How to upcycle your way to a new look

Thursday, 20th December 2018

Give your home a new look for less by rescuing the unloved and unwanted.

The North East's own Cheryl Lumley from the All Round Creative Junkie, shares secrets on how to transform your home for buttons. Visits to the charity shop will never be the same again...


"I'm passionate about interiors and the environment, so upcycling is a great way to bring the two together. By giving things a facelift you can give them a new lease of life, change their use completely, showcase your own creativity and stop stuff from going to landfill.

"Upcycling and revamping is good for your budget as well as the planet. You can get a look that could cost thousands for next to nothing by just being a little bit creative.

"My own home is almost entirely decorated this way. Apart from the sofas and prints, everything in my living room is either secondhand or upcycled. Charity shop candlesticks have been repainted, the mirror is from a junk shop, old familt suitcases have been recovered, the lightshades are upcycled and the rug is made from recycled plastic straws."

Want to give it a go? Here's how

Begin with an open mind. Hunt in charity shops, your granny's attic and on local selling sites for bargains. Remember to act quickly if you spot something you like as they're one-offs and might be snapped up by someone else.


Take a note of the measurements of your space and acrry them around with you. measure alcoves, spaces between sofas, and windows so that when you find a piece you love you'll know straight away if it will fit as you can guarantee it won't be there the next time you go.


Look past the current condition and look at the shape and sturdiness of the piece. there is a paint for everything these days and you can recover, repaint, cut covers into cushion covers and make everything look amazing with a bit of elbow grease and TLC. Most things are pretty easy, start off with painting a picture frame or a chair to test out your skills and work your way up to more difficult tasks like reupholstery.


Just give it a go. If you;re not happy with it, you can start again. Everything is salvageable, even a bad paint job!



How to: recover a suitcase

Step 1:

Measure out the size to cover the top and the bottom in two pieces. You'll need it to be slightly bigger to wrap round the inside edge.


Step 2:

Cover the suitcase with PVA glue. Do this in two halves to keep the fabric in place while sticking each half down.


Step 3:

Treat the locks, hinges and the handle in the same way you would wallpaper around switches. 

cacti jars

How to: make cute cacti jars

Step 1:

Line the bottom of the jar with white gravel. I bought this from the fish tank department in a pet shop.


Step 2:

Put a little layer of potting soil over the gravel. Tease out the roots of your small succulent plant and place in the jar. Fill the rest with top soil, packing it in so the plant isn't too loose.


Step 3:

Finish with a layer of white gravel to decorate then use a water spray occasionally to stop the plant drying out.

candle sticks

How to: paint wooden candlesticks

Step 1:

Clean thoroughly to get all the dirt and grime off


Step 2:

Give them a light sand with fine sandpaper


Step 3:

Paint two coats of a gloss furniture paint.