upcycle with antiques

Find out about the new phenomenon and why it’s even better than recycling.

Renovating your home for a fresh start and new look this year doesn’t mean you have to buy everything brand new from a store.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons to build or renovate from recycled materials. Not only does it save the environment, but it also saves the cash in your pocket!

Recycling building materials, or anything else for that matter, means that the cost of the recycled item is more than likely going to be a fraction of the brand new version from a store.

But creating an entire house out of recycled materials is a rather niche thing and is not possible for everyone. However, there are plenty of ways to incorporate reused materials into your home’s 2019 look.

Have you considered the lots in our antique auctions?

Think unique and vintage, cute trinkets, classic furniture, old school quality and excellent value for money!

Take a little more time to look through all our antique auctions and you will find plenty of unique items you might otherwise miss out on.

Creating new pieces for your home from existing items makes for a one of a kind design. But that doesn’t mean repurposed pieces have to look like they’re recycled.

upcycle with antiques

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of taking an unused object and using your creativity to recycle it into something that has new look and purpose. Upcycling is sometimes known as creative reuse.

But upcycling must give an item an improved purpose. Using a coat hanger to get your keys out of your locked car isn’t upcycling because the twisted hanger is still destined to be discarded after you’ve finished, which is the opposite intent of upcycling.

Upcycling prevents all kinds of items from ending up being discarded including furniture, knick-knacks, tools and clothing. Instead of throwing them away to make room for new things, just give them a makeover or a new function!

Of course, downcycling exists and is just as useful as upcycling. Downcycling has a lot more work as it involves stripping down items to component parts to repurpose them.

Upcycling has become a major trend and in 2019 you can be sure to see businesses popping up built around upcycling and transforming old, unwanted items into fashionable and incredibly unique homewares.

So why not do it yourself?

Why Upcycle using antiques?

Antiques, particularly antique furniture, are the best thing to upcycle for a few reasons!

Firstly, antiques were made to last! In this day and age, everything is about “fast fashion” with trends and styles always changing.

Furniture is made cheaper and faster than ever before using modern techniques and is only designed to last a few years. 

Upcycling an antique lounge is a great way to breathe new life into a family treasure that will stay around for decades to come. Imagine the stories an upcycled lounge or dining table could tell if it came from the turn of the century!

Plus, antiques will never go out of style… because they’ve they’ve turned into classic pieces. Antique items have great financial value too because of their craftsmanship and in some cases, their rarity.

With so many people sharing their upcycling tips and tricks online, and with step-by-step guides readily available, there has never been a better time to get started on upcycling an antique of your own!

upcycle with antiques

How to get started!

But first things first… you have to choose a second hand item you love! And what better place to start looking than our wide range of antique auction. Even our UNRESERVED Affordable Furniture auctions have some hidden gems.

Some simple sanding and painting may be all you need to do to transform these pre-loved pieces into something you really cherish. If you start with the basics, you’ll soon grow the confidence to be ready for more ambitious projects!

When browsing through all the items in our auctions, always keep an open mind because you never know what you’re going to find! Think creatively on the spot instead and let your imagination run wild.

Remember the key word is repurpose, so feed sacks might become rustic cushion covers or chair upholstery, or old doors can become a new dining room table. Here are just a few ideas using items you can find in our auctions!

  • Turn antique glass bottles into vases for flowers. Finding old milk or alcohol bottles can bring a funky and nostalgic vibe to your fresh bouquet.
  • Lean an old ladder up against a wall to hang towels, blankets or scarves on the rungs. This looks particularly good with a well worn out wooden ladder.
  • Not only can a front door be awesome as a dining table top but it can also be used as a unique headboard behind a bed. Give it a sand and a paint and it can suit any room!
  • Flip a big metal or wooden bucket upside down and it becomes a rustic bedside table. You can also turn an old window pane into a mirror super easily with speciality spray paints!

The opportunities are endless and only limited by your imagination. So what are you waiting for?

Upcycling is good for the environment, saves money, and can be a fun and creative hobby or even a business! Think of how satisfying it could be to turn something you wouldn’t normally look twice at, into a gorgeous piece for your home.

Feeling inspired?

Keep up to date with all our Antique and Homeware auctions by registering here. You never know what you will find!

Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.