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Upcycling advice

We're always on the lookout for new ways to upcycle, so we were thrilled to catch up with Daniel Hill, host of The Home Channel's show, The New Reclaimers. The British reclamation expert told us how he came to love rescuing old furniture, and gave us his top tips for DIY upcycling. How did you get into upcycling? When I was younger my dad used to buy a lot of antique furniture and restore it. These days I prefer to take bits of unwanted furniture that most people think has had it day, and breathe new life into it by adding a modern twist. What's your motto when it comes to upcycling? Reuse it, don't lose it. What's the appeal in upcycling? Reusing and recycling with style is my passion. Creating something that looks fabulous from an item that would have otherwise been chucked away gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction. Sure, upcycling saves you money, but it has the added benefit of giving you that feel-good factor that you are being ecofriendly while adding style and design to your home. What's your favourite decor style? My favourite style would have to be English farm house. I love reclaimed Yorkstone flooring, big open fires and cooking with a traditional Aga. It's a style that allows the old and new to complement each other. What's the most exciting project you've worked on? In 2009 a county in England called Cumbria was badly hit by floods. I was involved in setting up a temporary building material reuse centre, where we saved and reused building materials from the sites affected by the floods. That was a What are your favourite materials to work with? I love working with wood as it's so versatile you can do anything with it. Top tips for readers looking to upcycle at home?

  • Before you even start on a project, make sure you have all the tools, equipment, products and of course an appropriate place and the time to complete your piece.
  • Don't rush your project. This will inevitably show up at a later stage.
  • If you're going to invest time and energy in a renovation or upcycling project, it is important to make sure that you prepare your surfaces correctly. Sanding is the best way of doing this. Make sure you have a clear, flat surface to work on by removing any handles or superfluous bits before sanding.
  • Prime all surfaces before painting. If you don’t do this, the paint might flake and bubble – not an attractive finish!
  • Get creative with paint colours, or even stencilling and patterning. Nothing breathes new life into a piece of furniture like colour.
The New Reclaimers is on The Home Channel on Mondays and Fridays at 8pm. For more info about Dan, visit his website at Interview by: Roberta Coci