Going green and upcycling

Posted by admin on 27th October 2014

Lifestyle blogger Lianne from Ruby Ruby Slippers has got inspired by our Greener 52 Ways goal on upcycling. Check out her blogpost, and top tips on how to upcycle!

The environment is very important to me and even though I don't work or study biology anymore, I still love nature and learning more about it. I appreciate the natural world, understand how delicate the balance is and how easily things can be turned on their head. Humans have a big impact on the environment, so we have a big responsibility to ensure that anything we do is sustainable, to preserve things as they are and keep them for future generations. I am very big on recycling, buy tuna caught with pole and line and always make sure lights are turned off to try not and waste electricity. They are only little things, but every little really does help.

The Scottish Government's Greener Together campaign is all about the small changes that everyone can make to their lives, that will make Scotland a cleaner, greener place for us all and the future. They have introduced 52 ways to go greener, with ideas ranging from starting a compost heap, to only buying the food you need and walking or cycling to work, rather than using the car. Have a look at their website and blog - there are a tonne of ideas and lots of them are small and will be easy to fit into your day.

One of the goals is all about giving old furniture a makeover, or upcycling. I thought this goal was really interesting, as I have often wanted to start a little home project where I can pimp something up. As we have only moved into our new flat a few months ago, we are still slowly adding furniture and most of it is brand new IKEA, with little need for a makeover. So, I thought I would buy something we need in the flat instead and do it up, make it unique and pretty and have fun doing it too.

With that in mind, Robin and I went to a big warehouse called Drum Farm outside of Edinburgh at Shieldhall, this past weekend, to find some lovely piece of furniture. There was so much to choose from and we came away with a lovely nest of tables.

In the meantime, as giving old furniture a makeover is the Greener Together goal for this week, I thought I would share some tips and inspirations I've been gathering and researching. There is so much you can do to reinvent old furniture, it's all very exciting and gives older pieces a new lease of live. Just have a look at some of the amazing projects clever folk have been working on, in the photos on this post!

So many good ideas! I want to try them all!

Here's my tips for transforming old pieces of furniture:

  • A simple lick of paint can completely transform a piece of furniture and make it a lot more modern or vintage inspired. You can even paint it, to look like something suitcases!
  • Change the handles on a dresser, or set of drawers. You can buy unusual handles from Anthropologie or Oliver Bonas for quite cheap.
  • Add legs to little bookcases or little cabinets that started off having wheels.
  • Stencils can add detail to plain furniture. It can be anything from flowers, to animals to patterns.
  • Fancy wallpaper or giftwrap can be used to cover shelves or decorate the inside or outside of drawers and give a pop of colour.
  • Use lace to add delicate, intricate patterns to furniture.
  • Decoupage sheet music, pages of old books or vintage magazines onto furniture. Or even maps, postcards or photographs - make it personal.
  • Reupholster a chair cushion to a fabric you like better.Remade in Edinburgh teaches sewing and material skills using sewing machines, as does Materialise, so why not pop down and have a go at something new and creative.

There are so many things you can do to reinvigorate old pieces of furniture, it really is amazing. There are so many inspiring posts on Pinterest and craft websites, giving ideas and how to's. I have been gathering so many interesting concepts for doing up my table and I am really excited now to get started. Why buy new when you can be crafty and redo what you already have (or in my case, buy something specifically to do up!).

Have you ever given a piece of furniture a makeover or has my post inspired you?