Upcycled furniture can give your home a lift

Our antiques expert, Allan Blackburn, takes a look at how old and tired furniture is turned into something far more desirable...

Thursday, 26th April 2018, 12:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th April 2018, 12:56 pm
This gorgeous side table is on sale at GB Antiques Centre for 125 pounds

It’s finally feeling as if spring has sprung, so to welcome the sun, this week I am going to write about painted furniture which is often sunny and bright too.

Over the last few months, here at GB Antiques Centre we’ve seen a surge in interest for good quality furniture, and ‘upcycled’ painted furniture is a great way of refreshing an older piece.

How much more interesting and sustainable, especially with new paints being kinder to the environment, too.

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Painted furniture actually dates back centuries, but it’s only recently become a popular and fashionable way of restoring older furniture.

There are two methods: one is to paint using a block colour and the other is to “mis-paint”, giving a distressed finish. Most popular are ‘solid’ colours: off-whites and creams, as well as pastel blues, greens and pinks. Customers to the centre love part-painted pieces; for example table where just the legs and border are painted, keeping the pine top natural. Together with matching chairs, these ‘one-off’ sets go very quickly.

Sometimes known as Shabby Chic, painting or distressing was originally a way of taking cheap low-quality plywood furniture and turning it into something it wasn’t, disguising flaws or mismatches

Now it’s become an art form in itself and high-quality hand-decorated pieces sell for hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds. For buyers, though, this can create a problem. How do you know what you’re buying? What’s underneath all that paint?

You must take your time to look carefully before you buy - pull out the drawers, look underneath, check the quality, and look for markings if you want a better piece.

These days, fewer people can afford very high end pieces of furniture, and less new furniture is made, quite rightly, from endangered hardwoods. There’s still a market for mahogany and oak, but buying painted cupboards, dressers, and sideboards is a fantastic way of getting cheaper pieces that look bespoke.

Whilst ‘upcycling’ is also a fun way of giving your own furniture a new lease of life, some pieces are easily ruined with harsh treatment. So restore with care; or with some wonderful artisan furniture available, follow my tips to hunt down some great pieces to bring a little colour into your home this spring.

This gorgeous side table has been painted using Farrow and Ball paint .