Upcycling charity shop homewares into cute storage for my home office

If you want to kit out your home (or home office, like me!) with some gorgeous coordinating homewares but haven't got the budget to splash out on new items, why not head to your local charity shop to see what you can find? Here's how I upcycled my Barnardos haul into useful storage for my home offce...

If you want to kit out your home (or home office, like me!) with some gorgeous coordinating homewares but haven’t got the budget to splash out on new items, why not head to your local charity shop to see what you can find? Here’s how I upcycled my Barnardo’s haul into useful storage for my home office…

We’re less than two months into the new year and already my home office is a mess. So I’ve decided that THIS is going to be the year that I’ll get my workspace organised once and for all. Soon I’ll be installing a desk (one that’s big enough for all my activities!) but this month I’ve started small with some storage items, and guess what? They’re all upcycled!

Never one to allocate much of a budget to any room makeover, I naturally always head to the charity shop whenever I’m shopping for new decor items. I like to browse the store with an open mind, imagining how items could look if I were to revamp them with a coat of paint. That way, it doesn’t really matter what the items look like, as long as they perform the function you need, because you can make them coordinate by upcycling them yourself.

When I checked out the homewares shelves in my local Barnardo’s store, I was surprised by just how many items they had – and how low the prices were! You won’t believe how many things I picked up (I couldn’t carry them all to the checkout at once!) and this whole haul cost me less than £10! Here’s what I got:

  • Tin storage box (which I later found out is an Ikea bread bin or something similar)
  • A small jug
  • Star shaped light that had been tested as working
  • An acorn shaped storage pot and lid (originally from Sainsbury’s Home)
  • 3 small star-shaped dishes (originally from Dunelm)
  • A brand new wooden spice rack from Ikea

They were all things I knew I could use for storing items in my home office (apart from the lamp, but I ALWAYS need a star shaped light, right?!) so it didn’t matter to me that the box was scratched, the jug was crazed and the lid of the acorn was slightly faded. I was planning to spray-paint them all anyway, so I happily skipped home with them.

jug, acorn pot and star lamp before upcycling


I began the upcycling process by giving everything a good wash. And, in fact, that was all I needed to do for some of the items! The star pots were ready to go, so I filled them with my paperclips, washi tape and bulldog clips and popped them onto my desk.


While I was washing the tin storage box, I discovered that what I thought were scratches was only dust, and it came up pretty clean. This saved me the step of spray-painting the box so I moved straight onto adding some gold vinyl stars.

I have a cutting machine, so I scanned in an off-cut of gold vinyl I had lying around following my bathroom cabinet upcycling project and I programmed the cutter with the built-in star pattern. I then peeled off the gold stars (you could just used ready-made stickers and save time!) and stuck them to the box. It now matches my office wallpaper perfectly!


I decided to use the small just as a pot to hold my pens. Other than cleaning it out, all it needed was a coat of spray paint to freshen it up. I used a turquoise paint that I had leftover from when I spray-painted my kitchen cupboards. It didn’t need a primer and it took no time at all for the paint to dry outside on a sunny day.

spray painting a small jug with turquoise paint


This project probably took the most time to do because I had to assemble it! I didn’t even make any changes to the colour or design because it matches the pale wood of my desk perfectly, so all I had to do was read the instructions and screw it all together. I’ll get my drill out another day to attach it to the wall, but I’m planning to use it as a shelf (not for spices!) to display inspirational art prints and my favourite nik-naks.

assembling ikea spice rack with instructions


After double-checking that the light worked with a bulb (it had been tested by the charity shop but who know how my carefree carrying might have affected it while I brought it home?!) I set about upcycling it. I didn’t want the happy face on the star – it was faded and a little too scary for my liking – so I used a metallic gold spray paint to cover the design.

spray painting a silver star lamp with gold spray paint

I used masking tape to cover the lead and it took quite a few coats of paint to completely cover the face. I hooked it up on the wall of my office and it’s almost exactly the same size and shape (and now the same colour!) of the star pattern, so it looks like it’s meant to be there.


My final upcycle was the acorn pot. The base was in perfect condition so I removed the price sticker and filled it with my ribbon and string collection. The top was slightly sun-faded on one side and (probably after I’d lugged it home) a chip had appeared. I used a brilliant gold spray paint to cover the chip and refresh the whole lid. Within minutes it was dry and ready to bring into my office to complete the makeover.

So what do you think of my upcycled office storage collection? Do you think you could have a go at upcycling some things from your local charity shop too? Visit your local Barnardos store and see what you can find – you’ll be sure to save money and might even find brand new things that don’t need any upcycling – bonus! Let me know how you get on 🙂

Upcycled charity shop haul including storage box, jug, acorn pot and three star shaped dishes


How to upcycle charity shop items to make cute home office storage

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

2 Responses

  1. I really need to start visiting my local charity shops more! Excellent finds and great upcycling projects. Adds a nice bit of personality to your office. Awesome!

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