9 Quirky DIY Upcycled Furniture Ideas to Inspire You

Who doesn’t love the look of expensive brand name furniture? I know I do!

But we really don’t want to part with the cash to buy new stuff do we? Especially if we’re moving into a new home or on a budget. It can get pricey furnishing an entire room or house!

Finding and up-cycling or recycling used or vintage furniture is a budget friendly way to get the look we want without spending a fortune.

Shopping online for used, antique or vintage furniture to transform is easy and you can find great deals close to home too. Most local thrift shops have a Facebook page where they update their inventory daily. Google “used furniture” “your town” and see what comes up!

I found these quirky awesome inspiring makeovers when I went looking for ideas and inspiration for my own project. I found everything from painting fabric (who knew you could do this?) to using wallpaper and stencils to design your own custom look.

Let’s start with painting fabric on furniture. This really appeals to me because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier than re-upholstery and cheaper too!

Here’s a super straight forward video on how to paint upholstery on furniture to get a fresh new look. I was a little skeptical but it seems pretty easy and effective.


I also found this video on painting furniture upholstery. She talks about how to keep your fabric looking and feeling like well fabric after painting it. See what you think. Note her disclaimer at the bottom. She said go easy on waxing a plush fabric like velvet after you paint.


The next best thing to painting fabric is this no sew option to transform a thrift dining chair into a Pottery Barn look-alike. Incredible! What really makes this work is the unique blend of finishes she uses on the wood to give it that upscale vibe.

how to upholster furniture without sewing
Image courtesy of Bless-er House


There’s so many dark brown dressers or chest of drawers out there just waiting to be renewed with a little love and inspiration. I love the idea of using wallpaper to create a totally unique piece like this one below.  The possibilities are endless!

Lots more inspiration.

recycling furniture with wallpaper
Image courtesy of Spoonflower

Maps, old photos and magazine pages would also be lovely to use as decoupage on a dresser, side table or desk. Angela Strawbridge of Escape to the Chateau papered a bathroom door with pages torn out of magazines from the 30’s. Cheap and cheerful!

Lots more inspiration.

diy wallpaper on furniture
Image courtesy of


Now here’s a nice project for you. Isn’t this sweet sideboard adorable? Found this on for sale. Actually it’s sold, but I don’t think this would be too hard to pull off do you? The trick is matching up the wallpaper pattern on either side of the door opening. Love that the background of the wallpaper matches the color of the cabinet. Try going to your local wallpaper or paint store and see if they have any display pieces they’ll sell you so you don’t have to buy the whole roll.

DIY Sideboard wallpaper
Image courtesy of Vinterior


More crazy good ideas, which will really inspire you to get out  your paint brush! If you’re not the most artistic at free styling a paint brush – cough cough- then stencils are another easy way to get a custom look.

Lots more inspiration.

diy painted furniture
Image courtesy of Girl Upcycled Studio


I like this blog article on how to use the power of paint to transform a not so pretty piece. Chalk paint is your friend when it comes to painting furniture. It’s so forgiving. If you’re like me and hate all the prep work like sanding and filling, chalk paint makes it almost a one step process.

Get the step by step on this dresser transformation.

painting furniture with chalk paint
Image courtesy of Artsy Chicks Rule


Had to share this stenciling pattern with you. I’ve been coveting the bone inlay look for some time now but didn’t want to part with the cash to buy a new piece like this one from Anthropologie.

anthropologie nightstand
Image courtesy of Anthropologie


Isn’t this painted nightstand just as adorable?  Your stencil color can be white or cream on any base color –  love the turquoise blue shown here – but it would be stunning on a dark background like navy or dark grey.  A pre-cut stencil makes it easy to create this same boho look on a recycled side table or bedside table at a fraction of the cost! Stenciling is a lot easier than it looks.

stencilled nightstand
Image courtesy of Cutting Edge Stencils

The hard part is cutting out a stencil, but if you buy a pre-cut one then the rest is easy breezy.

Simply buy a stencil brush or use a small firm paintbrush (you can even cut the bristles down a bit if you need to). You want a stubby bristle.

Mix up your stencil color or buy a small squeeze bottle of water based craft paint. Squeeze a little of the paint in a saucer or small dish.

Meanwhile you’ve taped your stencil to your nightstand or table with blue tack or Frog tape.

Dab your brush lightly into your paint and then …. this is the important part. Dab off the excess paint onto a paper towel. You want to have just a smidge of paint on your brush. You can always come back and add another coat once the first one is dry. Putting too much paint on at once will make the paint go underneath the stencil and muddy up the crisp edges you’re going for.

Once you’ve taken the excess paint off your brush, just lightly dab on the paint over the stencil openings. Finish the whole piece and then wait for your paint to dry thoroughly before adding a second coat (if needed).

One thing I discovered is if I try to put a second coat on before the first one is dry, the damp paint will just rub off. No bueno.

No sanding is needed, but if you want to add a clear coat of water based varnish to protect the paint after it’s all dry you can.

Have fun with these paint projects – doesn’t it make you just want to rush down to your nearest craft or paint store!

recycled furniture projects