Using reclaimed furniture to decorate your home is a great way to add a period feel to any room, and to add a touch of rustic beauty to a bland, modern design. Upcycling is quite fashionable at the moment, and it's easy to understand why. Visiting salvage yards and looking for battered antiques to restore is incredibly satisfying, and there's something special about lovingly sprucing up an old piece and making it your own.
Photo courtesy Flickr
Take a look at some of the reasons why I would choose upcycling old furniture over buying new factory formed furniture any day.
Antique furniture is much more interesting than modern flatpack stuff. Even the most scuffed, tattered and damaged items are likely tougher and more hardwearing than the average item you can purchase from a catalogue today. Once you have reupholstered that chair, or sanded and repainted that cabinet, the quality of the materials and the calibre of the craftsmanship will show through. You'll also have a great story to tell about how you acquired the item, where it came from, and how much fun you had doing it up.
Restoring antique furniture can save you a lot of money, and it's good for the environment too. When you fix up a mahogany cabinet, you're extending the life of something that may have been built decades ago, and saving the planet by not wasting resources on purchasing some lower quality furniture which needs made, packaged and transported, wasting huge amounts of fuel and precious resources.
One of the best things about reclaimed furniture is that older items are well made, hardwearing, and easier to customise. It's hard to change how modern furniture looks because instead of stained wood, many items are plywood with a cheap veneer over the top. You can't really sand and repaint or re-stain that kind of furniture. However, you can do a lot with high quality older items. With just some sandpaper and paint you could turn an ugly nightstand into a beautiful piece that would not look out of place in a modern bedroom or turn an old run down table into an eye catching statement feature.
If simply restoring old furniture is not enough for you, why not try your hand at making your own items out of salvaged wood? There is an entire community of people who like to make their own furniture from railway sleepers, reclaimed period doors, old trunks and other materials that have been deemed useless by their owners. It takes some patience and skill to do this, but it is worth the effort. The furniture you make will be truly unique, and you will be able to take pride in telling people that it is all hand made.
This upcycled door dining table is an example of what's possible if you have the time, resources and skills to make your own furniture. It's a beautiful piece, and would look great in any rustic patio or dining room. Photo courtesy The Welsh Home Improvement Blog.
Justine is an interior design and home décor enthusiast with a passion for mixing the old and the new seamlessly. She writes for Creatively Different Blinds UK.