5 Amazing upcycles by inspirational interior Instagrammers

If you're tackling a home revamp this year, why not consider shopping secondhand for your furniture? It's certainly a great way to save money and lets you put your own stamp on your interior by creating something completely unique to you. Take inspiration from these talented interior Instagrammers and their 5 amazing upcycles...

Egg Chair Upholstery

Textile artist Elle from Bamaluz Home loves giving new life to second-hand and vintage pieces. ‘I imagine all the families which would have loved them before us,’ says Elle. ‘I also feel very passionate about reducing and reusing what may be someone else’s ‘junk’. I shop mostly in charity shops and it’s the shape of décor pieces that catch my eye. The colour doesn’t matter as I know I can easily repaint it.’

The project she is most proud of is crafting a removable cover for her original Arne Jacobsen egg chair. It had been professionally reupholstered about 5 years before in the exact same orange fabric that it was originally upholstered in back in the 60’s. ‘I was quite sentimental in keeping it looking exactly the same and true to it’s era. But currently my interior tastes are quite neutral so bright orange did stand out a lot! We also have a cat and a 4 year old so I wanted a removable cover made for it to protect it and to give us a little break from the orange.’

After contacting around 10 upholsterers to create a removable cover – all of whom turned down the project, saying it wouldn’t work due to the shape of the chair – Elle decided to give it a go herself. ‘I bought some stretchy fabric and copied the pattern of the original cover. It turned out perfect and I was so proud of myself, especially as I had never upholstered anything before!’

It just goes to show that trying out something, even if you don’t know whether it will work, is worth doing as you just might be able to achieve the effect you are after – and for a fraction of the cost of buying new or paying a professional.

Plaster bookshelf

When Elle bought a 1960s/70s corner unit from 70’s from Facebook marketplace for just £25, it was in desperate need of a revamp. ‘I would have loved to have renovated it to look exactly the same as in its hay day but, unfortunately it was veneer and far too damaged with many sections missing. Not even painting it would hide the damage on it,’ says Elle.

‘So I had a think of how I could hide all those missing bits and achieve something totally unique. I’d recently been quite drawn to plaster furniture and loved that look, but some large pieces like coffee tables were on the market for thousands of pounds.’ Nonetheless, Elle did some research and came up with a way to create the effect for herself.

‘I knew simple wall filler had been used to achieve this textured look on wall canvases, but that wouldn’t be strong enough for furniture. So after lots of research, I figured out that car filler would be perfect as it’s rock hard! I managed to hide all the damage, build up the missing sections and create a lovely texture which made the corner unit look like a bespoke piece of plaster art furniture. The whole thing ended up costing about £70 but I know no one will have anything like it!’

Check out the home tour of Elle’s mid-century urban jungle on my blog here:

Art deco sideboard and lamp

When Karen from the interior Instagram account @Homing_In_Progress inherited some pieces, she was keen to incorporate them into her mid-century home. ‘We were gifted some items from my husband’s grandmother’s house including the art deco sideboard, a bar cabinet and a lamp standard, each of which I have upcycled and in some cases, more than once! I like the originality of the upcycled pieces and that they are bespoke to our home.’

The vintage sideboard has been revamped not once, but twice. Karen initially painted it in a rich teal shade (Goblin by Little Green Paints). After a change to the interior decor, she decided it would need another refresh in a pastel hue. ‘I loved it but after painting the walls green, it didn’t work so well and now it’s Sulking Room Pink by Farrow and Ball.’ 

Isn’t it amazing what you can do with a small pot of paint and a little time? If it allows you to breathe new life into an other piece that you otherwise wouldn’t use, it’s a great ideal to get to work with a paint brush and add some new handles to make it fit into your decor. ‘I love the art deco detailing,’ says Karen. ‘I left the carvings in their natural wood patina when I was painting the rest of the unit.’ 

Noticeboard coffee table

This unique project was created by Darran from OldVictorianNew during the extensive renovation of his Victorian split-level home in 2019. He picked up an old noticeboard and completely transformed it using bright colours and a bold pattern.

‘I love mixing old and new interior styles,’ says Darran. ‘I have tried to bring antiques into the design and compliment them with more contemporary colours. I love pieces that have a back story, that have been salvaged or rescued from a skip and given a new lease of life. Don’t be afraid to bring in items that mean something to you and adapt them to fit your décor.’

The result is a striking coffee table that is ideally customised to suit Darran’s interior style. Upcycling is both a money-saving solution AND a way to add personality. ‘I think this always adds interest to a home and makes it unique to you. I love a bargain and I spend lots of time on second-hand websites and visiting salvage yards and markets and I just buy whatever catches my eye.’

Check out the home tour of Darran’s home on my blog here:

I hope these upcycling projects have inspired you to shop secondhand when sourcing furniture in the future. Let me know what furniture revamps you’ve tackled yourself in the comments below and I’d love to see your ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos so please tag me in your pics on Instagram @Cassiefairy.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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