedroom Furniture
We’re all familiar with the quote ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ - a common phrase that teaches us that the value of something can vary massively from person to person. Just because someone may view something as worthless, it doesn't necessarily make it so. This sentiment, as well as others such as ‘waste not, want not’, are at the very core of upcycling - taking something old and making it new again. Not only is it a fantastic creative outlet, but upcycling can save you a pretty penny too - perfect for those on a budget. The environmental impacts are great too, as it saves that piece of furniture from going into landfill.
So, looking for some inspiration on how to upcycle old bedroom furniture? Whatever the item in question and whatever your motivation, we’ve got the solution for you! Showcasing everything from small to large projects, we’ve lined up some of the best ideas on how to breathe new life into those old boudoir essentials. Tool boxes at the ready - it’s about to get creative!
Chests of drawers are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture when it comes to upcycling. DIY gurus from all across the online world have pages upon pages dedicated to the different projects involving transforming them (sometimes into things you’d never imagine!). We’ve chosen projects that, we think, are the best of the best, ranging from the super easy to the slightly more challenging. Check out these upcycled chest of drawers ideas below!
A new coat of paint is arguably the easiest way to upcycle a chest of drawers. If made from solid wood, you’ll most likely need to sand it down first, but if it’s vinyl-covered chipboard, you should be able to simply prime it before starting with the paint. Grab your brushes and paint roller and get painting - whether you’re going bright or understated, this is the perfect, easy project to do over a weekend to spruce up your bedroom.
Is painting your chest of drawers not quite enough to give it that personalised touch you really want? Why not decorate the top with some two-part resin? Epoxy resin is a type of plastic which hardens when you mix the two parts together and can be used to create a strong, durable surface.
To create a beautifully decorated chest of drawers, collect enough stamps, stickers, coins, comic book pages or anything else flat to cover the entire surface. Lay everything out and play around with it to make sure you like the design - you can’t change it later! Once you’ve settled on a design, clean and prepare the top of your chest of drawers - you’ll want to make sure that it’s completely free of dust and debris.
Next, mix together a small amount of the resin and paint a thin layer on the top of the drawers to use as a glue to secure your decorative pieces in place. If your resin is fast curing, you’ll need to work very quickly or mix up multiple mini-batches to cover the whole thing. When that step is done, paint another thin layer over the top, making sure to get rid of any bubbles with a lighter gently swiped over the surface. When that layer is cured, you can build up more layers until you’re satisfied with the thickness. The best part? If you’re finding the resin is a bit uneven, you can sand it back down and pour another layer on top to even it out. Allow to cure fully for a couple of days and you’re ready to reinstall your bureau in your bedroom!
Take up a challenge
For more of a challenge as the days lengthen into summer, why not turn that old chest of drawers into a mini bar? It’s the perfect addition to your patio during the summer and makes a charming feature in your living room. Lindsay from Hometalk did just that with a chest of drawers she found by the side of the road and it looks incredible!
First things first, take out all of the drawers of your bureau and put them aside (there’s a project for them coming up later in this blog post). Next, sand down the rest of the unit, this gives your paint a great base to stick to and will help to get rid of any uneven surfaces.
Once your unit is prepped, it’s time to make the shelves and glass rack. To do this, measure the inside space of the chest of drawers and cut a sheet of wood to size to create the shelves. Your bureau should already have some runners where the drawers used to go, so you don’t need to worry about installing any shelving brackets. Beneath the shelves, you can install a store-bought under shelf wine glass holder or you can create your own. For the latter, follow the handy tutorial below, attaching the glass holders to the underside of the shelves you just created.
Now all that’s done, you can get on with painting and decorating! To keep your new creation safe from the inevitable spills and splashes of wines and spirits, cover the whole unit in a healthy coating of varnish. You might need a couple of coats, but when it’s dry, you’re ready to fill with glasses and bottles of your choice.
Top tip: add castor wheels to the base to make it portable so you can use it throughout the year.
