ladder towel rack

Upcycled Treasures: 7 Creative Ideas To Repurpose Old Furniture

We’ve all been there—staring at an old piece of furniture gathering dust, contemplating whether to toss it or keep it. What if I told you there’s a third option? One that not only saves you money but also gives you the chance to unleash your creativity and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. Upcycling is the magic word and it’s all about turning your old, unused items into new, functional pieces. We love to repurpose old furniture, whether it’s something we already own or we fancy a little side project from someone else’s unwanted furniture.

repurposed furniture examples

In today’s post, we’ll explore some creative ways to repurpose old furniture, from chairs and tables to dressers and cabinets. These upcycling ideas will breathe new life into your old pieces, turning them into upcycled treasures that you’ll be proud to showcase in your home. So grab your toolkit, put on your DIY hat and let’s dive in!

1. Turn Old Chairs Into Swinging Garden Seats

You might have some old dining chairs that have seen better days. Rather than sending them to the landfill, consider transforming them into swinging seats for your garden. Strip off the old paint, sand them down and repaint them in vibrant colors to bring out their charm.

chair swing seat double

Small coffee tables that are damaged can be repurposed in a similar fashion. Remove the legs and suspend them from sturdy tree branches using heavy-duty ropes to make an outdoor coffee table that swings. Place a tray with your favourite drinks and you have a unique, mobile serving table for garden parties.

2. Repurpose A Dresser Into A Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands can be expensive. But an old dresser can serve the same purpose and add a rustic touch to your kitchen. 

upcycled kitchen island

Remove the top drawers and install a wooden or granite top. You can even add a rack underneath for pots and pans. Use the remaining drawers for utensils and kitchen gadgets and voila! Your old dresser has a new life as a chic kitchen island.

3. Convert A Bookshelf Into A Shoe Rack

repurposed book shelf shoe rack

If you have an old bookshelf that’s too worn for your literary treasures, transform it into a shoe rack. Add slanted shelves to make it easier to display and pick your shoes. Paint it in bold colors or patterns to add a pop of color to your hallway or bedroom.

4. Reimagine A Ladder As A Towel Rack

Got an old wooden ladder that’s not safe for climbing anymore? Clean it, paint it and repurpose it into a towel rack for your bathroom. Hang it horizontally on the wall and use the rungs to drape your towels. 

repurposed ladder towel rack

This offers a unique, farmhouse-style look and is a space-saving solution for smaller bathrooms.

5. Transform A Headboard Into A Coat Rack

If your bed has come with a new headboard, don’t discard the old one. It can easily be turned into a functional and stylish coat rack. 

recycled coat rack

Attach some hooks and you’ve got a handy spot for coats, hats and umbrellas. Paint or stain the wood to match your home’s décor and you’ve got a new piece that’s both practical and charming.

6. Revamp A Side Table Into A Pet Bed

upcycled dog house

Your furry friend deserves a cosy place to rest. Take an old side table, flip it upside down and add a cushion inside the (now top) shelf. Paint it in a colour that complements your interior and adds your pet’s name for a personalised touch.

7. Make A Picture Frame Into A Photo Display

window frame photo repurposed

If you’re replacing picture frames, don’t throw them away. Clean them up, paint them and turn them into a unique photo display. Attach wires or ropes horizontally across the back of the frame and use clothespins to hang your favourite photos, postcards, or children’s artwork.

What tools might you need to repurpose old furniture?

Repurposing old furniture is a creative and fulfilling endeavor that can breathe new life into discarded pieces. To embark on this journey, you’ll need a variety of tools that enable you to transform your vision into reality. Here’s a list of essential tools to help you repurpose old furniture:

  1. Basic Hand Tools: A set of screwdrivers, hammers, pliers and wrenches will be your go-to tools for disassembly and minor adjustments.
  2. Sanding Equipment: Sandpaper, sanding blocks and electric sanders are crucial for preparing the furniture’s surface by smoothing out imperfections and creating a clean canvas for your project.
  3. Paints and Brushes: High-quality paints, brushes and rollers are essential for adding a fresh coat of color or creating artistic designs on your repurposed furniture.
  4. Woodworking Tools: Depending on your project, you might need saws, chisels and wood planes to reshape, resize, or modify wooden components.
  5. Adhesives and Glues: Strong adhesives, such as wood glue or epoxy, are vital for securely bonding different parts of the furniture together.
  6. Drilling Equipment: A power drill and various drill bits enable you to create holes for new hardware, attach accessories, or make adjustments.
  7. Protective Gear: Safety should be a priority. Gloves, safety glasses, and dust masks will safeguard you from potential hazards during sanding, painting and other tasks.
  8. Measuring Tools: Tape measures, rulers and angle finders help ensure accurate dimensions and precise cuts for your repurposing project.
  9. Hardware and Accessories: Depending on your design, you might require new handles, knobs, hinges, or other hardware to enhance the functionality and aesthetics of the furniture.
  10. Creativity and Patience: While not tangible tools, these qualities are invaluable. Let your creativity guide you as you repurpose old furniture, and remember that patience will help you achieve the best results.

Before you start, assess your project’s requirements to determine which specific tools you’ll need. By having the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to transform discarded furniture into captivating, functional pieces that bring a sense of accomplishment and sustainability to your home.


Incorporating upcycled pieces into your living space not only benefits the environment by reducing waste but also infuses your home with a unique character that store-bought items can’t replicate. By embracing upcycling, you’re contributing to a more sustainable future while enjoying the gratification of breathing new life into the old. So, before bidding farewell to that worn-out dresser or chipped coffee table, envision the possibilities and embark on a journey of transformation that celebrates both ingenuity and eco-consciousness. With a dash of creativity and a bit of work, you can turn your old furniture into upcycled treasures that not only serve a purpose but also tell a story. 

It doesn’t have to stop at old furniture. You might also repurpose your old shed like we did and turn it into workspace. Sustainability’s reach extends far beyond the realm of upcycling. It also invites us to contemplate incorporating sustainable materials into our home renovations. By opting for eco-friendly choices, such as reclaimed wood or energy-efficient fixtures, we can significantly reduce our environmental footprint while creating spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and ecologically responsible. Embracing sustainability in every facet of our home endeavors is a powerful way to shape a better future for both ourselves and the planet.

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