Friday, September 30, 2011

Recycling Furniture

Often furniture we already have or that we can purchase inexpensively 2nd hand can be used in different ways.  We can save lots of money by seeing things not as they are, but as they could be. Genreally speaking, the key is to pay attention to line, shape, and form, and not allow things like colour and texture, which can easily be changed throw us off.

When I first met with my client about her large, open-concept basement, she considered the furniture that she already had to be little more than junk.  It was purchased inexpensively at a garage sale, or had been passed down to her, and had endured several years of abuse from her children.  Certainly in it's present condition, it was not very appealing.

My client wanted to save as much money as possible transforming her basement and was willing to take some risks with her old furniture to see if it could be re-used in different ways.  With that in mind, we went to work!

The easiest transformations were with these two pieces of furniture that she already had:

By simply painting them both black, and giving each a distinct purpose we made them look like they belonged together in the same space:

Next came a couple of wing-backed chairs, purchased inexpensively at a 2nd-hand store.  Sure the colours were all wrong, but the shapes and lines were perfect!

 We went to work re-upholstering them in a fabric of my client's choosing and came out with a matching set,

 transforming what was formerly an awkward to use waste of space:

 into a great new reading area:

 The most ambitious challenge we took on was transforming my client's old, worn couch and loveseat into a sectional couch as called for by the design: 

 What made this possible was the straight lines, rectangular shape, block-like forms, and sturdy frames of these particular pieces of furniture:

 We simply peeled back the fabric and foam from the left arm of the love seat:

and removed the wood frame of the arm, leaving the rest of the love-seat's frame intact:

 Then we simply moved the two pieces together in the correct formation:

The design called for several small and colourful throw pillows to be placed on the couch. My client decided that she wanted to replace the furniture's existing back pillows with a solid back padding piece cut from an inexpensive foam mattress, thus cutting down on the number of loose pillows to arrange.

If we were to re-upholster this new formation, it would look like a brand new couch - however my client opted to go with a slip-cover which could be easily removed, washed, and replaced - a way to make a white couch a little more practical with 4 kids!  She went to work and sewed it herself!

 My client was able to save thousands of dollars just by being willing to think outside of the box and use old furniture in new ways!


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  2. Thank you for posting this. I have a sofa, and two big cushy chairs and have wanted a sectional but without having to come out of pocket so deep. This gives me a great idea. I'll remove the arm from the couch and one chair, and both arms from the second chair and this should give me a good frame to do this. Hopefully I can get it done in just one weekend. Thanks for the step-by-step!

  3. My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more!
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  4. I was moving soon & wanted to do something different with my 2 king size couches & huge microfiber chair set. Its like new... Im gonna try this for my next huge project

  5. What a great idea! I love the concept of making something old new again and giving it a new lease on life. But what about electronics? Can you think of any ways to upcycle old electronics to give them a second chance? I have simply been taking all of my out-of-date electronics to be recycled at All Green Electronics Recycling.