My 4 Favourite Upcycle Projects From 2020

tile a table

One of my favourite things to do each year is to look back on our home changes from the year that’s just ended. Sometimes it’s one or two bigger projects, other times a few smaller ones. 2019 was always going to be hard to beat after THAT kitchen makeover, all the garden work and the dining room.

2020 was a pretty different year, right? We had more time at home but in many ways no more time to do things – with Pete working full-time from home and his days predominantly ad-hoc work calls, it wasn’t always possible for me to be as productive as I could have been.

Undeterred though there are still plenty of projects I got stuck into – I learned to tile and discovered a love of upcycling, finishing the year brimming with creative ideas which I can’t wait to continue into 2021. So without further ado here are four of my favourite upcycles from last year. They’re all budget too which I love to share even more.

The Wardrobes

From nasty 90s to elegant luxe, this was easily the project that had the biggest impact. Having been left some decidedly unattractive but nonetheless super handy wardrobes by our home’s previous owners, (to be honest I think it was more a laziness at not wanting to dismantle them rather than generosity!) I was resigned to their appearance making the bedroom look well, just a bit forlorn really. We have future plans to revamp the space and create some stylish built in wardrobes so we don’t want to buy new ones.

By some small miracle I came across a blog by one of my insta buddies Sam at Dove Cottage who shared how she’d transformed almost identical wardrobes and I was on it! It took me just 3-4 days and I think the results speak for themselves. You can find the full blog post with all the details here.

The Tiled Table

I said this was the year I learned to tile and what can I say, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it I think! I’d come across a super idea from Geneva van der Zeil on Instagram who had found a free table at the side of the road (she lives in Australia). She cut the legs down to create an al fresco coffee table and decided to tile it with some hand-painted tiles.

When I saw the result of her labours I knew I had to do the same thing – we already had the table and as luck would have it, it was the same size too. Hand-painting 72 tiles only for them to get totally ruined by the rain wasn’t my finest moment but no use crying about it and so I got on and painted them all again. I then used them to tile the table and I absolutely love the finished look, although this was a project I did right at the end of the summer so I’ve barely had any time to enjoy it. Roll on spring 2021! You can find the full blog post with all the details here.

The Bath Panel
Tiled bath panel in blush pink metro tiles

Hot off the back of my table, Tile Giant got in touch and asked if they could collaborate with me. It was a very flattering offer and although there are still lots of things we want to tile like our hallway floor and redoing our en-suite I wasn’t sure if I had anything I could work on just yet. I wanted to come up with a suggestion that was easy for people to do and didn’t require too much upheaval.

Cue our newly tiled bath panel! Our main bathroom has had lots of different variations of mini makeovers since we moved in and one day it will be properly renovated. Previously all monochrome, I decided to use Tile Giant’s blush pink metro tiles to level up the look of our bath and I think it’s such an effective, polished look. You can find the full blog post with all the details here.

The Malm Drawers

Last but by no means least, my final upcycle from 2020 was of course turning our Malm drawers from shabby to sexy (or something!). I hadn’t planned to look at any of the other furniture in our bedroom but when we saw how well the wardrobes turned out Pete said it showed up everything else and he had a point.

As the drawers stand in their own little spot, I knew I could get away with doing something a little different with them and settled on a painted pink and white scallop pattern for the drawers, new brushed brass handles, and then used jumbo lollipop sticks to create a herringbone effect on the top. I haven’t yet written this project up but you can find a couple of videos over on Instagram showing how I did it.

I’m so excited to carry on DIY-ing creatively this year and hope I’ll have some equally fabulous ideas to share with you all as I go. Let me know in the comments below if this has encouraged you to give upcycling a go!

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