Revive and Thrive: Upcycling Office Furniture for Sustainability and Style

Revive and Thrive: Upcycling Office Furniture for Sustainability and Style

After years of loving use, your favorite desk and office chair might start looking a little worse for wear. There are many creative ways you can upcycle old furniture, including reviving it with a coat of varnish or even turning it into something completely new. Here are 10 ideas for repurposing your home office decor.

1. Give Side Tables a Fresh Coat of Paint

Turn a boring, overlooked table into a statement piece with a bright coat of blue or green paint. Start by stripping off the old color with sandpaper or an orbital sander. Dust it off, let it dry and get painting. Paint over the knobs to make them match or choose new, colorful knobs to make the piece stand out even more.

2. Make Decorations

You can repurpose the wood from an old desk, shelf or chair to build any number of home furnishings. For example, you can make custom wooden picture frames, signs, planters or Christmas decorations. Another idea is to create carved wooden appliques you can glue onto doors and cabinets.

If you live in a state with an interesting shape, make a wooden cutout of the border and hang it on the wall. You can always make a cutting board if you live in Wyoming or Colorado!

3. Turn a Door into a Tabletop

Your office door might be dated, but it can make an eye-popping surface for a vintage coffee table. A solid wood door is the sturdiest option for a table. You can even leave the knob on it! Just sand it down, paint it and attach table legs to one side.

Does the door have a lot of indentations in it? Consider using them as spots to hold decorations like potted plants or knickknacks. You can also attach a glass sheet to the tabletop to give it a uniform surface.

4. Build Shelves

If your office desk is beyond repair, cut it up to make shelves. Sand away any flaws, and give your new shelves a fresh coat of paint or wood stain. When you mount them on the wall and decorate them, you’ll hardly recognize your old desk.

5. Refinish Wooden Furniture

The color of your wooden office shelf might be 20 years out of date, but that’s no reason to write it off. Stain or refinish the surface to bring out its natural beauty.

Start by sanding the piece down or applying a paint stripper to remove the old color. Clean everything up with mineral spirits. Then, apply a pre-stain wood conditioner.

Add the stain and let it dry. Finish the job with a coat or two of polycrylic protective finish, protecting the piece and giving it a gorgeous luster.

6. Make Toys

Another creative way to upcycle old office furniture is to make wooden kids’ toys with it. Carve it into building blocks, the letters of the alphabet or wooden animals. If you’re really crafty, make something more detailed, like a model airplane or boat.

7. Use a Table as a Kitchen Island

A free-standing table offers a unique twist on the traditional kitchen island. Take an old office table and attach a butcher block to the top, and you’ve got yourself a kitchen-ready surface to prep food on. Stain or varnish it for extra color. One of the nice things about using a table for a kitchen island is you can move it when you need to, setting it aside for events or repurposing it to become an elevated dining table.

8. Convert a Desk into a Changing Station

With a little DIY know-how, an old office desk can become the perfect base for a diaper changing table. The main thing that differentiates a desk from a changing table is a lip around the edge to keep the changing pad — and your baby — from falling off. You can cut wooden boards to size, then screw them onto the top of the desk to create a protective border.

9. Get Creative With Stencils

One of the easiest ways to upcycle office furniture to make it more stylish is with stencils. Use them to impart gorgeous flower patterns, stars, geometric shapes, or other designs onto a tired desk or chair. Don’t be afraid to get bold with color and gloss.

10. Add Wheels to a Table

A stationary table can become a rolling bar cart with ease. This technique works best on a small side table with a shelf underneath. Using a power drill, add table caster wheels to the legs, making sure they can support the table’s weight. Use your new mobile cart to hold books, drinks or spices in a small kitchen space.

Breathing New Life into Old Furniture

Upcycling furniture is a great way to revitalize your office space without breaking the bank. It’s good for the environment, too, since it extends the life of existing materials. So, have fun, think outside the box and let your natural creativity shine through. Your office will look brand new in no time.

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