If you want to get rid of your old, worn out furniture, consider upcycling it! This article will help explain simple and inexpensive ways to convert your old furniture into newly furnished furniture.

upcycle furniture_spray painted

Spray Paints

Today, spray paints are available in different shades and glossy finishes. You just have to select a shade that suits best with the theme of your room.  Painting a matte color and overlapping  it with a glossy design/pattern gives an excellent look. Now those old and tattered pieces of furniture are once again an attractive element in your home.

First, find Space. Do not attempt to use spray paint indoors, as the spray could end up covering other objects in your home. You need to find an open space for spray painting. Pull your furniture out and place it on plastic sheets or newspapers for easy clean up.

Clean Before Painting. Make sure to wash or clean your furniture thoroughly and let it dry completely before spraying it. This will ensure that the color sticks to the furniture itself and doesn’t allow for any mishaps down the road and start to come off.

Create a Mask. For any area of the furniture that you don’t want painted, cover it with painter’s tape or plastic. Apply the same technique if you want to use several different colors. You can even design patterns using tape as your guidelines.

Paint Techniques. To avoid drips, make sure to paint the furniture in a circular motion. If you are applying more than one coat, make sure to allow the first coat to dry completely. Once you’re done spraying, leave it out for 24 hours before pulling it indoors to make absolutely sure that it is dried and won’t be smudged when you go to move it.


Staining your old wooden pieces of furniture is a great way to give it a new-wood look. While it’s not too complicated to achieve this look, there are some important things to keep in mind.

First, get the right tools. Because this involves chemicals, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves. Along with those, you need: brushes or sponges, shop towels/clean rags, sandpaper, stain, and last but not least, polyurethane.

stained furniture

Prepare the wood. Make sure the wood the free of dirt, grease, food, etc. Consider how you want the wood to look in the end and buy your sandpaper accordingly. If you’re looking for a dark stain look, buy sandpaper that has a lower grit number. It sands the wood down so rough that the stain absorbs a lot more and the wood gets dark quickly (usually on the first application). The higher the grit number of your sandpaper, the smoother the wood will become and it will absorb less of the stain giving you a lighter color. The lower the grit number, the rougher the wood will become and the darker your project piece will be. (And that’s on the first application). (Using the sandpaper to grind off any blemishes or scuffs in the beginning is a good idea, but don’t do it too hard.) It’s always a good idea to experiment with a scrap piece of wood to determine the amount of stain and which sandpaper to use according to the look you achieve.Know your wood. Different types of wood can affect the way your stain will look at the end. So take a moment to look over the wood to determine whether it is hardwood or softwood. If it has an uneven wood grain, or a blotchy pattern, it’s most likely a softwood. It will end up staining unevenly, but this may be the look you’re going for as it enhances the natural beauty of the wood. If you do not want this, paint a pre-stain wood conditioner on it. It gets deep into the wood fibers and makes the stain show evenly. A hardwood, like an oak, usually has a consistent flow or pattern to the grain. They take a few more coats of stain, but it still gives an awesome look.

Apply the stain. Put on those rubber gloves and grab a paint brush/sponge. Stir the stain really well and apply the stain to the wood in a generous amount. Apply in in a long, continuous motion going along with the grain of the wood. 5-15 minutes should be enough time for the stain to dry, depending on the darkness you want. The longer you wait, the darker it will be. If you are not sure how fast your wood will take the stain, use a clean cloth/shop towel to wipe it on, and then wipe off again immediately. Take note of how fast it started to stain the wood. Remember: it’s always easier to add another layer of stain than to have to take it off. After staining, allow the wood to sit, untouched, for 6-8 hours.

Apply the polyurethane. To protect your wood and keep it looking beautiful, use polyurethane to lock it in. If you use a spray can, keep it 8-12 inches away from the wood. Apply it with long even passes, making sure not to over-spray or you will get runs. Two passes should be enough. If you are using the liquid type, put on those rubber gloves again and brush it going along with the grain. If too much globs on, brush it out. You will have to babysit the wood, making sure that it doesn’t bubble up or run. Once it becomes clear that it’s settling down, leave it alone for about a few hours. Make sure to refer to the manufacturers instructions for wait times and specific application instructions. If desired, you can add another coat of polyurethane – just make sure it’s completely dry before you start again.