The Beauty of Upcycling


It has often been said that we are a proud nation of shoppers. We love to spend our money and be in the possession of beautiful, material things. There is certainly nothing wrong in being house proud, or wanting an expensive wardrobe or nice car, why shouldn’t we if we can happily afford it?

But does high cost always equal high quality?

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of thrift shopping and car boot sales. This love for all things old has only grown in recent years when I moved out and had a place of my own to decorate. Despite a penchant for all things second-hand, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy flicking through the Next catalogue or enjoy spending an afternoon mooching around HomeSense – quite the opposite in fact – but I equally enjoy scrolling through Gumtree or waking up early on a Sunday to see what my local car boot has to offer. Old, broken, dirty or dusty, I always seem to be able to see the potential in household objects or timeworn pieces of furniture – items that have a history and tell a story.

The term ‘Shabby Chic’ has certainly grown in popularity over the last decade or so, partly due to companies like Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley taking over the high-street and highlighting that the 1950s era of bright florals and melamine can be beautifully reinvented for the modern day. Many have fallen in love with this ‘vintage farmhouse style’ and want to adopt it into their own homes, whether they live in a chic city apartment or dilapidated cottage in the middle of nowhere.

While stores such as these have helped to rejuvenate our homes and revive lost eras, they have also encouraged many of us to dabble in DIY and recreate this style ourselves. Sales of Annie Sloan and sandpaper have no doubt risen dramatically in recent years with people attempting to upcycle old furniture – either found in their spare bedroom or much like myself, for £10 at a local car boot sale.

In a modern age of consumerism, it’s good to recycle and reuse. What’s more, older furniture is often better made and of better quality so why not try updating it with a fresh lick of paint. After all, mixing old with new, thrifted with modern and painted with traditional, would surely make for a very eclectic and original home indeed.