I have to admit, when it comes to the house, I am one of those people that craves change. I am constantly arranging and rearranging furniture – I mean, I swap out artwork like it’s my job…and it kind of is. Hehe. BUT while I love the feeling of a freshly decorated space, I don’t (always) love running out and buying brand new stuff every five seconds…pretty sure my bank account doesn’t love that either. So, I started brainstorming budget-friendly furniture hacks that would upcycle furniture for free or very little money. And am sharing all the ideas I came up with today.
There’s really so much you can do with what you already have, to give your furniture (and in turn an entire room) a little facelift. Here are 8 ways to upcycle your furniture on a super tight budget.
Furniture Audit: 3 Questions to Ask Before Getting Started
Before we get started, one quick note. Prior to starting a project like this, I do a quick furniture audit. I’ll ask myself these three questions…
1. Do I love the overall lines of the piece? If not, can I easily change the lines by adding or removing something?
2. Does it still serve a purpose in the new space? If not, can I reconfigure it to serve a new purpose?
3. Is it a project I can complete myself for drastically less than I would spend on a new piece?
Budget-Friendly Furniture Hacks
1. Paint an existing piece.
This is probably the first one that everyone thinks of, right? And that’s because it’s one of the most accessible ways to revamp your furniture without a lot of experience. Most solid wood furniture can be sanded and painted as-is without much hassle. Metal, lacquer, and other coated materials usually require an extra step or two to make sure the paint sticks – but are still pretty easy to tackle.
I go this route whenever I can… remember a while back, I did a mid-century entryway furniture makeover with paint (and new hardware). But another option you may have not considered before is painting your upholstery. Sugar & Cloth has a fun tutorial to show you how. So don’t go throwing out that stained arm chair just yet. (Image via Sugar & Cloth)
2. Strip or re-stain and existing piece.
If the only thing bothering you about your worn-in wood furniture piece is the yellowing or fading stain, try stripping the wood or re-staining. Granted, this DIY furniture upgrade will take a little more time and elbow grease, BUT you can often still come out on top and save.
Check out this article from Apartment Therapy to learn how to re-stain your wood furniture. (Image is from my dining room makeover)
3. Change out the hardware.
Again, a super easy fix. You can buy new hardware (from places like Park Studio, Anthropologie, CB2, Ikea, etc) or make your own like this DIY leather pull project I did a little while back.
Use the existing holes, or for a true revamp, add wood putty over the original holes and start from scratch. Simple and affordable. Not a bad way to upcycle your furniture, right? (Image via Ikea)
4. Swap out the textile.
Speaking of leather… If you have some old chairs that could use a reboot, swapping out fabric for leather can make a huge difference.
Wouldn’t hurt to use the home of Douglas and Bec as inspiration for leather-wrapped chairs. And for a DIY version, check out Kristin Murphy’s DIY leather chair idea. (Image via Sight Unseen)
5. Add new legs.
I love this budget-friendly furniture hack because it can drastically change the look of a piece, but is actually (usually) super easy to do. The best part about this upgrade though is that there are so many companies now that sell pre-cut legs that are created to easily fit your furniture, from sofas and dressers to dining room tables. Prices can range from less than $2 each all the way to upwards of $30 each.
Some spots to look are Floyd Legs, Home Depot, Etsy, Hairpin Leg Co, and Pretty Pegs. (Image via Pretty Pegs – created by Fall for DIY)
6. Add new fronts.
This trend is booming, thanks to some fun companies creating custom cabinet fronts for IKEA furniture and beyond. My pick is Sarah Sherman Samuel’s collab with Semihandmade, which can be used on certain Ikea kitchen cabinets AND furniture pieces. But Pretty Pegs and Superfront have cool options too.
OR if you’re searching for a DIY version, Mandi over on A Beautiful Mess shared a totally doable credenza makeover and Fall for DIY has a great one too. (Image via Sarah Sherman Samuel)
I know, I know. This might be best left to a professional. But reupholstering can be a great option for a spruce up. If it intimidates you, maybe just stick to smaller projects like dining room chairs as opposed to taking on a full-blown sectional for your first project. Or start with a box seat project like this easy tutorial from Design*Sponge. (Image via Becki Owens)
8. Simply cover without reupholstering.
If the term “reupholster” made you cringe, consider using a pretty textile or blanket to cover up those “seen-better-days” spots on your sofa and chairs. A simple blanket can cover up small stains, like what you see in the photo. OR cover all the cushions in mud cloth, etc for large stains to create a new look, like this idea via Brides. (Image via my how to style your sofa for fall post).
Remember question #2 in my furniture audit? Sometimes you just need to reassign your furniture to serve as something a little different. Think bookshelf turned barcart like this previous summer barcart project. Think outside the box and you might surprise yourself with how much you like your “new” old piece of furniture.
Have you tried any of these DIY furniture upgrades yourself? Did I miss any clever ways to upcycle your furniture on a budget? Let me know! And which projects from this list feel the most do-able for you?
6 comments | Click here to reply
These are great hacks! Can’t wait to upgrade and update my room next month! Will definitely follow some of the hacks you’ve mentioned. Thanks for sharing!Kyra Rodriguez
I love all those tips, and you can use all those techniques for furniture that you found on the flea market as well!Michelle
Thanks Vintage Napps. Good luck with your re-stuffed cushions project! I bet your mid-century sofa will look amazing once you’re done with it.Brittni
I love these suggestions. I’ve done most on the list and my next project is to have my cushions re- stuffed on my mid century sofa. The fabric is great, almost new because the original owners used their sofa only when company came by.Vintage napps
I love seeing an interest in using and recycling older pieces and working with what you have.
Thanks Michelle. Definitely a good one to bookmark for later…never know when an upcycling project will strike. 🙂Brittni
Thank you for sharing these amazing tips, they will definitely come in handy someday (because I always want to change things around in my apartment)!Michelle