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Budget-savvy Ways to Make the Old New

Finance & Money

Posted on Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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Holding on to that 65-year-old chest of drawers you’ve inherited might not be such a bad idea. The great thing about reupholstering is that you get to see potential in an item that would otherwise be overlooked. You get to make it your own and transform it into a style that best suits you and your taste.

Advantages of reupholstering


There is no limit to the things you can do with reupholstering projects, but let’s explore the benefits first:


  • You save money. What you’re looking to recreate is likely going to cost more if you buy it new than if you revamp an existing piece.
  • Full reign on the details. You get to choose the colour, material, accessories… it’s all up to you!
  • Tailor it to fit your décor. Instead of buying a brand-new item, you have the more affordable option of tailoring the reupholstered furniture to fit your décor and colour scheme.
  • Environmentally friendly. One less tree is chopped down to make a new piece of furniture and one less couch is dumped in a landfill.

What basics do you need?


If you’re thinking of DIY upholstery, here are a few things to consider and items you'll need. You’ll also need to establish whether this is going to be a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of exercise or an ongoing hobby. This will inform the kinds of tools you need to gather. These are a few must-have tools to include in your toolbox to get you started:


  • glue/hot-glue gun
  • staple remover
  • stapler
  • gloves
  • side cutter
  • mask
  • scissors
  • measuring tape
  • hammer


Anything else added to this list is a nice-to-have if this is a one-off.

Don’t rush to buy fabric


Don’t trap yourself into buying meters of fabric that you might not be excited about two weeks from now. Ask for a swatch of fabric you are interested in and sit with it for a bit. Look at it in different lighting, against your paint colour and with other items in the house, and then decide if you’d like to follow through. Also, think outside the box – find alternative options of fabric and material. Look at what you have at home or what might be the more affordable option. Materials like curtains, tablecloths, quilts and even picnic blankets may be great for a new outer for your scatter cushions.


Avoid the accessories


As tempting as it may be to add bling to your revamped pieces, hold off on it. Going down that path can work out to be a lot pricier than you think. Keep it simple. Rather choose statement fabric and finishing materials (paint, varnish, etc.)

Think outside the box


Reupholstery is not just limited to couches/sofas, there are endless possibilities to what you can do with the basic items in your house and backyard. We’re pretty sure you can make furniture out of almost anything if you put your mind to it. That vintage, hard-leather suitcase would make an amazing stool or ottoman. What about that bathtub you have gathering dust in the shed? It’d make a solid base for a garden bench. Don’t limit your creativity – get those juices flowing and make unique pieces. Here’s where you can start:


  • Look at what has potential to be revamped.
  • Identify what you’d need to make it look new.
  • Create a mood board so you can map out the direction of the piece.
  • Don’t limit your imagination – if you can imagine it you’re most likely able to make it.



Have fun with this project! Don’t take it too seriously. The lighter your approach, the more likely you are to create a space for you to really express your creative side and produce some amazing pieces of furniture and decorative items – while keeping your bank balance intact.