If you’re on a tight budget but keen to make some trendy updates to your rental property’s interior – upcycling could be for you.

The trendy new movement uses old and discarded materials and transforms them into beautiful bespoke pieces – that you certainly wouldn’t find on the High Street.

Whether it’s taking drab old furniture and giving it a new lease of life with a bright and colourful paint job or using ladders as a shelving unit – there are thousands of examples of how to upcycle on the internet.

But where to begin? With such a wealth of inspiration available, here are our top tips on how to prepare for an upcycle project.

Think outside the box

Don’t be constrained by the images of sleek homes presented in catalogues, there are many different ways to give your home an authentic feel on a tight budget.

Like instagram user 2birdstudio, who managed to turn an old round wooden table into a chic shelf and coat hanger that would be perfect fit in any hallway.


By using only part of the table and repainting the table’s legs in French shabby-chic style, delicately painting the word ‘Welcome’ across it and adding coat hooks – 2birdstudio managed to completely repurpose the table.

And that is just one example. You could use old corks to house small plants or cacti and attach them to the wall, repurpose some old books into a knife block or make an old bath into a couch.


If you’re short on storage you could even use old pasta sauce jars and transform them into storage for grains or anything else you can think of.

Be prepared and plan ahead

Upcycling can take some time and effort, depending on the project you have in mind. If you’re hoping to transform an already painted piece of furniture – bare in mind that you will need to strip it first.

Depending on the state of the piece of furniture, this could take some sweat and maybe a few tears, but the reward will be worth it.

Make sure to plan your design before, the paint you plan to use, any other materials, and most importantly – tools.

If you don’t have a huge tool kit at home, you could look into borrowing or renting them. Edinburgh and Stirling already have tool libraries, with a third one planned for Glasgow.

Don’t be scared to bring the old in with the new

You don’t have to spend a fortune on an antique piece of furniture, when a table or cabinet from a charity shop would do a perfectly good job.

And the possibilities are endless – with a lick of bright green paint, or even orange, a boring piece of wooden furniture can be transformed from drab to fab.

You could even buy new door handles or small accessories to jazz up existing doors or cupboards – and bring them into the 21st century.


Where to find inspiration

The internet has a wealth of how-to guides and video tutorials for upcycling projects, and social media is full of gorgeous pictures for inspiration.

You don’t have to look far, search for #upcycle or #upcycling on Instagram and Pinterest for some amazing examples of what you can achieve on a tight budget and with a little effort.

Also, fashion magazines and websites can be a great source of inspiration for the latest colour schemes and trends.

The catwalk is full of beautiful ideas, and with a little bit of creativity they could even inspire an original feature for your home.