Upcycle. It’s kind of a funny word right? It’s likely you’ve heard it before and seen it around Pinterest, but what does it even mean? Not only will we explain what it means to upcycle, and the benefits of upcycling, we will share our most recent upcycle idea that will have you scouring your local thrift stores and yard sales to create your own one of a kind item for your home!
Unlike recycling, where an item is broken down, losing its original form to be made into something new, upcycling is a way to reuse items that are no longer being used, and turn it into something else.
Some examples of upcycling you may have seen would be turning an old ladder into a bookshelf, a globe into a lamp, a crib into a bench, and the list goes on.
Both recycling and upcycling are beneficial to the environment, reducing the amount of items going to landfills each year. Not only are you conserving waste, but you’re using your imagination to create a new prized possession for your home!
Upcycle Idea | The Inspiration
I’ve always been drawn to upcycled items because of how clever they can be. It’s fascinating to see what others can create using old discarded items.
While designing Ellie’s bedroom makeover, my Mom and I began to fall in love with the idea of getting her a french provincial daybed. We found several we love while browsing online.
It’s inevitable that we’re always drawn to expensive items! At $4,200, this beauty is FAR from fitting in my budget! So, we used this bed as our inspiration piece, knowing we could upcycle thrifted beds into our dream french provincial daybed!
Thrifted Twin Beds
After searching through our local classifieds, we came across these twin beds for sale. (I was able to talk the seller down to $160 for both beds!)
The headboards and footboards have beautiful carved detailing and curved edges which boast the french provincial style. Not to mention they are solid wood, and were in pretty decent shape.
We immediately began to envision how we could transform these two twin beds into a french provincial daybed.
Upcycle Idea | The Plan
After mulling all of our ideas over, we decided we would use each headboard for the sides of the daybed. However, the headboard did not have the beautiful curved detail in the legs. Since the headboards would be more prominent now we need a solution for a more detailed leg.
To solve this problem we decided to attach each footboard piece to the bottom of the headboards. Then we would secure the bed together using the bed rails that came with the bed.
Essentially for this upcycle idea, we’d be using all pieces of both twin beds and turning them into one daybed
To see the transformation of this daybed, tap to watch the video tutorial below.
Natural Wood Finish
The original finish of these beds was dated to say the least! The cream colored paint with accents of gold and dark glazing was screaming for an update!
After refinishing the beautiful natural wood dresser for this room makeover, we both knew this bed would look amazing stripped down to the bare wood!
We used Citristrip to remove the paint from the detail work of the headboards and the entire footboards and bed rails.
*To learn more about stripping paint and our tried and true techniques, see our post on stripping this vintage dresser.
NOTE: To save ourselves some time and work, we only stripped the paint around the edges of the headboards because we knew we would be upholstering the flat surfaces of the headboards later on.
Once the paint had been stripped, we sealed the wood with a clear wax, and added white wax onto the detailed areas.
Upcycle Idea | Adding Upholstery To A Plain Piece Of Furniture
Another upcycle idea we had for this project was to add upholstery to the front and back panels of the headboards. These would be used as the two sides of the new daybed.
First we took a piece of poster board and covered the horizontal opening at the bottom edge of each headboard. They were secured into place using our pneumatic staple gun.
*Covering this opening will keep the foam, batting and fabric from being pushed back into this empty space. This was done on both the front and back sides of each headboard.
Budget-Friendly Foam Hack
Since this bed was not originally upholstered, we needed to add foam to both the front and back of each headboard.
We’re always looking to save money where we can, without skimping on the results! Foam can be pretty expensive at fabric stores.
So, we opted to buy foam mattress toppers from Walmart. Per the dimensions of the bed, we purchased 2 Full size toppers for about $30 total.
Simply place the unfolded topper onto the front surface of a headboard and trace the shape of the bed with a sharpie.
Press down on the topper to feel where the frame of the bed is and mark your lines about 1″ inside of the frame. Then repeat for the other 3 sides of the headboards.
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Batting and Scissor Hack
The foam pieces were then held into place with staples every 5″-10″ or so. You don’t need too many, just enough to hold it into place.
(We picked up a pneumatic nail gun for a previous no sew upholstery project, it is fabulous! It makes work go much quicker, it’s super easy to use and it’s only $35!)
