From the attic to the kitchen
How to give new life to the forgotten objects upcycling them
A new year began full of good intentions: we have reduced plastic waste, improved our lunch break, started planning the garden and now that we feel much greener, we do not like anymore what surrounds us, nothing reflects our mood and taste, starting from the furnishing of our home. Ok, maybe we are exaggerating, but who has not found himself several times to thinking of wanting to change air, change the color of the walls according to the mood, change all the furniture to get closer to the image that suggested by the glossy magazines of interior design?
There is nothing wrong with desiring an environment that reflects our personality and makes us feel at ease in the various stages of our lives. Furnishing does not necessarily have to be static: if as a young person the house can only be considered a place of passage with time it can become the place where roots are planted; personalizing the environment in which we live adapting it to our needs and transformations brings undeniable psychological benefits, such as increased productivity, improved mood and decreased stress.
The fundamental problem of furniture changingis that you produce numerous bulky waste doing it: tables, wardrobes and bookcases still in excellent condition are often thrown away in bins or worse, burned in illegal bonfires to avoid the task of disposing of them properly: more than 40% of waste in the world is incinerated uncontrolled in bonfires that emit gases and particles harmful to health and weeds on the planet.
The furniture of recent production, moreover, pollute our homes by releasing every day a dangerous mixture of chemical substances absorbed during the various stages of production: the chipboard or plywood, assembled with adhesives or polished with chemicals, release the so-called VOC (volatile organic compounds) such as formaldehyde, acetone and so on, which can cause sensitization and allergy and among chronic effects damage to the kidneys, the liver and in extreme cases cancerous forms. Unfortunately, in Italy there is no specific regulation for the control of indoor air quality: to avoid these substances, only furniture in natural and organic material should be purchased, certified free of chemical treatments.
So what can we do if we do not like that swinging sofa anymore? If it’s just a matter of aesthetics we can try with upcycling!
Upcycling is a creative reuse, different from simple recycling, where the discarded object finds new life through an imaginative remake that, in addition to a new appearance, gives the object a new economic and artistic value. This method not only allows us to save the costs of disposal of old furniture and purchase of new objects, but in a perfectly environmentally friendly way and without wasting resources or polluting allows us to enhance products destined for waste or forgotten in the attics.
Grandma’s old mahogany sideboard can become a surprising shabby chic cupboard, the horrible 70’s burl chair can turn into a colorful unique piece of design. And the anonymous coat rack in cashews? A wonderfully vintage hat hanger!
If you do not have old furniture or items to change, the number two option is to visit a flea market or sell / trade through an ad site. This method allows us to derive a small profit from the furniture still in good condition and to buy new ones at excellent prices: older furniture is often synonymous with good workmanship, releases less VOC and has a very trendy vintage look, very good to upcycle.
I assure you that creative reuse is simple and fun, especially if you do it with the right paints.
I transformed my aunt’s old furniture into a country chic kitchen using Chalk Paint, a very pure and ecological product with very low VOC, which can be spread on objects without the need to pretreat the surfaces. The Chalk Paint is easy to use and quick drying, it sticks on everything without sanding and allows excellent results even if you are not a professional do-it-yourself; the final effect is opaque, dense and perfect for those who want to obtain a delicate result and should be finished only with a specific wax that cures in a few days. Just a coat of paint and a few details, like new knobs and handles, make an old piece of furniture look like new.
To take a cue from the work of normal people who are dedicated to the upcycle of old furniture you can browse Pinterest results here; to purchase Chalk Paint or other suitable natural paints, visit Annie Sloan’s website.
Say no to furniture made in series! With this method you will not only help the environment and the wallet, but you will create beautiful unique pieces to furnish your home in an original and green way.
Written by non-native speaker: please excuse any mistake.