Here at Upcycle My Stuff we want to prove that upcycled style doesn’t have to look like you are ‘making do’ or like you’ve dressed up mutton as lamb as the saying goes. We think it is about creativity, transformation and self expression…as well as reuse and good old fashioned ingenuity. So we thought what is the most opulent, expensive, polished looking style you could think of? And could you achieve it through upcycling? The answers we came up with were – Art Deco Style and ‘Yes of course you can!’
So this is our compilation of fabulous Art Deco style ideas for the committed Upcycler from furniture makeovers, to upholstery to wall art. So get upcycling and add some jazzy Art Deco style to your home!
Make Your Mark
This gorgeous black and gold piece was done by Christine Shmidt of Yellow Owl Design and the full step by step tutorial including templates was featured on Poppytalk here. We think this is a super bold but super achievable Art Deco dresser makeover you could totally attempt yourself even if you’ve never done anything similar before. You don’t even need a fancy dresser as your starting point for this one as the gold design steals all the attention. You could jazz up a flat pack dresser with some new handles and this bold Art Deco look.
This eye popping bureau to drinks cabinet makeover features a sunburst design achieved with lots of modelling tape! The gold leaf side panels give it that extra art deco fabulousness. Shona Murphy of Made by Murphy kindly wrote down the steps she used to achieve this look in her blog for Upcycle My Stuff here. Her tutorial includes lots of great furniture makeover tips that make it worth the read. We think the transformation is stunning and will bring out the inner Don Draper in anyone!
Spray me Pretty
This is an Art Deco makeover for beginners if there ever was one. It involves a gorgeous stencil, a basic sideboard and some spray paint. The full tutorial is here. Who doesn’t love a quick spray paint makeover eh? We found the scalloped stencil for sale on Etsy here as well – so no excuses not to have a go!
If you’ve got the stencilling bug this is another take on Art Deco in the form of a triangular pattern which we think works really well. The stencil is from Royal Stencils and is pretty reasonably priced considering the high end finished look you can achieve.
Flip it with Fabric
Do you have an old armchair with an Art Deco shape that you want to bring up to date without loosing the nod to the era? We’ve found some great Art Deco upholstery fabrics that won’t break the bank. You can use your old worn out chair to return to the age of opulence…what delicious irony.
The one above is from Magnolia Home Design and you can get the gorgeous teal, gold and black scallop patterned fabric here. Check out our other Art Deco fabric pics below, which one would you choose?
Never tried upholstery before and not sure if you have what it takes? [Insert guffaw here!] Of course you can have a go! – here’s our guide to beginners armchair upholstery.
Guest contributer Charlie Miller also wrote a tutorial for us about how she re-covered a family heirloom Carver Chair using some fabulous art deco fabric.
The Wonders of Wallpaper
We love a Season in Colour’s Art Deco Ikea Hack using wallpaper to glam up some dullish wardrobe doors. If stencilling or hand painting with masking tape are a step too far for you, start with this idea. With a ruler, some good scissors and adhesive you can transform not only wardrobes but dresser drawer fronts, table tops and more.
Here are some fab Art Deco wallpaper options to give it a go with.
What about painting your 4 drawer chest black, adding gold hardware (handles) and adding a strip of Art Deco fabulous wallpaper to the front of the top drawer only? Quick and impactful transformation!
Going for Gold
If you fancied the gold leaf from Shona Murhpy’s tutorial (see here if you’ve not read it yet) but you aren’t sure you can handle the starburst design, what about going for all gold on the front of a piece? It will give you the shiny opulent look of Art Deco without testing your metal at stencils and taped paint designs. But getting a smooth finish like the one above with gold leaf is not a cheats way out we warn you. It’s easy enough to get a broken gold leaf look, but getting a smooth finish takes patience. See Shona’s tutorial linked to above for some pro tips on how she achieved this effect on the two side panels of her drinks cabinet.
Can You Handle It?
If you’ve attempted any of the Art Deco furniture makeovers above, you don’t want to let your piece down with the wrong handles. Here is a selection of Art Deco furniture handles to complete the look. If you are looking for more handle and knob inspiration, check out our list of 44 unique knobs and drawer pulls for upcycle projects here.
Sunburst Mirror Upcycle
What is more iconically Art Deco than a sunburst mirror? As a DIY Upcycle project its a pretty simple one to achieve actually. First find a circular mirror – ideally one you already own, or find one in a charity or thrift shop. Next choose something long and thin (and not too heavy) to attach as the points of your sunburst. How Does She has a good tutorial using plastic drinking straws but it doesn’t include a mirror and Every Home is a Castle has a tutorial with a mirror but using shop bought sticks – we think you could combine both ideas to great effect! We also like the look of the wood shim version from DIY how above, an especially good upcycle project if you have a member of the family in the building trade where these shims are used. Whatever you end up using, the final step is a good blast of spray paint to achieve the metallic look of your choice, either silver, bronze or gold.
DIY Geometric Wall Art
If you want to add some metallic geometric style art to your wall as a subtle nod to the Art Deco style we’ve found the perfect tutorial for you. While they Snooze created this gorgeous piece of DIY wall art by painting over an old painting they already had. We know not everyone will feel comfortable with that but let’s face it not every painting out there in the world is a masterpiece. In fact a lot of great artists used to reuse their canvases to save money! We’ll leave the debate about which paintings its acceptable to paint over, and which aren’t, to you. You can find the tutorial from While they Snooze here.
If you don’t trust yourself with tape and paint to create this effect, you could also cover an old painting, piece of board or even cardboard in some Art Deco glam printed paper. We found several sets of downloadable prints you could use for smaller art projects by printing the patterns out at home yourself on your printer.
Are you armed with enough inspiration to jazz up your decor through upcycling? We hope so. If you are looking for more upcycling ideas try our bumper Upcycling A-Z Guide.
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Tuesday 18th of January 2022
Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you! For all the great ideas. After our Gatsby themed wedding, I’m dreaming of an Art Deco feel when we get into our new home.
Wednesday 19th of January 2022
Fab! So glad it's given you some inspo! An art deco wedding sounds amazing!
Saturday 2nd of January 2021
Since I was very young I have loved something old and give new life. My favorite era is the Art Deco period. My favorite up-cycling project was when my late husband and I took a 150 year old piano,dismandled it and used the maple to build a beautiful couch. Solid wood except for the cushion which can be unzipped and the cover washed. We always thought that by making furniture with cushions you can change the covers to give it a whole new look. No need to get new when all you need to do is make new covers and some throw pillows and you have a new piece. And of course there’s always paint. I look forward to seeing other ideas from you. Thank you. Claire
Monday 4th of January 2021
Hi Claire! Thanks so much for the comment and the story about the upcycling you did with your husband - I love that! I agree about furniture with cushions too - definitely easier to change!
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Monday 20th of January 2020
It's amazing how expensive these all look! Beautiful work.
Monday 20th of January 2020
I know! I always say you can get an amazing look with upcycling but not everyone believes me - yet!
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