Trash to Treasure: Upcycled Furniture Ideas

ECOS 04/15/2024

We’re all very familiar with the importance of recycling and its benefits for the environment. But have you heard of upcycling? Refurbishing goods for reuse, also known as "upcycling," is re-invent something new from something some might consider useless. It’s amazing to see the conversion from trash to treasure – upcycled furniture ideas are endless! Check out our list of ideas and Pinboard of inspiration!

There are loads of reasons to upcycle. First of all, when you repurpose old items, they stay out of the landfill and they reduce the demand for virgin materials, both of which are big wins for the environment. A couple of other great reasons to upcycle is avoiding the high cost of retail priced furniture and having the ability to personalize your decor. There's also a certain sense of accomplishment in turning trash into treasure!

Happily, finding old furniture and supplies for upcycling is incredibly easy these days. Check out thrift stores, salvage stores, Craigslist, yard/rummage sales, and Freecycle. Sometimes you can even find hidden gems in dumpsters, alleys, and people's front curbs. The hunt can be just as exhilarating as the process of creating your waste-to-wonderful piece! If you're short on inspiration, simply search the Internet and sites like Pinterest to find DIY tips and encouragement.

Potential Project Ideas

Pallet Furniture

Type “pallets” into a Pinterest search and you’ll be stunned by the scores of projects that pop up. Think headboard, outdoor furniture like tables and benches, indoor tables, and rustic shelving. (Be sure to check out our blog for tips if pallet projects pique your interest: What you need to know to safely build with pallets.)

Cast Iron Bathtub Transformation

Cast iron tubs aren't the easiest to work with, but they're worth the effort – and given they're cast iron, super durable. Slice it in half, add colorful cushions, and it becomes a chic sofa. Breakfast at Tiffany's, anyone?

Coffee Table Creations

  • Paint and top with a cushion for a bed bench. 
  • Paint the legs and cover the surface with zero-VOC chalkboard paint* for the kids' art room.
  • Combine with an old headboard and some cushions for custom seating.
*Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use). Learn more about VOCs and our commitment to healthier paints here.

Vintage Door Do-Overs

  • Refinish, add legs and custom-cut glass for a unique dining table.
  • Sand it down, stain, or paint. Cut to size and add legs to turn into a matching coffee table and end table.

Entertainment Center or Armoire Inspiration

  • Paint and add baskets to adapt into storage for tools or gardening supplies.
  • Paint and repurpose into a bar, complete with bottle, and wine glass holders.

Drawer or Vintage Suitcase Switch

  • Add some spindles for legs and you have a side table.
  • Take it outside and turn it into a planter.

More Trash to Treasure – Upcycled Furniture Ideas

Follow ECOS Paints' board Upcycled Furniture Ideas on Pinterest.

If you’re new at upcycling, you don’t have to take on a tough project. For many pieces, a simple coat of paint can make a world of difference. For tips on painting old furniture, check out our post: How to paint all types of cabinets and furnitureDon't be afraid to get creative with stencils, fabric and cabinet pulls/knobs—they can really dress up a piece. You can even try painting upholstery. The only limit to upcycling furniture is your imagination!

Do you have any upcycling ideas, experiences, or inspiration? Share your thoughts in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a $200 gift card for ECOS Paints!

Here’s how to enter:

UPDATE: Congratulations to our lucky winner, Alita! Thanks to everyone for participating and watch our blog for May's giveaway launching soon!


In the comments below, let us know your upcycling ideas, experiences, or inspiration. It can be from our ideas above, or something completely different. OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
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For each additional entry, leave a separate comment letting us know what you’ve done (and what your profile name is where relevant). If you’ve already done one of the actions, feel free to leave a comment letting us know you have previously. You can enter up to 9 times by taking all of the actions listed above and the more entries you make, the more chances you have at winning! One random winner will be selected on April 30, 2016! Good luck!!! No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must be U.S. residents. Click through for full sweepstakes rules.

CATEGORIES Design Inspiration