What are the best diy projects for upcycling old furniture?

December 29, 2023

A wave of consciousness is sweeping across the world, one that demands care for our environment. Included in these efforts is the push towards upcycling. Instead of throwing out items that no longer serve the purpose they were originally intended for, people are getting creative and giving these items a new lease on life. And some of the best materials for upcycling are pieces of old furniture.

This article will explore some of the best do-it-yourself (DIY) upcycling projects for old furniture, turning them into valuable and functional pieces again. From a repurposed wood table to an upcycled dresser, you will find great ideas here.

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Repurposing a Wood Table into a Coffee Table

Tables are one of the most common pieces of furniture that end up being discarded. But with a little creativity and effort, you can turn that old wood table into a stylish coffee table.

Start by assessing the condition of the table. If it’s still sturdy and only the surface looks worn out, a good sanding and staining can bring it back to life. Should the table be too high for a coffee table, consider reducing the length of the legs. Add a touch of paint to match your room’s color scheme, and you’ve got yourself a unique centerpiece for your living room.

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Transforming a Dresser into a Bench

An old dresser can be upcycled into a beautiful bench that adds character and functionality to your living space.

The best part about this project is that you still get to use the drawers for storage. Start by removing the top of the dresser and any excess drawers to create space for the seating area. Next, build the seat using wood planks and add a cushion for comfort. Paint the piece to bring it all together visually. This project not only gives you a functional piece of furniture but also helps you declutter your space by providing extra storage.

Upcycling a Table into a Desk

With the rise of remote work and home schooling, desks have become indispensable. Why not turn that old table you have sitting in the garage into one?

This project can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. You could simply paint the table, add a few storage solutions like shelves or baskets underneath, and voilà – a functional desk. Alternatively, you could also cut out a section and insert a tempered glass piece to create a more modern look.

Turning an Old Door into a Headboard

Doors have a charm that can add a great deal of character to a room. An old door can be easily turned into a headboard for your bed, serving as a unique focal point for your bedroom.

To achieve this, you will need to cut the door down to the correct size if it’s too large. Then, give it a good cleaning, possibly a paint job, and secure it to your bed frame or wall. Depending on the door’s design, you can even add shelves or lights to enhance its purpose.

Converting a Ladder into a Shelving Unit

Old ladders, particularly wooden ones, lend themselves to be great upcycling projects. One of the easiest ways to repurpose a ladder is to convert it into a shelving unit.

Start by cleaning and painting the ladder to match your decor. Once dried, you can lean it against a wall and use the steps as shelves. For a more secure solution, you could also attach it to the wall. This idea works great for books, flowers, and other decorative items, or even in the bathroom for towels and toiletries.

Transforming a Trunk into a Coffee Table

An old trunk can be easily transformed into a coffee table that also doubles as storage. This is a relatively simple project that requires minimal alterations.

First, clean and, if necessary, restore the trunk. This could involve treating the wood or metal, fixing broken hardware, or adding a fresh coat of paint. Then, attach legs to the bottom. These could be wooden blocks, metal hairpin legs, or even wheels for a mobile solution.

In the process of upcycling, you’re not just creating unique pieces of furniture for your home. You’re reducing waste, saving money, and nurturing your creativity. The beauty of upcycling is that there are no strict rules. With a bit of imagination and willingness to experiment, you can turn any piece of old furniture into something beautiful and functional.

Repurposing a Kitchen Cabinet into a Kitchen Island

One of the more ambitious, but highly rewarding, DIY projects is converting an old kitchen cabinet into a kitchen island.

Start by inspecting the cabinet for any necessary repairs. Once you’ve ensured the cabinet is sturdy, clean it thoroughly. Depending on the design of the cabinet, you might want to remove the doors to open up space for extra seating or install hooks on the side for hanging towels or utensils.

Next, paint or stain the cabinet in a color that complements your kitchen decor. Chalk paint is a popular option for this kind of project due to its easy application and rustic finish. As for the top of the island, you can install butcher block, granite, or even repurposed wood, depending on your budget and aesthetic preference.

Adding wheels to the bottom of the cabinet allows for easy mobility, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen. This project provides a functional workspace while also adding extra storage space to your kitchen.

Turning a Mirror Frame into a Picture Frame

If you have a mirror frame lying around, consider turning it into a picture frame. This project is straightforward and can serve as a lovely personal touch to your space.

Firstly, remove the mirror carefully to avoid injury. Clean the frame thoroughly and then give it a fresh coat of paint. Remember, spray paint can be a quick and effective way to change the color of the frame. Let it dry completely.

Next comes the fun part – choosing your photo. Print your selected image to match the size of the mirror that was removed. Attach the photo to a piece of cardboard cut to fit the frame, and secure it in place.

Hang your new piece of art in your living room or bedroom to add a personal touch to your home. Photo credit goes to you for this memorable DIY project!


Furniture upcycling is more than just a trend; it’s a sustainable and creative way to breathe new life into old, discarded items. Repurposing furniture not only reduces waste but also allows you to create unique, functional, and personalized pieces that reflect your style.

From transforming a kitchen cabinet into a kitchen island, turning a mirror frame into a picture frame, to converting a ladder into a shelving unit, the possibilities are limitless. So next time you think about throwing away that old piece of furniture, remember these upcycling ideas and get your DIY gear ready instead.

Whether you are a seasoned DIYer or a beginner, these projects are sure to inspire creativity and result in pieces that you can proudly display in your home. After all, the beauty of DIY and upcycled furniture lies in transforming something old into something new and unique that carries a piece of your personal touch. So, pick up that paintbrush, roll up your sleeves, and embark on your upcycling journey!