Whether you’re a veteran thrift store shopper, a flea market treasure hunter, or just someone who wants their décor to be unique and interesting, repurposing old furniture is a great way to furnish your home or office with unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Because repurposing involves using found or salvaged material, you can usually make something cool without spending a lot.
Turn a chair into a chair
The simplest way to repurpose furniture is to consider its original use and simply update or upgrade the piece. Many people would consider repainting or re-upholstering to get a new look, but what about changing the elements entirely? For example, a wooden table could be entirely re-invented by changing the base to accommodate a glass table top. A chair with a cane back could have the entire back piece replaced with an upholstered panel, or a wooden chair can have the seat replaced with an upholstered cushion. Even these small changes can make a big difference!
Turn a loveseat into a chair
The next step up in furniture repurposing is to convert a piece into something similar but different. For example, the top of a coffee table can be added to a full-size table base to convert it into a dining table. A loveseat can be converted into two chairs, or a coffee table can be cut in half to create two matching end tables. The biggest challenge in this type of repurpose is usually in structural areas, like adding extra legs or arms.
Throw a cushion on it!
One of the easiest and most effective ways to repurpose items is to turn them into a seating project. Short bookcases can have a cushion added to the top to create an area that’s comfortable for reading, or cubbyhole shelves can have seating added to them to make a place to sit while putting on shoes in the mud room or entryway. Thin rectangular coffee tables can be converted to benches with a simple cushion, and oval coffee tables can become beautiful entryway benches with a custom foam cushion.
Make something entirely new
Perhaps the most impressive and least expected repurposing projects are projects where something entirely new is created. This works beautifully for shelves and coffee tables, as it allows you to create a custom piece that becomes a unique conversation starter. For example, you could use an old aquarium topped with a glass tabletop to create a coffee table filled with live fish. You could convert an old industrial piece into a shelf or bookcase, or convert an old door into a table.
Repurposing is a great way to build your own custom furniture, and it helps to look at what others have done to find inspiration for some of the more esoteric transformations. Visit your local flea market or swap meet to see what repurposing projects have been done, and watch home and garden improvement shows to get some ideas for furniture transformations.