Upcycling ideas: re-paint an old piece of furniture

An old wooden cabinet painted pink on the inside stands against a white wall.
An old piece of furniture can become a real head-turner with just a lick of paint.

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    < 25 £
  • Duration
    5 h

In this upcycling project, your old piece of furniture will gain a new lease of life – not to mention a fresh splash of colour. We show you how to repaint old furniture with a few simple tips and jazz up your home with a colourful eyecatcher. Which of your pieces of furniture could do with a repaint? We’ve gone for an old gramophone cabinet from the turn of the century.

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount throughout every step of the project, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find an overview of the correct protective clothing you need when using each type of tool here:

 

You need
Utilities
  • screwdriver
  • sanding block
  • paint roller
  • Pinsel
  • g-clamps
  • adhesive tape
  • cloth
Materials
  • Old cabinet
  • wood paint
  • furniture polish
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Video instructions

Step 1 7

Examine your find

An old wooden cabinet is being examined.
The condition of pieces of old furniture can vary drastically.

You need: An old cabinet

One thing’s for certain – you won’t be able to upcycle if you don’t have an old piece of furniture. If you can’t find anything at home or within your family, then it’s worth having a look online. You should be able to find an array of old furniture that’s still in good condition and ideal for this project through classified ad portals.

Have you struck gold? Then it’s time to carefully examine your new piece of furniture inside and out.

Step 2 7

Disassembly

The lid of an old wooden cabinet is being screwed off.
Most components can be simply removed using a screwdriver.

You need: screwdriver, an old cabinet

Is anything defective or irreparable? Maybe there are pieces you no longer want? Then you’re best off removing them – this will save you time later on when you’re upcycling.

Perhaps you’ll also have to disassemble individual parts like lids or doors for the time being so that it’s easier to sand and paint them.

Step 3 7

Give the surfaces a coarse sand

The surfaces of a wooden lid are being sanded down using a wide sanding brush.
The surfaces of a wooden lid are being sanded down using a narrow sanding brush.

You need: Sanders, Sanding with drills, g-clamps

Old pieces of furniture often have stains or other minor imperfections – after all, time leaves behind traces. If you’d like to restore your piece of furniture to its former glory, then you’ll need to sand it down completely. This of course applies to all surfaces and individual parts of the cabinet.

Tip
Tip:
A sanding brush is ideal for giving your piece of furniture the once-over. Always make sure that you are sanding with the grain.
Use a wide sanding brush for large surfaces. For smaller surfaces and details like special patterns you’re better off using a finer, narrower brush. 
Step 4 7

Fine sanding

An old piece of furniture is being sanded down using a sanding block and sanding paper.
Sanding by hand is much easier with a sanding block.

You need: YOUseries Sanding Paper G80, sanding block

Going over all of the surfaces with finer sanding paper is usually a good idea after giving them a coarse sand with the brush.

Step 5 7

Paint the piece of furniture

The inside of the wooden cabinet is being painted with a paint spray system.
The lid of a wooden cabinet is being painted with pink paint.

You need: PFS 2000 paint spray system, paint roller, paint brush, adhesive tape, wood paint in a colour of your choice

Now it’s time to add a splash of colour. Whether you go for something subtle or a little braver – revamping an old piece of furniture in a new colour is always a great idea. How about trying something new, like bright pint on the inside? The sky’s the limit!

We recommend using a paint spray system for larger surfaces and hard-to-reach places. The inside of the cabinet, angles and corners are also perfect for spray painting. You’ll find everything you need to know about paint spray systems in our guide.

Use a roller and paintbrush for smaller surfaces.

Remember to mask surfaces that you don’t want to paint.

Step 6 7

Reassemble the components

The lid of a wooden cabinet is being screwed on using a screwdriver.
Use new hinges, screws and other metal parts for your upcycling project.

You need: screwdriver

Have all surfaces been painted and given time to dry? Then you can get to work reassembling your piece of furniture if you took off individual parts earlier on.

Step 7 7

Polishing

An old piece of furniture is being polished.
Make sure that you apply polish evenly across all surfaces.

You need: cloth, furniture polish

To finish off your upcycling project, you should treat your piece using furniture polish to make it shine. Use a cloth and apply it generously over all external surfaces. Make sure that the polish is applied evenly and that droplets don’t form along the edges.

Now all you really need to make the colour pop is to find the right place for the piece in your home. You can find more information on the effect different colours have on interior design in our guide.