What is Upcycling and How Can it Save – or Make – You Some Cash?
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Man and woman re-finishing a desk

Upcycling is re-using discarded objects or materials to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Here’s how to do it.

Why Upcycle?

Shopping for home decor at trendy downtown boutiques or department stores is a fun way to elevate your interior design, but it can really empty your bank account. Instead, these stores should be used for upcycle inspiration to be applied later at a much lower cost. 

Most of the furniture and smaller decor items found at stores can be made from second hand items. Not only will you have original furniture, but it will be like-new if you know how to upcycle correctly. 

How to Upcycle

1. Plan

One of the first steps in upcycling is to sniff out areas in the home that could use a little help. Maybe there’s a bare corner, or maybe there’s a space that is simply non-functional. Successful upcycling relies on a plan in order for it to be carried out in a manner that is usable. You can upcycle an old dresser into a beautiful sink base, but it must fit your space in order to work. Sometimes, the idea of upcycling leads to picking up second hand items because they could have potential. This is how basements and shops get filled with unfinished projects. Plan your upcycle ahead, and keep it to one project at a time. 

2. Clean

Next, the second hand item must be returned to its most basic state. This means thoroughly cleaning items and removing old paint or stain when appropriate. Remove knobs and paint them separately, or replace them to get that look of perfection. If you don’t prep an item properly, your upcycle will not be durable, and new applications may crack or chip easily. 

3. Use Quality Tools

When you know how to upcycle, the tendency to be thrifty is all-encompassing, but don’t cheap out on critical materials. Once you get the hang of things, invest a little money on nice brushes and quality paint. You want your upcycling to look like it came from the store, which requires professional quality design applied with appropriate utensils. A dirty old paintbrush is not going to elevate your secondhand item. 

4. Use Your Imagination

Lastly, have a little fun. Scour the internet for pain ideas, and don’t be afraid to experiment. The whole idea of upcycling is to create your own, unique design while reusing items instead of purchasing new. It is creative, inexpensive, and environmentally responsible. 

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