For renovating furniture like armchairs and sofas, recovering or reupholstering is the key. Bemz.com sells made-to-measure seat and sofa covers in many patterns and colours for popular Ikea models. Look online for good local upholsterers and companies that will make up loose covers to update pre-loved pieces. John Lewis will collect, reupholster and return pieces. If you are a dab hand at sewing, you may want to try doing it yourself in a patchwork effect using pieces of your favourite old fabrics, sewn roughly together and pinned onto the seat.
A lick of satinwood or gloss paint is the easiest way to upcycle andupdate wooden furniture. Make sure the piece is sanded down (investing in a mouse may be worthwhile), prime with a wood primer and then paint. The better quality of the paint, the better the finish (off-whites and metallics will create a more lasting look), and a varnish will give extra protection. For fiddly pieces and when time is short, spray paint is a good option.
For a shabby chic look, use two or three coats of different colours on a piece. When they have all dried, take a knife and sandpaper and sand down the edges. Bits of other colours will emerge giving a well-worn feel.
New knobs and pulls will immediately upcycle an old chest of drawers or wardrobe. Look out for gorgeous coloured ones atAnthropologie, Bombay Duck, Graham & Green and Zara Home.