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Upcycling for beginners: Getting started

Posted on 2014-11-10

Furnishing your space effectively when renting can be frustratingly difficult for a number of reasons. While renting is fantastic for giving you flexibility on where you live, it’s not so easy to furnish an unfurnished property on a budget – especially when you could well be living somewhere with less space or a different character when you’re ready to move on from your current property.

Good quality, new furniture is expensive – especially when buying in bulk for the first time. It can be awful having to choose between renting a great house and throwing away an expensive wardrobe that you’ve not had for long.

You may also want an individual, personal style to your space, which can be difficult to achieve when your budget means that your furniture comes from a discount retailer and matches everyone else’s.

But, it doesn’t need to be this way! With a little time and effort, you can create stunning, individual pieces that match your personal style and are unique to you. What’s more, done right, it can cost you next to nothing.

You’ll need to make a small investment in some basic supplies, but this will be far outweighed by the savings you’ll make by not buying brand new pieces of furniture.

Brushes: Buy the best quality you can afford – they’ll last longer and give a better finish. You’ll need at least one medium sized brush and a couple of small ones

Mini roller and tray: These are really great value and can be a lifesaver when you’re painting a large piece such as a wardrobe

Masking tape: Essential if you want to get clean edges and avoid painting bits you didn’t mean to

Latex gloves: Optional, but good to have – some paints can be a nightmare to get off your hands and can even irritate your skin

Face masks: Again, cheap but optional, sanding can create a lot of dust!

Sandpaper: Various grades (coarseness) and plenty of it

Dust sheets: These can be expensive to buy from DIY stores. A much cheaper idea is to buy old flat bed sheets from a charity shop

Tape measure: Don’t risk your lovingly-painted furniture not fitting in the room you wanted it in

White spirit: Good for cleaning brushes (and paint spills!)

Lint free cloths: To wipe down your pieces after sanding, ensuring an even coat of paint

Primer: This amazing stuff not only makes for a smoother application, but buying one for ‘difficult surfaces’ will mean you can paint just about anything!

Paint: The possibilities with paint are endless. Later in this series, we’ll go through the different kinds of paint available and what you can use them for

Apart from primer and brushes, you don’t need to buy the best quality of any of the above – your local pound shops, supermarkets and large DIY stores should all have affordable ‘basic’ options – shop around for the best deals.

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