7 Tools You Need for Furniture and DIY Upcycling (The Essential List)

Today’s post has some great tips if you’re up for doing a little furniture upcycling, particularly in terms of the tools you’re going to need. Enjoy!

DIY tools

If you want to get into furniture upcycling, then you will first need the right tools to complete the job.

And if you want some inspiration, why not try this idea to get you going. 

A good starting point is Anglia Tool Centre particularly if you’re wondering which tools might be the most helpful. These are the basics, and while there are many others that you might need, depending on the job, these tools are ones that will always come in very handy indeed.

Essential Upcycling Tools for Your Next Project

1. Paint Stripper

You need two types of paint stripper to get rid of anything that you don’t want on the surface of your furniture piece. Thick, gloopy paint stripper will get rid of thick coats of paint, and thin one for removing old finishes that don’t so much staying power.

2. Power Sander

After stripping the piece, you need to smooth the surface by sanding it. A power sander can make light work of any surface. Apparently you can sand at 100 – 200 strokes per second (and inconsistently, too), whereas a power sander can sand at 600-800 strokes per minute.

3. Sandpaper

Good sandpaper will last a long time and still stay sharp. Sandpaper is needed on top of a power sander for fiddly areas.

4. Stains and Finishes

If you’re new to upcycling furniture, then opting for wipe-on products, as opposed to brush on products will give you a lovely finish. Brush on products, while they are thicker and require fewer coats to create a tough surface, take longer to dry, so you may get drips, sags and brushstrokes in the finish. Wipe on products avoid these problems.

5. Paint Sprayer

Paint sprayers make painting quick and easy. There are lots to choose from, including airless paint sprayers, self-contained HVLP paint sprayers and HVLP paint sprayers with an air compressor. Which you choose is up to you, as they seem to work for different people and projects. If you’re planning on upcycling a lot, then this could be the perfect investment tool for you. It will save you a lot of time.

6. Brushes

Brushes are a really important tool for upcycling furniture. Buy the best brushes that you can afford, as it will make a real difference to the quality of your paintwork. They will last a long time, and they will lay down a smoother layer of paint, reducing the appearance of brush strokes.

7. Cloths

Not a particularly glamourous tool, but cloths are an essential. There’s no need to buy new cloths, though. Instead, use old cotton t-shirts that are lint-free.

Plus: A Sewing Machine

Not necessarily essential for every furniture upcycling project but a good sewing machine will mean you can create fabric accessories when needed for things like chair seat covers, cupboard curtains or even the odd pillow cover. You won’t need to be a fashion designer to achieve this either.

Now you have your list of tools to give your old furniture new life, you’ll want some ideas of the types of furniture you can use in an upcycling project. Just remember to ensure the pieces are in good condition before you start on your new project.

You might thing that any old piece of furniture is great for a upcycling but that’s not always the case; some are better than others.

Upcycling Furniture Thrift Store Finds

These are some of my favourite pieces which are often quite easy to pick up at charity shops or thrift stores. You could even look somewhere like the Facebook or eBay online marketplace.

  1. Old dresser. I still have the old dresser I found in a thrift store and upcycled with a paint spray system and new drawer knobs in my loft conversion.
  2. Picture frames. If you’re like me, you’ll hoard lots of old picture frames in your attic or shed. It’s so easy to give these a new lease of life with spray paint, some gold spray or a distressing technique. Add some favourite art, or new photographs and you’ve got a fantastic wall collage, without need much knowledge on upcycling or many new skills.
  3. Wooden crates. Use these in a creative way for storage around the home. The’re a great option for kids’ toy storage or for hanging on the kitchen wall to display treasured possessions.
  4. Vintage chairs. I’ve used old chairs inherited from my grandparents and given them a modern new use with some power tools, paint and a paint brush.
  5. Headboards. Car boot or garage sales are great places to find old bed headboards that need upcycling without much effort at all.
  6. Coffee tables.
  7. Dining tables. Making new dining tables from old pieces of wood and legs can give your home character and personality.

Often, all you need to make a good project in your upcycling efforts, is elbow grease, hard work, some handy tools and don’t forget a tape measure!

There are so many different ways to upcycle or repurpose old pieces of furniture that creativity is often your greatest tool.

Furthermore, giving any old item a new purpose is a great way to protect our planet, reduce waste and contribute to the sustainability effort we all need to make.

Before I leave you to your upcycling project with your newly acquired list of essential upcycling tools, let me tell you about my favourite upcycling project – the Litter Box Cabinet!

If, like me, you’re a cat lover, you’ll understand the frustrations that come with the cat’s litter box. Well, how about creating a stylish new litter tray, perfectly hidden behind a door, inside a cabinet. Simply turn an old tv cabinet or cupboard into a new poo home for your cat! This has to be one of the best ways I’ve come across to use old items and put them to very good use.

So now you have your upcycling tool list and some great ideas for upcycling furniture projects, I’m excited for you to get started.


If you love updating, upcycling or recycling furniture you're going to need these 7 essential tools. It's a great little list and perfect to check through before you start. What tools do you have in your toolbox for upcycling furniture? #furnitureupcycling #lovechicliving

Images: Tools via Shutterstock


Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Harrison Jack
    August 5, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    Hahaha, defintely I sould remember this steps. Thanks for your help!

  2. Maria Egwuatu
    November 16, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Great tips and inspiration of how to design an build a life style.

  3. Harry Barber
    November 25, 2015 / 10:32 am

    Yah, you are definitely right. We have to learn how to maintain and decorate our home by ourselves.

  4. Olive Green
    August 22, 2022 / 8:12 pm

    I never painted anything, it is the job of my husband lol but I guess I should start doing it more often. Anyhow, I enjoyed reading it.

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