Hearing or seeing the word upcycled for the first couple times may come across as a typo or slang for recycling but it definitely has its own meaning. So to clear up any misconceptions upcycling is actually the process of using old furnishings and materials and refinishing them to recreate a new product. This practice is of course of great environmental value as it uses the principles of reducing, recycling and reusing items to create less waste.
The end product is a refurbished and refinished piece that benefits from its newly varnished surfaces and repaired damage, but also its authentic vintage character that is evident through the distressed finish and unique patina that set these pieces apart from newly manufactured furnishings.
The turn of a new trend
A way to breathe new life into furniture
This recent trend of upcycled furniture is here to stay for a few good reasons that are sure to benefit not only your bank accounts but also that little thing called the environment we seemed to forget about until recently here in Paris.
For starters, recycling old furniture and talking on a bit of a DIY project could be the chance to finally strut your design stuff and customize the finish and colour of your chosen furnishing. After finding a piece of furniture you think is worthy of being a victim of your design ideas, good or bad, you can proceed to choose different varnishes and paints to bring the piece back to tip top shape, while proudly displaying all the hard earned character it has managed to accumulate throughout its lifetime.
Fortunately for all those people that would like to feel as if they have better things to do or actually do have better or more important things to do, like batman for example, there are manufacturers and brands that specialize in upcycling furniture and creating brand new masterpieces for your home.
Helping the environment by being creative
I know it's been mentioned before but honestly this is something that should be repeated a couple times more just so everyone is clear, UPCYCLING HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT! That is right the environment my friends, something every social conscious person and company should be trying to fix while we still can.
Items such as pallets, which happen to be the eighth largest contributor to landfills in North America, can be reused to great effect to create furniture marvels chic enough for chicest of homes. Just using pallets as an example its clear to see that if we were to use these perfectly useful pieces of wood as materials in the creation of reclaimed wood furniture we could at the very least reduce the size of landfills, by whatever small fraction it may be. This will in turn help lower CO2 emissions by not contributing to the burning of garbage.
Another aspect that is sure to please eccentrics and design enthusiasts, is the fact that upcycling materials and furniture poses as a challenge that forces people to get the creative juices flowing. This is even more true for people working around a budget, and is a true testament to the saying necessity is the mother of invention.
With all this in mind it is time to embark on an upcycled furniture adventure and create or purchase the perfect upcycled piece that will suit your interior design needs and possibly give yourself a fuzzy feeling inside knowing you are doing your part, no matter how small it may be to better the environment and keep the paper in trees and in your wallet!
Shabby chic furniture design makes for the perfect design style to accompany this upcycled furniture movement. With its rustic character and vintage country side appeal, shabby chic furniture is essentially an early example of how upcycled furniture can reinvent an interior and add a touch of authenticity and warmth to any setting.
Vintage: why choosing repurposed furniture?
A great choice for open concept designs"
When moving in and choosing your furniture or decoration for an open space, it is always recommended to choose a décor style that complements your interior architecture. Vintage pieces help create an equilibrium within a more contemporary designed interior, for example placing a scandinavian coffee table at a safe distance from a brick fireplace with a straight chimney, and a shabby chic sofa with generous shapes, harmonizes the space.
The simplicity of the neutral background will enhance the overall design of the interior and harmonize the selection of furniture. A faded wall will give the impression of an atypical board that will channel French shabby chic style with its simplistic lines. If the habitat has a strong retro architectural footprint, such as houses built at the beginning of the 20th century, small furniture and objects of that time will be the perfect touch for a successful French shabby chic style.
The misappropriation of the upcycled furniture
Contrary to popular belief, upcycled furniture is in no way trying to recreate an exact replica of a furnishing from another era. The actual goal is to use worn materials to create something new in order to recycle and not consume unneeded materials. It recalls sensitivity of each and allows a considerable amount of creativity and originality to shine through the end product.
Playing with contrasting colours, textures and styles always makes for a winning combination when all this is incorporated with a well thought out plan, for instance placing furniture designed with a patina finish in a kitchen dominated by metal appliances and furnishings would help towards creating a balance. Using a retro armchair and sofas, or cosy carpets set on a concrete floor in your living room, would create a very subdued yet retro look that will complement the use of upcycled furniture in your kitchen.
In an interior with a simplistic design multiple combinations can be made and the contrast of styles and materials can be played too infinitely. Choosing quintessential vintage furniture, such as a pub style club chair, and an imposing wooden shabby chic table will add a touch of French shabby chic style to your interior.
Creating new interior design with old recycled furniture
French shabby chic furniture in the kitchen
For many years, the kitchen was designed as a room that one should hide and was designed to be as practical and calculated as possible. This idea that kitchens should be disconnected and hid away from the rest of your home first occurred in the 1960s development of average household homes. Designers and architects alike were disinterested by kitchen spaces and in general were not fond of the idea of excess in any aspect of a home?s construction
However since the rise of open concept home décor and design in the common household, the kitchen has been the room that has profited the most from this change in design trends. Today the kitchen has become the focal point of design in many homes. The open concept kitchen leading to an open concept dining room and living room has become the blueprint to countless homes.This open concept design has managed to carry the kitchen into the rest of the home, which means that it should have a uniform design with its adjacent room. A shabby chic design carried across a living room, through the dining room and into the kitchen would be beautifully decorated with the help of shabby chic accessories and furnishings.
The use of upcycled small sized chandeliers above a kitchen bar or island could be the perfect accent to the high end appliances that add a modern touch to a kitchen with their stainless steel finishes. Placing white cupboards on the walls and using wood flooring throughout your kitchen would create a fluid appearance that can traverse your open concept home.This type of shabby chic kitchen setting would be more than an ideal setting to use upcyclyed furnishings that would add another dimension to the rustic ambiance that tends to dominate shabby chic décors.The evolution of the kitchen has allowed the progression and change of design styles throughout the years to fully implement their influence and design principals in this once hidden, but finally transformed living space.
From the laboratory look to upcycled furniture design
Kitchens before the 1950s were not necessarily inviting nor aesthetically pleasing spaces where company was invited to occupy. These kitchens The design was austere and Spartan like, the colour was usually a shade of white and was supposed to represent an overall simplistic appearance that was not afforded many liberties to become the focal point of a home. However soon after in the 1950?s, the use of colour and curves became fashionable and has become what we knows as today as retro styled furniture and décor. Designers began incorporating more colour into the cupboards and ceramic that were traditionally painted over in white or given some type of white finish.
This new appreciation for colour must of been born out of the sheer boredom and frustration that designers and home owners alike had with the white everything design that dominated the homes of far too many people.In the 1980s, and the appearance of more space in homes was brought to life by open concept design in traditional homes and city lofts that were once manufacturing plants. These environments created the perfect setting for industrially styled furniture and upcycled furniture to take centre stage and decorate the open concept homes of the times. This new found popularity in retro style proved to be a success and has grown in popularity. This success has brought upcycled shabby chic furniture to the forefront of the shabby chic furniture industry.
Many items sold today in the shabby chic industry are marketed based on their upcycled past and rustic vintage details that make each and every piece unique in its own way. However around the turn of the millennium modernity became the trend in design, and vintage furniture décor began to lose its popularity and was found to be largely outdated and a thing of the past. Nowadays, vintage furniture has regained its once foregone popularity and has managed to work its way into modern designed kitchens and homes that have become the victim of their own dull and uniform design that lacked authenticity and character. The shabby chic design style is today savoured by many thanks to people willing to go back in time and look for furniture authenticity.