Green December Day 10 - Upcycling

I’ve stopped… purchasing new furniture if I can upcycle!

This year was a big year of moving and we had to be strategic with how we wanted to design our new space on a budget.

I tend to be a crafty person who really enjoys DIY projects and upcycling furniture was a fun project. I first decided to transform the kitchen cabinets from the yellow-wood laminate you can see over the refrigerator trim (which wasn’t finished at the time due to the need to move the refrigerator out) to a clean, bright white which made a big difference on the ambiance. It took about a week or so to do and 2-3 layers of paint.


Here’s how I did it:

  1. First, I removed all of the doors off the cabinets including all hinges and handles.

  2. Tape the edges you want to keep unpainted using painter’s tape.

  3. I recommend sanding the surface before priming to add some grit for the paint to stick on. Ensure that the surfaces are cleaned after with a damp cloth to remove all of the dust.

  4. Purchase an all-purpose primer paint. I purchased mine from Home Depot. You will also want to purchase a paint tray, some paint rollers, sponges and paint brushes of varying sizes that work for your space. I recommend spending the little extra money to avoid buying the ones from the Dollarstore. The quality of the brushes do reflect in the quality of how the paint transfers and looks on your cabinets.

  5. Slap on 1-2 layers of primer paint, letting it dry for 24 hours in between.

  6. Grab some water based paint from your local hardware store. I used an egg-shell finish of white from Dulux and apply 2-3 coats of paint, waiting 24 hours between.

  7. Because of the amount of use these cabinets get, I decided to add an extra layer of protection with a clear coat and sanded the excess off with a 100 grit sand paper.

  8. Reassemble the door handles and hinges onto the cabinet.

The TV stand we had matched too closely with the coffee table and floor so I decided to repaint it white, which also transformed the room completely. I basically repeated the above steps.



Upcycling is a no-brainer to not only save money on buying new furniture, but it also diverts waste from the landfills. The TV is made of wood which could have been recycled, but the cabinets would have cost too much to replace, and is not recyclable due to the laminate coating on the front.

Carmen Szeto