Furniture Makeovers

Give furniture a new lease of life with our easy step-by-step projects. Learn how to sand, paint and stain tables, chairs, bookshelves, beds, cabinets and more. Repair cracks in timber, patch old veneer, reupholster chairs, and replace knobs or handles to update hand-me-down or secondhand pieces.

How To Upcycle A Veneer Wine Rack

This wine rack was bought from an op-shop and updated with spray paint 

Spotted at an op-shop and bought for a couple of dollars, this veneer wine rack got a facelift and is now a fun and functional piece that would look great in any kitchen or living space.  You’ll be ready to pop your bubbles when entertaining and...
Update A Plant Stand With Paint

A white plant stand is given stripes and teamed with a painted wheel-backed chair

Salvaged during a council clean-up, a white plant stand showed the potential to be turned into a standout piece of furniture.  It was given a light sand all over with abrasive paper and painted in Taubmans Blossom.  Stripes on the tabletop were...
Upcycle A Wicker Chair With Spray Paint And Cushion Covers

New vibrant cushion covers transform this wicker armchair into a beautiful piece of furniture

When spraying wicker, it’s worth investing in a spray gun because it’s easier and quicker, plus you’ll get a better finish. And it’s bound to be used again, as you’re sure to catch the recycling bug. This chair cost $20 at a garage sale, and al...
How To Revamp An Old Cane Table
This cane table was in a sorry state when it was salvaged from a heap of sodden furniture on a nature strip. The paint had peeled off and it was covered with cracks and divots. The wicker around the legs was missing in places and the original top...
Use Spray Paint To Revamp Roadside Finds

Turn a plain basket into a dazzling picnic hamper

This basket and folding chair were roadside finds. All it took to upcycle them was a quick wash and spray. We used Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint + Primer in Key Lime for the basket and Lagoon for the chair. When you’re spraying, work in a wel...
Flower Tins Made Of Rope
Make rope-wrapped vases for cut flowers from the garden.  Remove the lids and labels from different-sized tins of fruit, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water.  Attach the end of a length of rope to the base of a tin with a hot glue gun, u...
Make A Mirror Frame From Rope
Round mirrors are a great addition to a hallway but can be very expensive and too heavy to wall-mount. To save the plasterboard and your wallet, give a lightweight mirror a rope frame and hang it up DIY.  Round flat mirrors about 400mm in diame...
Make Hanging Shelves Made Of Rope
Create storage in the kitchen or an open-plan living and dining room to display ornamental items like jugs.  Turn two timber boards about 500mm long into a pair of hanging shelves joined by rope you can buy at the hardware store. While the idea...
How To Spray Paint Plastic Chairs
White plastic chairs are a backyard staple, as they’re budget-friendly and stackable. To transform plain chairs into party-ready seating, all you need is a couple of cans of spray paint. To get the designer paint-dipped look DIY, use painter’s ta...
DIY Grass Stools
Artificial turf has come a long way since its debut in the 1970s. Not only did it look unrealistic, but it also had a habit of causing friction burns if anyone came into contact with it. Now fake turf looks more like real grass but without the ma...
Make Citrus Stools

For a playful pop or neon colour and retro style, paint outdoor stools

Give metal outdoor stools a fresh, fruity new look. Clean them with soapy water, then apply two coats of metal primer. Draw citrus slices with different-sized segments on paper and cut out. Secure to the seats with tape, masking off the pips. Pa...
Make A Cushion Basket
Turn a wicker clothes hamper, about $20 from bargain shops, into a storage basket for outdoor cushions.  Paint the basket, then make a bag liner from laminated cotton. Add castors to the base and an MDF top so it can double as a drinks trolley....
DIY Woven Seat
Revamp a beach or camping chair that’s gone past its use-by date into a comfortable and colourful seat for relaxing in the back garden. A chair with an aluminium frame and plastic armrests is easy to make over. Remove the existing canvas or webbi...
Turn Flowerpots Into Tables
Garden furniture has to be tough and durable, as it is exposed to the elements all year round, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.  Plastic flowerpots or fibreglass planters can be painted and used to create colourful outdoor side tables.  ...
How To Turn Old Tyres Into A Table

Give old tyres a new lease on life 

Give old car tyres a new lease of life as a coffee table. Choose tyres about 650mm in diameter and paint them white to contrast against grass or timber decking.  Working in a well-ventilated area on a dropsheet, hold the can 300mm from the tyres,...
How To Paint A Timber Foldout Table
A small folding table can be painted to make it suitable for use outdoors. Give it a garden theme with a floral top, using a stencil and spray paint in bright blue and white. Use it as a side table for books and other items when relaxing on a dec...
How To Reupholster A Chair
Bring a charity shop bargain bang up to date with simple techniques for DIY reupholstery.  To give an old chair a new look, all you need is a couple of metres of fabric, a staple gun, scissors and a packet of tacks. The supplies can be easily fou...
Use A Branch To Make A Coat Rack

Keeping coats, hats, bags and other accessories tidy and within reach is easy with a coat rack to hang them on

This stand is made from one long branch, with forked branches used as legs and small branches as braces, all attached with screws. It features antique shutter clasps as hooks, but you can use any type. Cut a 200mm disc with a jigsaw from 19mm p...
Paint Metal Furniture
Coats of paint on metal furniture will flake and peel after a few years of wear and tear and exposure to sun and rain.  This furniture set had multiple layers of paint, which were peeling to reveal the many colours it had been painted over the ye...
Restore An Outdoor Timber Table
Stained timber furniture makes a fantastic addition to a backyard, but without proper care its colour will start to fade.  Left to the elements timber furniture will eventually rot, becoming unsafe to use and tricky to repair. Restoring faded tim...
Protect Wicker Furniture

