Interior Design with Upcycling at its Heart

Scrolling through glossy home magazines can evoke dreams of transforming your own castle into an equally welcoming and alluring showroom. Unfortunately, they frequently feel a little out of reach and altogether unlikely. However, with a dream in your heart and a little imagination in your head, it’s amazing what can be achieved with what you already have with occasional help from the flourishing secondhand market.

Let’s start with your lounge. There are two things which are not so easy to change without cost and upheaval: the walls and the floor. Walls can be disguised with pictures, and large or hanging plants. The floor can be smartened up with a rug or two – all available on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree etc. Even the plants!

Almost everything in this picture was not ‘new’, floor and curtains being the exception. It was all collected, upcycled and revamped and did not cost the earth. Charity shops, online secondhand sellers, your local recycling center, and [for now is the season] car boot sales are perfect places to pick up extremely good quality curtains for a song. If they are not to your colour, you can dye them. Bit messy and you must read the instructions, but it works and dye is cheaper than new!

The same corner but with different upcycled furniture and pre-loved accessories. A little vision and know-how plus a reasonable amount of time set aside, and your home can feel new without the tension and worry of raiding the savings.

‘New’ secondhand settees are always on sale but you will need to factor in transportation plus ensure they are fire retardant. Failing that, a throw (casually draped over, not tucked in with hospital corners) and some cushions really can smarten up your furniture.

A Country Modern look is not all chintzy florals and farmhouse pine shabby chic (I really do not like that phrase). It can be refined yet comfortable, easy to live with. The emphasis is simplicity with natural finishes such as wood, cottons and linens, burnished metals and rustic weaves.

Soften the edges with greenery. Plants freshen the room and the surrounding air. And as I always say, make room for your favourite trinkets, your treasured nik-naks. They will make your showhome your home. Finally, lighting. Ceiling lights are for practical, utility use only as they are, in the main, bright and harsh. Small lamps add a warm glow rather than a stark enlightenment. These can be picked up for a couple of quid secondhand but do ensure the wiring is intact.

Introduce Cottagecore into your bedroom décor. It is the celebration of an idealised rural life. It values traditional and crafting skills with an emphasis on the wholesome purity of the outdoors. It values simplicity and the soft peacefulness of the pastoral life as an escape from the dangers of the modern world. And why wouldn’t you want that in your bedroom?!

Similar to the country look, think blousy blooms sunny yellows and greens with gingham checks and floral fabrics. Pick up a paintbrush and give your existing furniture a makeover. Even IKEA or old fashioned dark furniture can be upcycled and looks great once you’ve injected a little of your personality into it. It looks great AND NEW. New to you.

Your bed and bedding may need to stay put but once again, a throw or a foot-of-the-bed runner will change the look of your bed and with a couple of cushions, who wouldn’t want to jump in?

Do you need some storage? Go to the recycling center charity shop and most days there are chests of drawers crying out for an upcycle. Try Facebook Marketplace or the other online shops. You do not need to pay much.

If you are a little hesitant in upcycling your own furniture, attend a furniture upcycling workshop such as those run here at Upcycle Arcade. Or have your existing (or newly acquired) furniture custom painted by me. Get in touch if you would like to discuss further.

Upcycling doesn’t mean painting everything though. Clean up and refresh your wooden furniture entirely or part refresh / part paint to make it feel worthy of your room.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can give your home a spring makeover whilst being very kind to your pocket and on the planet simultaneously.

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