Inspiration 19 January 2016

The Joy of Upcycling

A lick of paint does wonders for an old rocking chair

There's nothing I like more than a bit of upcycling - the thrill of finding a little gem of furniture tucked away in a charity shop which you can take home and transform.

You earn brownie points for saving the planet too, and preserving a little bit of history if it's something especially old. It's also really satisfying to see the difference a simple lick of paint can make to an old chair or table. 

I found this little Victorian nursing chair in a local junk shop and loved the curved detail on the back rest and the grooves on each leg, which give it real character. I think it'll make the perfect bedroom chair for chucking jumpers on.

First thing to do was sand it down, which you can do by hand or with an electric sander. It's a pretty straight forward task, boring but not difficult. This preps the wood for undercoating, which again is easy to do, although remember to catch any drips or you won't have a smooth surface to paint on.

I always like to use water-based undercoat and paint, as it makes it easier to clean the brushes.

An artist friend of mine was happy to help with the two top coats, as I was sure I'd make a mess of it. You need patience for a job like this, and the ability to let things dry. I always just want to jump to the end bit which doesn't work with something like this - you need to take your time and do things in the right order! 

I chose paint that was a soft, pebble grey and will pretty much go with anything. I haven't decided what colour the bedroom's going to be yet, so didn't want to be too bold. And we might want to use the chair in other rooms, so it makes sense to keep it neutral. 

My friend's studio is built entirely from recycled materials, including the old wood burning stove and a etching press which was being thrown out. A talented painter and printmaker, his work space is pretty inspiring.

Old wood cuts are used as outside art, and found signage decorates the veranda. It seemed appropriate that my little chair should be transformed in this wonderful place.

Add a gorgeous cushion (which you can change willy nilly) and voila - a simple and effective way to create a unique piece of furniture for your home. Check out the scatters available to buy in store or online at Arighi Bianchi - this little darling is 100% linen with velvet piping and tie bow detail.