A beginner's guide to upcycling

A simple, effective way to update your furniture without breaking the budget.

Not everybody has the funds for renovations or can afford to throw out perfectly good furniture that has just lost its charm. Thankfully, CEO and founder of Jolie Home, Lisa Rickert has put her energy towards the growing trend of upcycling, making furniture and interior renovations widely accessible.

Experience and budgets needn't be a worry, as Lisa says that just by focusing attention to one piece in a communal room can immediately make a huge difference. "I would select the most important key pieces in the space, such as maybe a coffee table or a dining table," she explains. 

Here, Lisa shares her simple upcycling tips to improve your home.

Where to start

For your first project, Lisa recommends starting with a small key piece in your home to see the value most appreciated. As she says, "I would recommend going after a coffee table, or bedside tables that are used very frequently and that somebody can really get the sense of accomplishment that comes with the sustainability that comes with upcycling."

What to focus on

A few touch-ups could be just the freshen-up your kitchen needs. Lisa says that the first room to upcycle in your home will be your kitchen, but that doesn't mean ripping everything out. With just a few touch-ups of your existing materials could be the just the freshen up the kitchen needs. As Lisa explains, "It can be a very daunting process to have to change out your kitchen cabinetry, so upcycling your existing cabinets by painting or changing the hardware is a great way to jump in and do a hugely transformational project that will add a lot of equity to the home." 

Another target room is the bathroom, which is commonly expensive to renovate and can cause interruptions to your lifestyle. Lisa recommends staying true to the basic upcycling hack that works for almost any space. Painting worn flooring or outdated vanities is a budget and time-friendly way to immediately refresh your bathroom, and will work on various materials. "You may not have the labour to strip and sand and stain wood, so painting even with a wash finish can be a great alternative," Lisa reveals.

What to consider for outdoor and indoor

While upcycling is an accessible way to renovate for everyone, it still has rules. Upcycling indoor furniture has vast differences to upcycling outdoor furniture, largely due to the fact that anything outdoor will have to withstand weather.

As Lisa explains, "Most paints will just peel off of the surface because it does not allow the water underneath to escape. For that reason, many people choose wood pieces or stained top coats for outside which requires sanding and stripping, to ensure those products are penetrating the furniture properly."

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