There’s nothing quite like resurrecting something – particularly when its new form is far more useful or attractive than it was before.

This is one of the many reasons upscaling old furniture has become so popular. But it’s also immense fun.

So, without further ado, here are ten brilliant tips for modernising or updating old furniture.


  1. Choose wisely

Clearly, you need to start this journey by choosing a piece of furniture that will be relatively easy to refurbish.

It’s also important to think about how you’ll use the furniture and exactly what you’ll need from it once you’re finished. Equally, if you’re planning on selling the upscaled furniture, do some market research to see what your potential customers want. Try garage or boot sales, Facebook marketplace, and charity shops. There’s also eBay, Schpock, Gumtree, and Freecycle.


  1. Preparation is key

Once you have your furniture, it’s tempting to get straight into the fun stuff, but preparation is vital if you’re to save yourself serious headaches further down the line.

Get your inspiration on Pinterest or Etsy, decide what you’re going to do. Decide how you’re going to repair any broken parts and make sure you have everything you need, as well as the instructions for your sanding/priming/glue/paint items.

Start by giving the furniture a good clean, getting your materials ready and planning out the order of what you’ll be doing. That’ll make the project a success.


  1. Grab some old socks

This might sound a bit odd, but old socks are excellent tools during a spot of furniture upscaling.

They’re perfect for applying wax and some types of paint to furniture. But the beauty of the humble sock is that you can use it without worrying about cleaning, because you’ll almost certainly throw it away once finished.


  1. Buy high quality paint

Unless you’re really going for that shabby-chic look, paint will play a vital role in your furniture upscaling.

For the best possible result, always buy good quality paints. You’ll spend more money, but the finish will be so much better and you’ll spend less time reapplying coats. Remember your primer and/or undercoat too, as this will make your colour last longer.


  1. Try stencils

If you’re on a budget, a great way to maximise your spend while improving the look of your old furniture is to use stencils.

These are cheap but provide a really professional look and feel once you’re done. You can create all sorts of different looks from different eras. Use them creatively, and they’ll offer a brilliantly unique finish, too.


  1. If in doubt – re-upholster

This isn’t the cheapest option, but it remains one of the most effective if you’re rejuvenating something like an old set of chairs.

By simply re-upholstering them, you can literally turn an old chair into a new chair. If they’re just for you try maximising your budget by using fabric you already have to hand, such as old sheets and curtains. If they’re to sell on, go for a commonly liked material you can buy more cheaply, for example at a wholesalers.


  1. Think about the small things

Like everything in life – it’s often the smallest stuff that makes the biggest difference.

When upscaling furniture, look for the knobs, handles and other small design elements that can be changed quickly, efficiently and, most importantly – cheaply. You’d be amazed by the effect those small changes will have on an old piece of furniture. These are where you can invest a little more to make your upcycled furniture more of a quality piece.


  1. Use wallpaper (not on the walls)

You’ve probably never considered placing wallpaper on furniture, but it’s a great way to achieve a unique effect when upscaling.

More importantly, it won’t cost the earth and there are literally thousands of options when it comes to colours and patterns. Who said wallpaper can only be hung on walls?


  1. Be brave – seek different use cases

If you fancy doing something really unusual and creating a completely unique piece of furniture, you can do a lot worse than reimagining the use case.

For instance, turning a ladder into a bookcase or a saddle into a stool will create a real statement piece and something no one else has in their home. It’ll make for great table talk too.


  1. Make use of those old drawers

It’s easy to overlook the low-hanging fruit when it comes to furniture upscaling. For example, have you thought about re-using those old drawers or dressers in the garage?

By simply sanding them down and using chalk paint to give them a new look, a bit of effort and a fun few afternoons or evenings could bring an old piece of furniture back to life with a bang.

We hope our tips above have convinced you to give upscaling a go. It really will breathe new life into your old furniture. And remember, if you need somewhere to store the bigger items, Squab can help!