paintbrush varnishing wooden furniture

How to upcycle furniture

We're huge fans of upcycling, here at Zhoosh Paints.

It’s really natural to grow out of a piece of furniture, or find that it no longer suits a new style you have chosen for a room - but that doesn’t mean you have to immediately get rid of it. That's where upcycling comes in.

Giving furniture a new lease of life – giving it a #ZhooshUp, if you will! – is an alternative that is not just good for the environment, but can be a really enjoyable, mindful way to spend time. It also has really satisfying results at the end!

It might feel daunting at first, but if you take it step by step it can be quite simple.

1. Get inspired

If you're not sure what to do with your furniture, there's plenty of places to start. Just head to Instagram, Pinterest or home magazines for inspiration.

We love this great upcycle by interior stylist Maxine Brady, who recently reinvigorated some old bedside drawers with our Love Heart paint. She even loved the colour so much, she painted the mirror above to match!


2. Choose your paint

Painting furniture isn't the same as painting a wall. Even a basic item may include several different materials, from wood and metal to fabric.

Your first step will be to decide which parts of the furniture you want to decorate, and choose a paint that works for that material.

This choice is easier if you're using Zhoosh paint, as our eco-friendly paint is suitable for both walls & ceilings and woodwork & metal. You could paint the whole room the same colour if you wanted!

As with any decorating, it's also important to test out your colour beforehand, as the paint will look different once dried. Use one of our Real Paint Patches to sample your favourite options. Because they're coated with actual paint, they're an accurate reflection of what the paint will look like when you're done.

3. Prep your woodwork

If you have an old piece of wooden furniture, you need to prep the item first.

This would involve removing any drawers and legs and then cleaning thoroughly.

If the existing surface is uneven, you might want to remove the paint or varnish with a paint stripper - this will bring it back to the original wood grain. Then you need to sand the surface in the direction of the wooden grain, which will completely remove any old bits of paint or varnish.

You can paint over an existing painted surface if you choose - if the item is covered in a chalk paint this can act as a primer - but the full removal approach will get you the best results, if you have the time.

4. Paint!

Finally, it’s just a case of painting in your chosen colour!

Ensure you choose the right paint for your surface. Follow the direction of the grain and avoid getting too much paint on your brush, as this could result in blobs of paint. Instead go for two thinner coats of paint, letting the first coat dry thoroughly before applying your second coat. Use a fine synthetic sanding pad between coats to smooth if necessary. Wipe the dust away with a tack cloth if you do this.

Make sure you cover all carpets and surfaces thoroughly before painting, take your time and enjoy it! You may just surprise yourself with the results.