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Upcycling Novice Recreates Glam £700 Sideboard for £130

  • Alexandra Carton, 28, upcycled a secondhand sideboard into a stylish showstopper in under a week
  • Transformed the piece from dull to dazzling with a lick of black paint, golden hardware and a textured front made with decorative moulding
  • She’s “so proud” of the end result and the experience has made her rethink what she usually spends on furniture
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If you’re looking for the perfect piece of furniture to finish off the look of a room but want to keep an eye on your budget, upcycling could be the way to go.

Alexandra Carton, 28, had some extra time on her hands after her hair salon EnBeauté closed due to the lockdown, so decided to have a go at upcycling a dated laminated wood sideboard.

The DIY novice, who lives with her boyfriend Jonathan in Durham, scored top marks for her debut piece, which was inspired by a glamorous £699 black and gold industrial style sideboard she had been coveting online. When she shared her handiwork in a home makeover group on social media, it attracted 3.8k reactions and over 375 comments praising the “gorgeous” piece.

“Jonathan and I have recently been decorating our dinning room and we needed a sideboard to finish it off,” Alexandra told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk. “The black and gold sideboard I fell in love with online was priced at £699. Usually, I wouldn’t think twice about spending that much on a sideboard but, given the year we’ve had, I couldn’t bring myself to spend that kind of money at the moment.

“As I currently have time on my hands and no income, I thought I would try to recreate it,” she says.

The move paid off with Alexandra creating a stunning sideboard for £130 in under a week. What’s more, the experience has opened her eyes to the money-saving joys of upcycling.

“It made me realise that I don’t need to spend that much on furniture to get great pieces in my home,” she says.

The project began with Alexandra hunting for a sideboard to makeover on Facebook Marketplace.

“I was constantly checking all the different selling sites and I was lucky to find one close by for £40,” she says. “I didn’t really plan it. I pretty much just winged it. When I get an idea in my head I just do it and hope for the best.

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“The black and gold colour combination is very on trend at the moment and it goes with the theme of our dining room,” she adds.

To take the sideboard to the dark side, she found the perfect shade of paint in the Frenchic Al Fresco collection called Blackjack (£17.95 for 750ml).

“I’d heard such good things about Frenchic chalk paint and I found a stockist nearby who was offering click and collect from her house,” she says. “One tin was all I needed – there’s even some paint leftover.

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“I began by prepping the unit by following the instructions on the Frenchic website,” she says. “I cleaned it with hot soapy water and, once it was dry, I sanded it down. I then cleaned it once more to make sure all the dust was gone.”

Alexandra removed the drawers and cupboard doors ready for painting and built up the colour in thin layers for a lasting finish.

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“While the cupboard doors were off, I added a stick and peel wallpaper from Dunelm to the inner shelves to brighten up the inside,” she says.

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While the unit was drying, she popped to Wickes to pick up the decorative moulding she needed to create the textured effect on the front.

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“Jonathan taught me how to use the table saw, which saved so much time,” she says. “I cut all the moulding strips for the doors to size and stuck them on with PVA wood glue, which we already had at home.

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“The final step was adding the handles, which I found on Amazon,” she says. “This was the most challenging part of the project. As I was repositioning the handles, I needed to sand down bits of the drawers to make room for them.”

She then added a final lick of paint to finish off her design.

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“I’m so proud of what I have created,” she says. “I didn’t expect it to look as good as it looks. Even Jonathan is amazed at the end result. It has completed our dining room and I can’t wait to have a go at another project.”

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk comments: “Upcycling is a fantastic way to recreate your favourite furniture for less.

“Making this glamorous sideboard from a pre-loved piece has saved Alexandra £569, which is a fantastic result.

“If you hunt around on second hand selling sites, you can pick up some great pieces to work with for bargain prices.”

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