Outdoor Furniture Upcycle


As you all know, my hubs and I have been DIYing a 600 square foot patio. It’s been a huge job, but it’s 99% done and we’re loving it! (We’ve even put on an addition, but our lights were back ordered so I can’t give the full reveal yet-boo!)

600 square feet is a lot of space to fill and I wasn’t about to go out and buy all new furniture for the space.  I’ve had this old record player hutch (if that’s even such a thing) in my basement for about 7 years now- It was just waiting to be upcycled.

This baby used to house my in-laws old record player and then eventually a boombox.  It’s crazy to think that now that all of my music is on a 4 inch iPhone.  Anyhow, if you need any convincing that this piece needed some upcycling, I’ve provided you with some evidence…

One of my favorite things to do, is to look at a piece of furniture and see past the “yuck” and into the potential it has. Remember when we upcycled this dresser into an Anthro Knock off.

They key to a good furniture upcycle is to believe that anything can be changed and set some goals!

To Upcycle this piece, I had a few goals:
#1- Get rid of any and all scrolly things (I sorta loathe them)
#2- Remove the speaker fabric
#3- Paint it with outdoor paint
#4- Add some bold details
#5- Distress it (so I don’t get mad when one of my 4 kids “distress” it for me)
#6- Add new hardware

Get Rid of Scrolly Things
Sometimes it’s easy to think there are things you can’t change about a piece, but it’s amazing what you can do with a jigsaw! I just taped off a straight line and cut those scrolly babies off!

Remove Speaker Fabric
I ripped off all of the lovely fabric and then had to take out the speakers.  There was no magic to this step.  I actually gave a hammer to my seven year old son and said, “bang away!”

I love when furniture has an industrial flair, so I cut plywood panels and covered them with chicken wire.  It isn’t the most fun to work with, but it’s not impossible either.

Paint with Outdoor Paint
This piece was originally intended to be used indoors, so I wanted to be sure to paint it with good quality outdoor paint.  I really don’t love taking tons of time painting furniture, so I used Valspar’s Exterior Spray Paint.  It took about 3 cans to do two coats on the whole piece.

Add Bold Details
Since this piece was originally so traditional, I wanted to do something graphic and more modern as a detail.  I thought a thin herringbone would do the trick.

Herringbone is super-simple!
#1- Mark out your center line.  Then, measure the width you want the stripes (I used 1″) and make tick marks down both sides of the column.  #2- Tape off your lines. The top of the left side slants down to one tick mark below on the right.  #3- Paint & Remove your tape.  Let it dry and repeat on the opposite side, but shift your painted section down one, so you have the “every other” look.

Distress the Piece
You might notice that my lines weren’t completely crisp in the herringbone.  I was painting outside in 100 degree heat (blogger foul), but I also knew I was going to distress it anyhow.  I’m not always into distressing, but I figured it was going to get banged up outside (and I have 4 kids that are pretty rough on furniture).
To distress, first I went at it with a sander with 220 grit paper.

Have you ever had this problem?  I ran out of the right size sanding pads.  Oops!
After sanding it down a bit, I gave the entire piece a good glazing.  I actually began my glazing love affair by reading Living with Lindsay’s blog (check her out it you haven’t)!
My favorite glaze is Martha’s Black Coffee. As you can see, I slopped it on, rubbed it around, and then wiped it off.  I wanted pretty solid coverage, so I used a good bit of glaze.

After adding some hardware she was all finished and ready for the patio!

I think she’s much more my style now!

All that’s missing now is some cool, outdoor artwork.  I’d love to hear any ideas you have in a comment.  We have some insanely creative readers!



P.S.  I have to mention that I’m so glad to have my BFF home from vacation!  A week apart feels like such a long time to us!  Now that she’s home, Jess is working like a mad-woman on some cool projects for her dining room!! 


  1. says

    High Five! You did it yet again! Rocked this furniture- grand slam girl!! I am in Love with the New Do this girl is kickin’, she has crazy style!
    I can’t wait for the BIG REVEAL! Let me know so I can treat myself with my favorite ice cream while scrolling and indulging!

  2. Marianne in Mo. says

    Likey! What did you do concerning rain water in the “dry sink” part on top? Won’t it sit in there?

  3. says

    What a cool transformation! I love the after…it’s amazing what you can come up with! Thanks for the tip about the Martha Stewart glaze, too. It looks like the perfect color for all sorts of projects. :)

  4. says

    We have the same furniture piece, we upcycled it almost four years ago when we need a buffet for our new home but had spent all our money on the table for our dining room. We sanded the design off, then restained the fronts of the doors and covered the speakers with brown silky fabric. It now is in our dining room as a side table/buffet.

  5. says

    Friends I want share with you some A dialogue is a conversation. Many families hold off on decorating until their children are older, making do with ratty post-dorm furniture for years after its expiration date because, well, the kids will just destroy anything else. But even the youngest children benefit from living amid beautiful objects; they grow to appreciate and respect them. So go ahead and create a home the whole family can enjoy. You can even get kids involved in the process, asking what they’d like to see in a room you’re redecorating or letting them weigh in on a few pre-screened paint colors or fabric samples. They may even feel enough ownership to think twice before kicking off their muddy boots onto the rug they helped select.
    outdoor furniture clearance

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