Extend the life span of wicker furniture by adding a protective coat of timber varnish

Keeping wicker furniture outside leaves it exposed to full sun and water which degrades the weave.  Protective coatings and natural oils become dried out, reducing the wicker’s resistance to the elements. Adding a protective coat of timber varn...
Framed Mosaic Mirror
Most mirrors around the home are functional pieces on bathroom cabinets or wardrobe doors. Create a decorative feature DIY by giving a plain mirror a timber frame and mosaic border.  Cut a 1200 x 900 x 16mm MDF panel, $18, down to 1170 x 870mm. B...
In this DIY video, we show you how to revamp a plain timber table to create a designer piece of furniture. First, measure the table and cut a piece of timber veneer or craft ply to size. Use a sharp new blade and a steel ruler as a guide. Spray the e...
Sponsored article Sponsored article Sponsored article A designer framed mirror could cost hundreds of dollars, but you can create a similar item at home for under $50. All you need is a frameless mirror, balsa wood, spray paint and Selleys Kwik...
Make A Traditional Oil Cloth Rug
Give ordinary fabric a treatment borrowed from the early settlers to turn it into a statement floor covering.   A replica floor runner kept at Old Government House in Parramatta, NSW was the inspiration for this rug project.  The oilcloth was m...
Make A Sunburst Mirror
Handyman stylist Gema Beneitez made a gilded ornament using a mirror, a round frame from an art supply shop, timber moulding and metallic paint. ‘I had a glazier cut a round mirror to fit the frame I bought and attached it using glazing pins pushed...
Metallic Table , Handyman magazine,
Cubes are versatile pieces of furniture that can do double duty as a side table while providing storage.  To make a plain timber cube table more eye-catching, cover every surface with wallpaper, including the inside.  We used Hicks by Kelly Hop...
Striped Stools
A lot of kitchen and dining stools are made from timber and finished with a clear stain or painted in white. To make them unique and inject colour into a neutral space, wallpaper the stool tops and leave the legs. We used Spice from the Poise c...
Make A Geometric headboard
A headboard anchors a bed in a space, adding dimension and providing a backdrop for a pillow arrangement.  To give an ensemble or low-framed bed the visual impact of a bedhead, create one on the wall with wallpaper.  We used Highbury from the A...
Upcycled Designer Cabinet and Stool , Handyman magazine, DIY,
Timber drawers and a piano bench are sanded, painted then updated with fabric for use in a home office.  Dark stained timber furniture with good bones can easily be lightened up DIY to suit a contemporary colour scheme.  This filing cabinet was...
Paint-Spatter Sideboard
Turn a traditional piece into a contemporary work of art by splashing out and breaking the rules of painting. Look for a three-door sideboard for this two-tone paint effect so it can be broken into thirds, leaving enough room for the spatter effe...
Make A Silhouette Stencil Cabinet
Update a small, battered cupboard by giving it a neutral background featuring a simple gloss black design. Give a mismatched timber cabinet a designer makeover by painting it grey and stencilling a silhouette in gloss black paint.  To add furni...
Upcycling furniture, Handyman Magazine,

Designer Tina Hutton converted this old timber sideboard into a profitable item worth about $700

As an art director and stylist for lifestyle magazines Tina Hutton enjoys a creative job but furniture is her real passion.  Says Tina, ‘I’ve always loved the architecture of furniture. The lines, the shapes, the effect it has in a room.’ Tina...
How To Make a Stained Veneer Table
To turn a bargain melamine table into a designer piece all you need is a homemade stencil, contact adhesive, timber stain and a sheet of veneer.   Measure the tabletop accurately and cut a sheet of veneer to size using a craft blade and metal rul...
Make A Veneer Pendant Light Shade
Give a pendant light a new look by using two embroidery hoops and a small piece of 6mm thick plywood to make a frame for a shade. A sheet of timber veneer is cut and wrapped around the frame to make a two-tier drum shade then finished with Scandi...
How To Decorate A Hallway Cabinet With Veneer
Decorate the doors of a melamine cabinet with rows of timber veneer with a scalloped edge. Measure the doors then make a template of the scallop design and calculate the number of rows needed.  Here, the total width of both doors was divided by...
Yellow Chair Makeover
Use simple paint finishes and repurposing techniques to give old timber pieces contemporary style.  Old timber furniture that is structurally sound can be easily reinvented using paint, with good preparation the key to achieving a professional fi...
A vice

Fix a loose joint early to prevent long-term problems

Fixing timber furniture can sometimes be harder than it needs to be. This is because there are small aspects of the job that, if done incorrectly, can sabotage your DIY efforts. Follow our rules for repairing timber furniture and get the job done rig...
filling scratch in timber furniture with tint
Remove scratches from your timber furniture and get it looking brand new again
There are various ways to remove or disguise scratches, depending on the damage and the surface. Here are our tips on how to deal with scratches on waxed wood, varnished wood and solid wood furniture. Waxed wood Retouch crayons or pens can be used...
Refresh damaged timber furniture with simple techniques for cleaning surfaces and filling chips and dents.               Timber furniture with a clear finish that shows the grain has a timeless appeal although the dings and blemishes that build up ov...
Revive old or battered furniture by applying a new finish.   First you will need to prepare the timber for a new finish. Smooth dents with tinted timber filler and clean out carved decorative features then sand the surface to remove built-up grime an...
Recycled kitchen trolley

Old timber can be refashioned into beautiful, functional pieces of furniture

Handyman reader Damien Kelly was inspired to build a kitchen island trolley after flicking through his collection of Handyman magazines and seeing a similar project in the February 2009 issue. Damien used reclaimed timber to build his trolley, kee...