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Four In Ten Brits Are Upcycling To Reduce Waste

Harris Brushes upcycling

With the global effort towards a more sustainable future in full force and many looking to minimise wastage in the home, DIY and Decorating experts Harris Brushes share the incredible benefits of upcycling furniture and give their top tips for your next project…

Key Findings:

  • Google Trends reveals a 277% increase in online interest around “furniture upcycling near me” in the UK between February 2022 and June 2022.

  • #Upcycling is currently receiving a staggering 8.6 billion views on TikTok, with users keen to showcase their striking creations on the platform, from enhanced clothing to furniture transformations.

  • Four in ten Brits are turning to upcycling as part of their efforts to reduce wastage and protect the planet.

  • 39% of Brits are already upcycling more, with furniture being the project of choice.

  • TikTok reveals a growing trend for “furniture flipping” with #UpcycledFurniture receiving 75.4 million views.

The lockdown may be over, but the home renovation and improvements trend it sparked has remained strong. Upcycling remains firmly on the global agenda, with Google Trends revealing a 277% increase in online interest around “furniture upcycling near me” in the UK between February 2022 and June 2022. Unsurprisingly, #Upcycling is currently receiving a staggering 8.6 billion views on TikTok with users keen to showcase their striking creations on the platform, from enhanced clothing to furniture transformations.

Four in ten Brits are turning to upcycling as part of their efforts to reduce wastage and protect the planet and 39% are already upcycling more with furniture being the project of choice. In terms of upcycling trends, “furniture flipping” is currently taking the social media world by storm, as TikTok reveals a clear focus on repurposing old furniture with #UpcycledFurniture receiving 75.4 million views.

With the upcycled furniture trend very much on the rise, we have investigated just how beneficial repurposing furniture can be for both the planet and your bank account!  

The Unique Benefits of Upcycling

1. Saving Materials From Landfill

Of the 26m tonnes of waste produced in the UK, 12m tonnes are recycled whilst a staggering 14m tonnes are sadly sent to landfill sites. When we choose to upcycle furniture, we’re actively choosing to reduce waste in landfills, oceans, parks and waste management facilities which in turn protects the environment in several ways including reducing soil, water and air pollution.  

2. Saving on Cost of New Furniture

Higher furniture prices are contributing to higher living costs in the UK with inflation running at the highest level in three decades (7%) and furniture prices up 17%. Naturally, upcycling old furniture is a great option when it comes to cost-saving and taking pressure off the ongoing cost of living crisis. Not only can you enjoy the satisfaction of creating a piece of furniture that is uniquely yours and feel the sense of fulfilment that comes with doing your part for the environment, but you can also worry less about where your money is going during this uncertain time.

3. Conserving Global Resources

Shockingly, it takes 2,700 litres of water to produce a single t-shirt. It’s no secret that climate change presents a threat to life as we know it, including our global ecosystems. With global demand for food and water expected to double in the next 30 years, conserving global resources where possible will be crucial. 

Upcycling existing resources such as furniture and homeware removes the need to exploit any new raw materials for production purposes and supports the global mission to protect the planet for future generations.  

4. Creation of One-Of-A-Kind Items

If you’re looking for something entirely original to truly put your own stamp on your home, upcycling is the perfect way to go.

When it comes to upcycling, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’d like an ombre pastel chest of drawers, are looking to reupholster your old armchair with vibrant new fabric or turn your old shutters into a quirky magazine rack, with a bit of creative thinking and skill, there is no limit to what you can create. 

5. Upskilling

Another benefit of taking on an upcycling project is of course the opportunity to hone your skills and make something incredible.

Whether through expert-led tutorials or short, snappy TikTok videos, the opportunity to gain valuable DIY skills is easily accessible for those interested in upcycling old furniture. From repair skills such as glueing, nailing or sewing to cleaning and restoring fabrics, replacing accessories and painting with a beautifully even finish, there is an endless list of skills to be gained by embarking on upcycling projects.  

Five Upcycling Ideas 

1. Make Colour Updates

One of the best and most affordable ways to breathe new life into old furniture is to give your new chair, unit or bookshelf a fresh coat of paint. You can be as creative as you like, opting for vibrant hues that instantly create a striking focal point or keeping the tone muted and sophisticated as you see fit.

When it comes to the painting, however, it is crucial to follow best practice to ensure a smooth and even finish, starting with thorough preparation and ending with a flawless top coat. Harris Brushes’ easy-to-follow guide on How to Paint Furniture includes all the top tips required to secure your painting skills and succeed in creating something extra-special.  

2. Try Stencilling/Free Hand Design

Adding unique details to your furniture is the best way to create a one-of-a-kind piece. Think floral patterns or geometric designs that instantly inject some personality and intricacy into your furniture. Whether you prefer to use a stencil or feel confident in attempting delicate free-hand design, adding eye-catching elements to your design is a great way to hone your painting skills and create a piece that reflects your individual style. 

Remember to always use a fine brush and not overload your brush with paint to ensure clean, precise movements. 

3. Change Handles

If you’re looking to upgrade a chest of drawers, wardrobe, internal door or cabinet, then an ideal way to achieve a transformation on a budget is to replace the handles. With a range of hardware available in DIY shops such as B&Q or handmade handles from online stores such as Etsy, you’re sure to find a stunning option that offers that ‘brand new’ feel and adheres to your desired aesthetic. Providing the ultimate optical illusion, simply replacing old hardware makes it look like you have a whole new piece of furniture with minimal effort involved. 

4. Reupholster Chairs

For those that are more DIY savvy or keen to master one of the more complex aspects of upcycling, reupholstering old chairs can have a transformative effect and add a touch of class to the room. No matter what your taste may be, you can create an incredible vintage-style or ultra-modern look for your chair with some upholstering fabric (recycled if possible), a flat-head screwdriver and pliers to remove old fabric and scissors, a staple gun and sewing machine to cut, sew and apply the new fabric.  

5. Repurpose Unused Items

Part of the beauty of upcycling is seeing the potential in unused items and giving them a brand-new purpose. From turning old ladders into a contemporary clothing rack with nifty paintwork and some DIY genius to turning an old picture frame into a jewellery holder by screwing in some hooks, there is always something that can be done with a pre-loved household item. If you’re looking for some upcycling inspiration for unused items, Harris brushes’ step-by-step tutorial reveals the secrets to transforming old wooden palettes into stylish garden chairs and tables with minimal effort and creating an enviable look for your outdoor area.

For the full article and more upcycling tips, head to the Harris Brushes website today.

Source : Harris Brushes

Current image : Harris Brushes

Previous image (seen on related social media posts: Daisy Daisy / shutterstock.com - 1902051061)

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12 August 2022

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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