How to upcycle your home during lockdown

Pam Perry and Amanda Kane, owners of Hilary and Alice, with their creative assistant, Mary Lambert,

Pam Perry and Amanda Kane, owners of Hilary and Alice, with their creative assistant, Mary Lambert, at their new store in Diss town centre, Mere Street. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

“Home is where your heart is” has never been more true.

As lockdown forces us to spent more time at home than ever, what better time to give your space a revamp?

So, if you’re wondering what to do with yourself or you’re looking for a new project, here are some tips from upcycling experts on how you can get started. 

Pam Perry (right), co-owner of Hilary and Alice, with creative assistant, Mary Lambert, at their new store in Diss town centre, Mere Street.

Pam Perry (right), co-owner of Hilary and Alice, with creative assistant, Mary Lambert, at their store in Diss town centre, Mere Street. - Credit: Emily Thomson

Create a theme with plant pots or picture frames 

Amanda Kane, co-owner of Hilary and Alice upcycling furniture and homewear store, in Diss, said: “Gather all of your mixed pots or picture frames, these can be upcycled to create a cool, bespoke part of your decor. 


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"Glue old beads, old broken jewellery, pasta shapes or anything that has a nice shape or texture.  

“Once items are fully stuck, paint all over, getting into the nooks and crannies with chalk paint.  

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“Leave to dry and using a contrasting colour, metallic paint or metal leaf, highlight the raised areas of the items you have stuck on. Voila - lovely ornate frames, all coordinating."

Hilary and Alice, an upcycling and home furnishings store, has officially opened its new store in Diss town centre.

Hilary and Alice, an upcycling and home furnishings store in Diss, has a range of paints for do-it-yourself projects at home. - Credit: Emily Thomson

"Another option is to take a darker colour from your room and a white paint  

“Using plastic pots, decant a little of the dark paint into each pot and add different amounts of white to create an ombré effect. Then paint your frames or plant pots in co-ordinating tones.” 

Create a Feature Wall with either a bold statement colour or wallpaper 

She continued: “Colours which are very much on trend for painting a striking contrast with pale muted tones in most living rooms are rich deep navy, emerald green or charcoal.  

“Choose one wall, be prepared to do two-three coats as you need to build up dark colours.  

“Mask off if you’re not too good at cutting in and have the baby wipes handy. 

“There are some fantastic wallpapers out there, an easy way of bringing some drama to your room. 

“You can get roughly two to three strips from a roll depending on the repeat.  

“A top tip, if it does have a repeat, is to open two rolls at once to minimise loss, cut your even strips from one roll and the odd numbers from the other."

New furniture? New Kitchen? Stop!  

"Just by painting or even just replacing the handles on your furniture or kitchen doors can make a massive difference,” said Mrs Kane. 

“It’s easy to replace a single hole handle with a new funky knob.  

“If you're not painting the furniture, a double-holed handle is a little trickier and requires a wood filler the same colour as your unit.

"Just this little makeover can transform the look and bring a bit of individuality to your room." 

Painting your furniture or making over second-hand furniture 

Mrs Kane explained: “Prep is key to the finish you want. 

“Your furniture will need a good clean with sugar soap and then rinsed.  

“Go over the furniture with a fine frame sandpaper 100/120 grit, just scuffing the surface to give the paint something to stick to.  

“Using a good quality chalk paint and a chalk paint brush will give the best results, nice thin coats, be prepared to do two-three coats.  

“Leave it to cure for a day or so, if you can, to allow paint to fully harden and then stand back and admire your work.  

“Your options as to how decorative you want to make your pieces are endless with so many upcycling embellishments available, from transfers, moulds, decoupage and a whole host of other products you really can create something entirely unique and right for your space."

A chest of drawers before it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice.

A chest of drawers before it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice. - Credit: Amanda Kane

A chest of drawers after it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice.

A chest of drawers after it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice. - Credit: Amanda Kane

Ready for the big project? Your kitchen units.

She added: “This can be one of the most cost-effective and dramatic makeovers. It is hard work, but if done properly the results speak for themselves.  

“It will look like you’ve had a new kitchen at a fraction of the cost. But the prep and tools are key in the kitchen due to the high traffic it gets.  

“The cleaning is the same but do it twice, no matter how clean you think your kitchen is, there will always be grease.  

“It’s easier to take off the doors and balance them on tins on the floor so you can get round the edges.  

“Some paint finishes need priming and this does help with durability. But your local furniture paint stockist can advise you on the best route to go.  

“Before painting, fill old knob holes if you are replacing a double for a single pull.  

“Again, nice thin coats, leave the correct amount of drying time in between coats and invest in a good brush. .” 

Visit Hilary and Alice's online store here, https://hilaryandalice.co.uk/

A chest of drawers before it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice.

A chest of drawers before it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice. - Credit: Amanda Kane

A chest of drawers after it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice.

A chest of drawers after it was upcycled by the team at Hilary and Alice. - Credit: Amanda Kane


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