Walk into many contemporary homes and you are greeted by a generic mix of square, plain furniture – lacking in inspiration, beauty and style.
If you are anything like me the sight of this boxy, modern furniture with exorbitant price tags and no design or artistic value, will drive you to distraction. Thankfully, modern tastes seem to be moving towards a more eclectic vision where multiple eras and styles are combining to create vivid and interesting spaces.
Shabby chic, french provincial, french apartment and Hamptons style are just a few of the many variants which are currently on trend. Each one focussed on elegance, beautiful lines and casual chic.
Creating a room which inspires gasps of appreciation is rarely going to come from buying at your local furniture retailer. The value and reward for ‘upcycling’ furniture to make it a unique feature piece, extends far beyond the cheaper price tag – it turns you into an artist.
Beyond the flaws
It can be difficult to see beyond surface flaws when viewing second hand furniture. A magnificent piece which has worn upholstery or fabric can be a deal-breaker for many when in fact, it can simply mean a visit to fabric suppliers who specialise in stunning furniture fabrics, to begin the transformation into a ‘better than new’ piece.
Specialised fabric suppliers can give you the ability to match and blend eclectic styles of furniture into a cohesive theme by using uniform or complementary, coloured and patterned materials.
Painting a picture
Perfection has taken a back seat to the rustic. Distressed paint and woodwork which exudes a country shabby chic is now on trend. Chalk paint is being used to great effect to breathe a new life back into dated pieces.
Even the most ugly dark furniture from the 70’s and 80’s can be reformed through some strategic paint and a few decorative additions.
With French Provincial still the hot interior design trend at the moment, adding furniture appliques, motifs and moldings can take an ordinary piece into the realms of the extraordinary.
Online sites such as Ebay can be a goldmine for these easy to use yet highly-effective decorations. Simply glue them on, then paint – et voila!
Second-hand and used furniture is in abundant supply. Auction rooms, Ebay and Op shops are all rich sources of cheap, quality furniture. Measure your spaces and take note of measurements given for a specific piece, as pictures can be quite deceiving when buying online.
To avoid introducing styles, colours or genres which clash or do not compliment each other, it pays to do a little planning.
* Find your style
* Set a colour scheme which compliments your room and home
* Collect pictures and build a vision
Try to purchase pieces which won’t involve too much effort for return. As an example of this, a polished coffee table will require extensive sanding before painting so select something simpler. Conversely, a magnificent chesterfield lounge with solid bones will be worth the time and financial investment to bring it back to its former glory.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. The beauty of buying second hand is that your cash outlay is generally much lower so you can afford to be a little daring. If your ideas don’t quite pan out you can always repaint.
The only way to build something special is to do something special. The self-satisfaction from having created a magical piece of furniture yourself, far outweighs spending a pile of money on new furniture. Give it a try, you may just surprise yourself and delight your family and friends!