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Re-use, Reduce, & Up-cycle! Celebrating National Re-cycling Week.



Harness the Power of Up-cycling To Re-charge Your Decor.

We all know that it's everyone's job to try and make a difference when it comes to our environment. There are the simple things that are super easy to do like re-using containers instead of pulling out the plastic wrap, or bigger ones like investing in a renewable energy source to help supplement your homes power usage. 

When it comes to the world of furniture painting and decorating, re-cycling, or probably more specifically, up-cycling is something we can all do, and find lots of enjoyment in the process!

This week in Australia is National Re-cycling Week hosted by organisations such as Planet Ark, and Recycling Near You. There's a focus this year in what Planet Ark is doing not just on re-cycling our goods, but on re-using them in a purposeful way - in other words, up-cycling.


Take an old suitcase and make it into a contemporary classic! This pic from Pinterest shows the creative side of up-cycling.

What's the Difference? 

While both ¬†re-cycling and up-cycling reduces the amount of junk that goes to our landfills, up-cycling turns unwanted things¬†into a product of a higher quality ‚Äď while re-cycling¬†breaks products down into their raw materials to be made into totally new things.¬†Up-cycling creatively repurposes old materials while maintaining some of their original characteristics. This is the stuff that furniture¬†painters love to do!¬†

How Can You Be Part of The Revolution?

Here's a few tips to help you create something beautiful, useful and incredibly cost effective by re-using what you have, or saving other peoples cast-offs from landfill...

1. Have a hotch-potch of different colours, styles and eras of furniture in your home and dream of being able to purchase new furniture that gives your decor a cohesive feel?

Well, the good news is you likely won't have to! By painting your different pieces in a limited, coordinated palette of colours and maintaining this scheme throughout your home, you will make everything look like it has always belonged together! 

2. Re-purpose objects you already have for something else that will be more useful for you and your family.  

Have an old low line bookshelf that is looking worse for wear? Give it a coat of paint in one of the colours in your chosen scheme, add a few hooks, a couple of wire or rattan baskets in the shelves, and hey presto! You have a great kids station to put near the back door for shoes, hats, school backpacks, sunscreen etc... All in one handy spot. Cost to you? A little paint, an afternoons work and a couple of hooks from the hardware store...


Take an old small bookshelf, subtract a shelf, add a few hooks, and you have the perfect 'mudroom' storage area without taking up any valuable floorspace! Photo - Pinterest.


That's just one example of how you can re-purpose everyday objects around your home. Go for a wander and see what you don't really use anymore, or what you don't like style wise. Can it be given a new life and purpose elsewhere with a little creativity and up-cycle flair?  If you are short of ideas, head to the mother of all 'how to' social sites - Pinterest. You'll find lots of inspiration. You can check out our diy ideas boards on Pinterest here. 

3. Short on pieces to use at home, or just starting out? Head to the ultimate 'save me from landfill' spot and nab a bargain or two... The 'tip shop' at your local Garbage Disposal Facility will often have a great assortment of furniture and bric-a-brac available for purchase. Much of it in much better shape than you may imagine. 

If heading to the tip shop isn't your thing, ring your local council and ask when their next kerbside hard rubbish pick up day is (if they have one). I've lots of metropolitan based friends who have found some amazing treasures by doing an early morning drive through their local neighbourhood with a trailer in tow! 

Other obvious places to find something amazing to up-cycle are your local thrift stores like the Salvation Army Store or St Vincent De Paul Shop. There are many other charities that have local thrift shops or regular jumble sales as well. 


This Pinterest creative took a disused top from a buffet and hutch and turned it into a beautiful, farmhouse styled storage shelf.


4. Swap with friends. If you don't have what you want, but someone you know has one they don't need, see if you can negotiate a swap. Make the experience more fun and rewarding by organising an afternoon or two with your friend where you can work on your projects together (bottle of wine not essential, but worth considering!) 

Participate in a workshop & learn new skills

If you think you need to learn some skills before taking to your furniture with a paintbrush, head to google and find a studio that offers furniture painting workshops near you. At the Bird on the Hill Studio, we run BYO Small Piece Workshops and Beginners Classes on a regular basis in the lovely Riverina town of Temora in NSW. (Covid restrictions withstanding). If you can't make it along to a workshop, don't be scared to get in and have a go however. It's just paint after all! 


ÔĽŅClassic white is a popular choice for creating a unified look between¬†different styles of furniture in your home, but any combination of 1 to 3 colours¬†will usually work. This was¬†painted in our Chalk White mineral Paint by Brushed Through Time. @brushethroughtime


It really is so much fun, and very rewarding to add your own 'style stamp' to something that you've breathed new life into. If you're new to up-cycling or furniture painting, you can check out the Beginners Blog for a complete, step-by-step guide, and you can find everything you need to get started in our Beginners Bundle for Furniture Painting.




You can also see the 'how to" video by Alejandra from @the.little.key who created this stunning MCM styled drinks cabinet as a collaboration with Planet Ark on You Tube HERE using some of our beautiful bright colours like French Pear, Hot Gossip and Marigold. 

Happy painting (and up-cycling!)

Corrina xx