Upcycling Realities

Posted by Katie Netherton on Friday, November 14th, 2014 at 11:42am.    3275 Views

The Pros and Cons of Upcycling Old Furniture

Whether it’s a shabby chic, rustic, or industrial look, upcycling furniture is the hottest new fad when it comes to interior decorating. This design approach adds a personal touch to any space and helps to set your interior apart from other more contemporary spaces. While upcycling furniture has many incentives and can look amazing, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons before you buy that old dresser off of Craigslist.


  • Money – When you take on a DIY project, it’s usually to save money. While upcycled furniture sold in a store may cost you a pretty penny, if you take it on yourself, this approach is often guaranteed to save some cash. Many times people purchase old, used furniture in need of TLC. Buying old and making it look like new is really the whole idea behind DIY upcycling. Plus, buying old and used often means, buying it for less than new furniture in a store.
  • Quality – Let’s be real, unless you’re paying an arm and a leg, that new dresser in the box store is made out of pressed board. This is one reason why many homeowners looking to fill their house are flocking to the old, oak dressers that need some paint and new handles; rather than the brand new, pressed board dressers that don’t need any work. We just don’t make furniture like we used to and the mass-produced products lining store shelves are not made to last as long as your grandmother’s Mahogany armoire.
  • Environment – Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’ve all heard this and upcycling old furniture falls into these ideals. Buying old reduces consumption of new materials and reusing beat up furniture, by giving it new life, helps you do your part to recycle what could have ended up in a landfill. Who knew environmental action could be so easy?
  • Personalization – For those who choose to take the DIY route on upcycling old furniture, this is your chance to add a personal touch. You get to choose the materials, colors, etc. and have full creative control over the outcome of your (like) new furniture. Plus, you get to have the sense of satisfaction only an upcycler can understand when you show people the entertainment center that was an old dresser in a past life (that you bought for 10 bucks at a yard sale, reworked, and painted).


  • Skills – While there are numerous tutorials and websites available to help walk anyone through upcycling, some people just don’t have the patience or the skills to see these projects through. It’s important to understand where you are skilled and where you are lacking, before committing to a large DIY project. Sanding down old furniture is hard work. Refinishing old chairs is extremely precise. And, upcycling just isn’t for everyone. The best advice is to start with watching tutorials that align with your DIY idea. Seeing all of the steps involved will let you know whether or not it’s best for you to purchase finished furniture.
  • Time – If you have a house warming party planned this weekend, it’s best to avoid getting involved in any DIY projects, especially a big project like upcycling that wardrobe. Many DIY’ers have fallen prey to underestimating the task at hand. This goes back to skills – if you don’t have the skills, then projects often take more time. The best approach is to take on these projects without a deadline and take your time. It’s better to take a month and get the job done right, rather than take a week and hate the outcome.
  • Costs – Before diving into refinishing that dresser, you may want to price out the oil paint and knobs you plan to use. There have been plenty of DIY’ers who take on an upcycling project to save money and later realize a brand new piece of furniture would have cost less. If you are thinking about starting an upcycling project to save a buck, be sure to factor in the cost of materials and your time. This will set your budget for what you want to spend on the piece of furniture you’re looking to update and incorporate into your overall design.

While upcycling has many perks, those who are new to this concept may want to start small. It’s best to play with what you have lying around and hone in on your skills before diving in. Once you do feel ready, the choices and options can be limitless. For more information on preparing to sell, please feel free to contact one of the experienced Loan Officers at Union Home Mortgage. 

Katie Netherton
Digital Marketing & Content Specialist

t:  440.973.8403
e:  knetherton@unionhomemortgage.com
w:  UnionHomeMortgage.com

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Strongsville, OH  44136


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