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Creative Makeover: Transforming Old Furniture into Treasure

Creative Makeover: Transforming Old Furniture into Treasure

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Use your creativity. Anything can be recycled and reused.

I was once a finalist of Singapore Blog Awards 2013 under the Panasonic Best Eco-Challenge Blog category. In line with that, let me share with you some of my thoughts today! I hope that what I share will provide you with some insights on conservation of the environment and living a green life. Let’s do our part in protecting mother earth!

This time, I interview Stephen and Angie. I met both of them in NAFA and they are my seniors (and best friends). We are all fanatics of transforming old items! After getting married, they personally designed the interior of their new home. Both of them love the mixing and matching of different styles and do not wish to limit themselves to any particular theme. When searching for furniture, they found it hard to find things that suit their tastes and preferences. What they were looking for is good design. However, designer furniture comes with a hefty price tag. Other nice, delicately designed furniture they found on market, new or second-hand, were more expensive than what they were willing to pay. Hence, they have decided to use some creativity and restore existing furniture on hand. That was how they started their project on recycling old furniture and giving them a new life! Let’s see how their final work looks like!

Item: transforming old furniture, Husband-and-Wife chair


These two armchairs, about to be discarded by Stephen’s parents, he ‘adopted’ them and brought them home.  Haha!


First, sandpaper was used to remove old paint and make all the surfaces smooth. This requires 6 hours of hard work! You need a lot of patience to do that.


Next, a layer of white paint was sprayed onto the furniture as the base coat.



To assemble the cushion and the back of the wooden chair frame is a very challenging task.


Tada! The completed Husband chair for self! Of course, the completed Wife chair for the lovely wife!


You can use old curtains or jeans to make the cover for the cushions. Otherwise, you could always get your favourite fabrics from Spotlight.


The joy of seeing the completed work of the husband-and-wife duo! A personal space just for him and her. Let’s have tea!

Item: transforming old furniture, environment-friendly coffee table/ decorative side table

When Stephen was helping his aunt to clear out some old furniture, he discovered an antique sewing machine that she was planning to throw away! The sewing machine became the item of their next project. Stephen loves antique furniture but it is not easy to find them in the market.


Two pieces of wooden boards, spray-painted with white paint and left to dry. Overturned metal frame was tightly secured to the wooden boards using metal hinges.

Of course, you can find restored antique furniture in the market. However, he only likes the ones that he personally restored. To Stephen, you just need a little more time and effort to create DIY items according to your liking. That’s cool!


This is an antique Flying Man sewing machine. The wooden parts and surfaces, inside and out, were already damaged.


Finish coats are not cheap, they cost about SGD 30. However, metal paints or those that could be applied directly over rust would cost more.


A tin of metal paint (gold) is SGD 12.


The sewing machine was painted black.


Painting this golden label requires steady hands and good skills.


Two tins of white spray paint, one tin of transparent spray paint, each costs SGD 5. The total cost of the metal hinges was SGD 4.50.


Wooden boards bought from IKEA were used as the table top, the cost of all these is SGD 19. There were cheaper options elsewhere, but IKEA was the only shop that was still open after 7 pm.


Table top, with varnish applied.


If you do not have any recyclable laces or ribbons at home, you could buy some from Daiso to decorate the table top.


Taking a close look at the lace decorations, it’s beautiful!

Before makeover: the Flying Man label and sewing machine with its original coat.
In my interview with Stephen and Angie, they told me that this was actually quite a difficult DIY project.


The final work! Isn’t it amazing?

Unattractive at first, old items were given a refreshing new look! Although they are not professional furniture restorer, but it was an exciting experience to witness what was originally trash getting a new makeover! They felt very satisfied and happy to be able to personally modify their own furniture!

It may not be always cost-saving to do what they did. The cost of restoring old furniture may be higher than mid-range priced furniture found in the market. They know that they could choose to use more materials that can be recycled or reused. However, as this is their first home, part of the materials used were newly bought. Nevertheless, for future projects they will try to use only materials that are recycled. They encourage their friends to do the same!

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Use your creativity. Anything could be recycled and reused.

Stephen and Angie have been restoring old furniture as they are very used to recycle, reuse old materials and live a green lifestyle. Another reason why they love doing what they do is because the final work would always be one of its kind. To do something together as husband and wife, something both of them are passionate about, what does it feel like to look back one day and see the things, dreams and memories they built together? This is not something money could buy! I felt that people who love to restore old stuff are the ones who know how to treasure their loved ones. In future, their children could inherit these items from them; it could also be passed down to the next generation as family heirlooms! Don’t forget, these are unique treasures that you will not be able to find elsewhere!

Don’t you wish to do the same after you see what they did? Don’t hesitate! Go ahead and create furniture that is uniquely yours!

Special thanks to Stephen & Angie for the interview and credits for the photos.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” used your creativity , anythings is possible to recycle. 

Wai Yee Chim bk
Translator: Wai Yee Chim

Yuki Ng bk
Writer : Yuki Ng

Original Chinese article: 旧家具大玩创意再循环变宝藏

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I am Yuki Ng. Lifestyle & Travel blogger. Lyricist, Image Stylist & Model.

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