Upcycling tips from Andrea McLean

12 June 2015        

Andrea McClean on a bed

Andrea McLean, TV presenter and homes columnist and the face of our Furniture & Electrical stores for 2015, has provided her top 10 tips for upcycling furniture:

  1. Scour car-boot sales and charity shops like BHF Furniture & Electrical stores for great value second-hand furniture

  2. When shopping, look for a shape or style of furniture you like. This will be your base for upcycling

  3. Don’t dismiss scratched or stained items – furniture can look very different once it’s been painted

  4. Notice the detail on frames, mirrors or handles - if something stands out it can quickly be updated with a fresh coat of paint or gilding with gold leaf

  5. Try to visualise what items will look like in your home and how they could look when you’ve painted or re-upholstered them. Sometimes it helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you leave home

  6. Always sand down furniture using wire wool or sandpaper before painting it to give it a smooth surface. This will help the new colour last for longer

  7. Chalk paints are great for painting over a dark stain or veneer as they don’t need to be primed and give smooth all-over coverage. Always apply at least two or three thin layers of paint and finish with a layer of varnish or furniture wax

  8. Experiment with stencilling to add a personal touch to your furniture, and don’t worry if it goes wrong as you can always paint over it. Be as creative as you like!

  9. Chairs can easily be updated if the fabric isn’t to your taste – simply remove the old and re-upholster with fresh fabric to match your home

  10. If you’re buying new items, chances are you’ll need to clear space so your home doesn’t look overcrowded. Don’t forget to donate your unwanted items using the BHF’s free collection service.