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How to recycle more than just your furniture
April 25, 2018
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Top tips for recycling furniture

Each year 1.6 million tonnes of so-called bulky waste is thrown out, 42% of this is furniture. Annually we also throw away 4.6 million tonnes of wood, nearly 1.5 million tonnes of this is clean, solid, untreated wood, wood which could easily be re-used or turned into something new.  At the moment we are in the midst of an up-cycling revolution, finding a way to turn your old junk into new refurbished items. Below I have put some top tips for how to recycle furniture- with a bit of TLC you would be amazed how easy it is to transform a tatty bit of furniture into a new gem!


  1. Seek inspiration from others. Websites such as Pinterest, Etsy and blogs are wonderful sources of inspiration and will show you easy ways to recycle furniture.
  2. Chalk paints are great for painting over items with a dark stain or which are made of veneer. They don’t require any rubbing down and the items don’t need to be primed. Bailey Paints in Brimscombe sell a great variety of furniture paints (baileypaints.co.uk)
  3. Chairs look great upcycled and are fairly easy to do. If you don’t like the fabric on the seats they can often easily be re-upholstered just using a staple gun and new fabric.
  4. Scout carboot sales and second hand shops for great value second hand furniture. Locally the Stroud District Furniture Bank sell on donated furniture they cannot use for their project. They would be a great source of finding furniture to release your inner creative genius on! (strouddistrictfurniturebank.org.uk)
  5. You don’t need to always play it safe and just paint items. Try other techniques such as decoupage or stencilling.
  6. When painting try layering different colours. You can paint an under layer of a bright colour which can be exposed when rubbed back. Or try painting the insides of drawers a bright colour so when opened they provide a pop of colour.
  7. Upcycling isn’t always about furniture! You can re-use other unwanted household items. You can easily replace lampshade covers or make bunting out of old curtains and clothes.
  8. Go on a course. If you are nervous about starting a project without any experience many places will run courses to teach you general skills or work on more specific projects. Bailey Paints mentioned above run day courses in furniture painting and Heringbone sewing shop in Nailsworth run beginners sewing courses.
  9. If you still don’t think you are up to upcycling there are many places in the Stroud District where you can buy already upcycled furniture (you don’t need to tell anyone that you didn’t do it yourself!) The Stroud District Furniture Bank have just started upcycling items and The Malt House Emporium is also an Aladdin’s Cave of great items. The Stroud District Furniture is now turning old bed frames into tables and blanket boxes.
  10. Most of all just have fun! Don’t worry if you experiment and things go wrong. It’s all a learning curve.