Upcycling furniture is a great way of giving new life to existing products from around your home; reducing the strain on your purse strings as well as making a positive impact on the environment and allowing your creativity to flow.

We have just finished repurposing an old pine bedroom set of drawers, bedside table and wardrobe. The furniture is solidly built but is 25 years old, well used with scuffs and ring marks from spilled drinks. It is also finished in an old-fashioned varnish which gives the wood an orange hue.


This furniture is intended for a 4 year-old girl’s bedroom who is determined to have a pink colour scheme. Our design uses pink and cream chalk paint layered to create a subtle pink sheen to the drawers.

New, ceramic door knobs add a sense of fun and changing the feet from the rounded bun feet to a more modern cone shape bring the drawers up to date – ready for another 25 years of use.


So how did we create this look?

The body of the furniture has been painted with Grand Illusions chalk paint in Vanille. The beauty of chalk paint is that you don’t need to remove the existing varnish – just paint straight over the top. (We trialled the difference between sanding and not – and it was definitely quicker not to sand, with no visible difference to the end result.) Due to the dark knots in the wood, we needed about 6 coats – applying the paint with a small gloss roller available from any DIY store reduces the look of paint strokes and gives an even flat finish. Scuffs and chips in the wood have been filled with wood filler to create a good-as-new finish.

The drawers are where the styling comes in. We mixed Grand Illusions chalk paint colours Sel de Mer with a small amount of Opera to create the required shade of pink. This was applied to the drawers first. We needed 3 coats to get a good cover. We then applied 2 coats of Vanille on top of the pink almost covering it entirely.


Once the paint was totally dry, we began to sand the Vanille paint to reveal the pink underneath. Use a very fine grade sandpaper; we used Norton Expert Super Fine 180. Start at the edges and corners, where you would naturally get more wear and tear for a natural look. In this case, we also brought some of the colour through on the drawer front, creating a random, unique hint of pink.

Once we were happy with the finished look, we covered everything in 2 coats of acrylic flat varnish, retaining the matte look but adding a durable finish.

To add the finishing touches we added new ceramic door knobs to each drawer. These knobs were hand picked by the aforementioned 4 year-old and are intentionally random in colour and shape so that we can add other shades to the colour scheme of the room. We also changed the feet to create a more streamlined, modern look.


The finished effect is actually better than I had imagined. And our 4 year-old client is currently grinning like a Cheshire Cat!