No lions in these wardrobes
Of course, chests of drawers aren’t the only pieces of furniture in your bedroom and, thankfully, there are tonnes of ways to upcycle all kinds of items other than just the drawers. Breathe some new life into a wardrobe, revive a nightstand, and use those drawers you put aside earlier. All of these projects can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like!
Upcycling a wardrobe can be as big or small of a task as you need it to be. Turn it into a crafting nook by attaching a fold-down table to the inside, a pantry, or even a self-contained laundry station. The pantry is the easiest upcycling project to take on. All you need is to sand and repaint your wardrobe (if you wish) and install plenty of shelves to store your food on. The best part is that you can customise the height of the shelves, allowing you to organise even the oddest shaped boxes and tubs.
A super easy upcycling project to do with an old wardrobe is to revamp it using furniture paint and self-adhesive vinyl. Also known as sticky-back plastic, these vinyl stickers come in long rolls which you can cut to size. They can be applied to all kinds of surfaces as either a temporary or permanent solution and alternative to paint. This video tutorial by Create Your World uses both self-adhesive vinyl and some brightly-coloured paint to upcycle an old wardrobe and it looks great!
‘Bedside’ ourselves with joy
Bedside tables, also known as nightstands, are often a last thought when it comes to redecorating a bedroom. They’re a small item of furniture that often gets shoved to the back of the garage when you’re done with them or dropped off at the charity shop at the first sign of wear. But why do that when they can be turned into all kinds of fun things for your kids? We’ve already shared how to turn a nightstand into a play kitchen in a previous blog post about upcycling, but we’ve got another fun way to help your kids play: a workbench!
To prepare this project, you’ll need to sand down and paint the nightstand in the colour you want - black is a good option or red makes it brighter and more appealing for kids. Attach the pegboard to the back of the table, making sure it protrudes from the top to look like a real work bench. Next, all you need to do is hang the toy tools from the peg board or fill the drawer with them (if there is one). Finally, allow your little one to play to their heart’s content! Nightstands are the perfect height for kids to use and play with, and it’ll keep any curious fingers out of your real tool box - it’s a win-win!
Top tip: if the pegboard is wider than the stand, no problem! Simply attach a piece of wood to the top of the table to make it wider and more workbench-like, and the peg board will blend in seamlessly.
Drawing to the end
You didn’t think we’d forgotten about those old drawers did you? Now is the time to break them back out because we’re going to use them to create a fun set of planters.
You know what they say, plants are the new pets! If you love your plants as much as we do, turn those drawers you saved into a set of stylish planters. Salvage some furniture legs (or buy some new ones) and attach them to the underside of your drawers using nails or screws. When you’re done, paint it with some waterproof outdoor paint. Doing so will make sure the paint doesn’t run or peel after a few showers in unpredictable weather.
Next, line the inside of the drawer with some waterproof weed barrier lining to protect the wood from the water and damp. Finally, fill your new planters with soil and you’re ready to introduce your plants and flowers. Place them in your lounge, porch or garden for a lovely upcycled feature to your space.
Not into flowers? No problem. Give the kids somewhere to play by filling your drawer tables with sand instead and turn it into a mini sand pit! Sensory play can help to develop your little one’s early learning skills and is a sure-fire way to keep them entertained and occupied for hours on end. Swap between sand play and water play to keep things exciting!
Making good furniture better
We hope you’ve found all kinds of inspiration for your old furniture in this blog post. If you’re looking for even more creative inspiration, why not check out a few more of our blogs all about upcycling and repurposing old things? We’ve already introduced you to our unmissable beginner upcycling projects, but we’ve also put together a list of unique ways to use a chest of drawers and even thought of some nifty space-saving hacks for small homes. What’s more, we’ve also created a handy selection of chest of drawers guides for the not-so-thrifty among you.
No matter what you decide to revamp, reuse, or recycle, upcycling old furniture is one of the best ways to save money while also doing your bit for the planet. These handmade items also make fantastic gifts, so no matter whether Christmas, a birthday or an anniversary is coming up, why not treat someone special to something you made yourself? The upcycling possibilities are endless!