A thin layer of batting was then placed over the foam. Again secure the batting into place with a few staples. Trim away the excess batting with kitchen sheers.
Yep kitchen sheers! We stumbled across this hack as a result of my kids not putting the scissors away! All we could find were kitchen sheers. But it turns out that these work GREAT at cutting both the foam and batting! Best part, they came from the dollar store! Now I’m going to keep a pair with all of my other tools! Who knew?!
Upcycle Idea | No Sew Upholstery
The upcycle idea of adding upholstery to an otherwise non upholstered piece of furniture will dramatically change its appearance!
To learn how to upholster without any sewing please visit our post on this updated ottoman and these farmhouse bar stools. You’ll learn all of our tips and tricks to achieving professional results, and what tools you need, without breaking the bank!
Upholstering furniture really is simple, and can be easy with the right tools.
Essentially, the fabric will need to be secured into place with staples (see our video for more details), excess fabric is trimmed away and cording is placed around the edges covering the staples.
Here’s a little sneak peek at the finished daybed! I’m so happy with the vintage navy and cream ticking fabric we used. It compliments the style and era of the bed making it look vintage and beautiful!
Upcycle Idea | Creating The Daybed
Before the headboards were upholstered, the legs were cut off using a circular saw.
Removing the legs created a flat surface on the bottom edge of the headboards. This allowed us to stack the headboards on top of the footboards while creating the daybed.
Adding Detail To The Bed Rail
The original bed rails were simple straight boards. Since they would be front and center of the new daybed, I decided that the bottom bed rail needed a bit of detail added.
Using the footboard as a guide, I traced the design onto the center of the bed rail.
Then using a curved seamstress ruler, I extended the design toward the outer edges of the bed rail.
(Again you can see all of these details more clearly in our video tutorial.)
Once the pattern had been sketched onto the bed rail, we secured it to a sturdy surface with clamps. This helped keep the board from moving while I cut the design with a jigsaw.
(Turns out it’s harder than you think to cut with a jigsaw! You can see the comical outcome in our video. But rest assured, the finished upcycle idea of turning twin beds into a daybed looks amazing in the end!)
Adding this detail work to the bed rail is of course completely optional. There were several tools we needed to make this happen, so if you don’t have access to them or don’t want to go to the extra trouble, by all means save yourself the extra work.
After the scroll design had been cut with the jigsaw, we attached a drum sander to the drill press to smooth all of the curved edges.
Upcycle Idea | Building The Daybed
To build the daybed, we used all of the original pieces from the two twin beds.
We began by securing the footboards to the bed rails.
(We put the scroll design on the bottom front edge of the bed frame.)
Then we secured each of the two headboards to the remaining two bed rails.
After they had been secured into place, we lifted the top headboard section onto the bottom footboard section.
Once the two sections of the daybed have been stacked, we secured the bed rails together to make the bed frame sturdy.
To do this, we secured three mending plates onto each set of bed rails. First we drilled pilot holes into the wood, then secured the mending plate into place with 1″ screws.
Upcycled Twin Beds To Daybed
Here’s the completed upcycle idea. You wouldn’t even know this was two twin beds if you hadn’t scrolled through this post!
We’re so happy we decided to take the bed down to the raw wood. Just take a look at that beautiful detailing in the wood work!
The white wax adds a little bit more aged character to the carvings and really makes this piece feel vintage.
This piece is definitely one of a kind! Even though I only spent roughly $285 to purchase the twin beds and all the supplies to give it a makeover, to me it’s worth the $4,200 of our inspiration piece!
We LOVE recreating expensive items at a FRACTION of the cost!
We’ll throw the before picture in again just to remind you what we started with. Quite the transformation!
Thanks for spending some time with us today, and following along with this bedroom makeover!
We still have several projects to share to complete this room. Keep your eyes peeled for more inspiration!
We hope you’ve been inspired to use this upcycle idea to transform something around your home! Share your ideas and projects with us, we love hearing from you!
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Thanks again for stopping by!
And as always here at Sunny Side Design
WE HOPE TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET!
To take a look at specific tutorials to help with stripping furniture, or upholstering furniture, click on the images below.