How to upcycle your furniture with tips from Suzie Fletcher

Find out what advice The Repair Shop’s Suzie Fletcher has for upcycling your furniture.

Upcycling furniture

by Lorna White |

Here at Yours we’re huge fans of the Repair Shop and it’s given us the bug to start our own upcycling projects, especially during the lockdown period.

From tables to clocks, cupboards to teddies, the possibilities are endless when it comes to restoring old and sentimental items that can be passed down through generations. However, knowing where to start can be quite difficult for beginners.

That’s why we sought the guidance of leather expert and star of The Repair Shop, Suzie Fletcher.

‘I’ve always had that natural curiosity for all things crafts. I’ve always been really into upcycling before it was trendy!’

One of the most memorable items Suzie has worked on was a dark wood table she picked up in her younger years.

‘It was beautiful with carvings around the edge. I managed to find matching chairs too. All my friends thought it was dull, but I thought it was beautiful. I stripped all the chairs back and from there I learned more about taking things apart and recovering them and it turned out to be a really lovely set.

‘When I moved to America, I ended up selling off a lot of furniture as I couldn’t take it with me including the table. Fast forward some years and I was in a pub. I was sat at this table and it was my table! I could see from the carvings and some bits that were missing and not right and I knew it was my table. It fit so well in the pub. It was like the circle of life of furniture!’

Not only does upcycled furniture look great and give you a great sense of achievement once you’ve completed a project, it’s also great for the environment!

‘When it comes to furniture, I am very much into conserving our materials and sustainability with the interest of being careful with our resources and protecting our planet,’ says Suzie.

Suzie has been working on the chest below during lockdown and she's currently using it to store shoes and boots!

Suzie's furniture

Suzie’s top tips

  1. Something like a very simple cupboard or table is a great place to start if you’ve never upcycled furniture before.
  1. When working on a wood project, the key is to first check for wood worm. If the item has this, it needs to be professionally taken care of before you take it in the home.
  1. It’s important to have a good space to do your renovations such as a garage or shed. You need to remain safe if using certain items or stripping paint. Learn how to use these products safely before making a start on your project.
chair restoration
  1. If it has been painted, strip off the paint to see what’s underneath. The wood underneath might be beautiful.
  1. You can often find good materials in second-hand shops or charity shops, Fabrics can be found in loads of places.
  1. You have to be really adaptable to what you can get your hands on. It might not exactly be what you had in mind, but then you look through different eyes and realise actually, I can make this work.
  1. The beauty we have with classified ads in newspapers and online is we can find so many second-hand pieces of furniture to upcycle if there’s nothing in your home.
  1. Youtube is great – there are so many brilliant how-to videos. Many company’s will often provide how to videos for when you use a product. I’m dyslexic so I prefer watching how something is done rather than read a book!
  1. It’s great to pass down your projects to carry on your family story with that piece of furniture by restoring and adding to that story.

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