Upcycling Furniture




we recently moved and the table and chairs were already in the house, but I found it so ugly, that I wanted to get rid of it. but we had a bunch of things to buy and I wanted to save some money, so I decided to keep it but upcycle it a bit.

please note, I never worked with furniture before and I have no professional background.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Prepare

find the screws that hold the upholstery and unscrew them. in my case it was three each chair and a basic screwdriver did the job. my screws were in somewhat good condition and I wanted to use them again.
put the screw somewhere where you can find them again.

Step 2: Sand

sand the whole furniture you plan to upcycle. I sanded the table and the chairs, first I used only sanding paper and a block, but I am lazy so I bought an electric sanding tool which was on sale and came really handy. to remove the old paint I used sanding paper with 120 grain and to even out the wood I used 180 grain paper. make sure you sand all corners as well and that all paint is removed or you'll have spots with the old color on the furniture. I would recommend to sand everything and paint every surface, but I was lazy and I left the sides you won't be able to see (e.g. bottom of the table).

Step 3: Clean

this step will depend on the type of paint you choose. I chose waterbased vanish and on the can it said I should wipe down the furniture with a wet cloth. I had an old shirt which I cut into pieces and used the pieces to wipe down all surfaces of the furniture to remove dust and other dirt. let the wood dry completely.

oil based vanish or other types of paint may require other ways to prepare the wood. please read the instructions of your chosen paint.

Step 4: Paint

pick brushes that are made for vanish. I used synthetic brushes in different sizes, one to paint the furniture and another to remove excess paint to avoid drips and "paint noses" (see the last picture). they happen and if you remove them within a minute you won't see anything but if you leave them the paint will dry and be thicker on this point.
make sure you don't miss a spot.

I painted everything twice in a shiny greyish vanish (grey because I like it and shiny because they told me it's easy to clean and wipe and may be the best decision for a heavily used piece of furniture like a table and chairs).

Step 5: Upholster

I picked a nice red fabric for the upholstery. it was quite cheap, the fabric is not too thin and feels nice. I cut four pieces in shape if the seats with about 20 cm overlapping on every side. you can probably use less and maybe avoid the wrinkles on the edges as well, but I don't mind and I kinda liked it.

use a stapler to fix the new fabric onto the seat. try to not get any wrinkles on the upside. I didn't mind to have I look a little sloppy on the downside.

then put the seat with the new upholstery on the chair, find the long lost screws again and drill them back in.

Step 6: Finish

tadaa, enjoy!

sorry for any grammar/word mistakes, English is not my first language.

1 Person Made This Project!


  • CNC Contest

    CNC Contest
  • Make it Move

    Make it Move
  • Teacher Contest

    Teacher Contest

6 Discussions


3 years ago

Hi all. We are just starting a new Upcycling business!! "Shorty's Upcycling Studio" please like us on Facebook. Sure to inspire you!!


4 years ago

That's really cool. I want to do it but need some furniture first.


4 years ago

nice job LauraSophie but be careful you can get addicted :), I love the red colour.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago

haha, jmdushi, I'm looking for new projects already! ;)


4 years ago on Introduction

That looks amazing! I love how it turned out! Maybe I can do this when I need some new chairs. This beats buying new (and expensive) stuff.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago

thanks, tomatoskins, it was really easy (and with the electric sanding tool a quick and efficient project). I really enjoyed seeing the progress and since I've never done something like this before I couldn't believe how easy it actually was. :)