Interior designer reveals tried-and-tested tricks to saving thousands of pounds by ‘upcycling’ charity shop furniture into designer dupes


A BRITISH interior designer who ‘upcycles’ charity shop furniture and turns them into designer dupes has revealed her top tips on how to get the most from pre-loved items.

Lynne Lambourne, from Oxfordshire, shared her step-by-step transformation on a wardrobe from charity shop the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Lynne Lambourne shared her step-by-step transformation on a wardrobe

The designer took to the store, which has numerous pieces of second hand furniture, to show how her simple tricks can give a battered wardrobe a makeover, so it looks like something from a magazine.

She told the Mail Online: “With a bit of paint and some imagination, you can create something very similar to something that’s already in the shops.
“It’s all about looking at pre-loved pieces with fresh eyes – it’s true that one man’s trash really can be another man’s treasure.”

Lynne started off by scouting out a wardrobe similar to ones she had seen in interior magazines and loved, but buying them cheap at the BHF.

Lynne scouted the wardrobe from charity shop the British Heart Foundation
She begins the transformation by cleaning and painting the pre-loved pieces

She encourages savvy shoppers to look in charity shops across the country for bargains, as well as visiting car boot sales and checking out second-hand online sites if you can’t find anything in store.

Once you’ve picked out a statement piece, she stresses it’s important to thoroughly deep clean it to ‘get rid of old furniture polish and dirt’ that’s built up.

“Sugar soap is the best way to remove traces of polish and dirt that can affect paint finishes,” she explains. “Then you can work in with some chalk paint.”

Starting off with white, Lynne believes the best way to transform furniture is to work in multiple light layers of paint, rather than slathering it on too thick.

Lynne believes the best way to transform furniture is to work in multiple light layers of paint

And for an old style finish, she chooses a grey a lighter grey paint first under a darker grey, opting to sand back some of the paint to make it look more rustic.

“Several layers of colour add to the character of the piece when you sand it back – which is when the different colour layers are revealed,” she added.

Painting, sanding down and repeating is one of the best ways to make furniture look loved without ageing it, Lynne believes, which is key to many high end furniture pieces.

Investing in a good paint brush is key to this step – as bristle marks and bad coverage won’t do for this kind of DIY job.

Lynne says you can often create the same unique pieces found in magazines with just a lick of paint
For the inside of her wardrobe, Lynne added an extra touch with a cactus-print wallpaper

Wrapping brushes in tin foil in between coats keeps the brush ends moist and prevents clogging – and it’s always important to clean between every painting session.

For the inside of her wardrobe, Lynne believes a touch of colour on the shelves and back using wallpaper can make any wardrobe look a little more expensive and exotic.

Opting for a cactus print, Lynne encourages wannabe DIY-ers to look at the on-trend prints for inspiration.

“The inside of furniture is often left but I love creating that extra element to a piece to give it a really individual and unique feel,” she explained.

The wardrobe was given a used and loved aesthetic without looking dated

Finally, to give it that ‘new furniture’ shine, Lynne uses a clear wax applied in two layers to give projects a professional finish.

“With some paint, a bit of creativity and some elbow grease, amazing things can be created,” she concluded. “It’s low cost and unique, and saves something pre-loved from going to landfill.”

In other news, a savvy homeowner revealed how she saved THOUSANDS from upcycling old furniture – here’s how you can do it too.


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