I know upcycling is a bit of buzzword at the moment, and that people have used second hand furniture forever. But recently, in the last 20 years or so, there has been a shift towards a lot of societal pressure to buy everything new, because secondhand or used means it must be damaged or defective in some way. But in the last few years there has been a big rise in people upcycling furniture and buying secondhand as a conscious choice, and not just out of need. I have just read an article on Metro about a woman who has added £65k onto the value of her property, through upcycling (link)
Ok, clearly its not as simple as it sounds. To do that, you have to be in a pretty fortunate position already - with the time to upcycle, space, and money to get you kitted out with paint and brushes etc. But upcycling is all about using what you can find to make something beautiful. Before you buy a piece of furniture new, its always worth having a look to see if you can get something that fits your needs and already exists - plus it'll have a bit more character! I recently needed a new chest of drawers for my bedroom. I had a trunk in there before but it wasn't an effective use of space. I had been looking for months to find something that would fit the awkward space. I had seen one for £180 but I don't have that kind of money!
And then I found one on Facebook Marketplace for £30. I had some chalk paint I had bought from Aldi on a whim a few months (or was it years!) ago, and we already had the brushes lying around from old DIY projects but even so you can get some for just a few £s. I sanded it down (mouse sander which I already had - £25) and gave it a few coats of chalk paint. A new set of handles from Knobble and Bobbles Limited and it's looking pretty fab. It took me a couple of hours to do.
I am really pleased with the way it turned out, and I still have some paint, brushes and the sander for the next project. Have a look in your shed, garage, loft or under the stairs. You might be surprised at what you have lying around and what you can use it for.
Upcycling is really easier than it looks - but even if not, there are small businesses springing up everywhere who will happily upcycle your furniture for you - so you'll get something completely unique and beautiful. And I bet it would still cost you less than buying one from a shop :)