Learn how to upcycle furniture at Grand Designs Live

April 29, 2022

As more and more people seek ways to reduce and reuse, upcycling furniture is becoming less of a fringe movement and more an essential part of sustainable interior design.

The Upcycling Hub at Grand Designs Live, running from 30 April-8 May at ExCEL London, marks a huge leap for the practise, with more professional UK upcyclers involved in one major event than ever before.

Running in partnership with The House of Upcycling – a leading independent authority on professional creative reuse in interiors, founded by educator and designer Chris Billinghurst – the Hub is a must-visit for those looking to buy or commission handmade pieces, or learn how to upcycle furniture with the experts at live demonstrations.

Learn how to upcycle furniture at the Upcycling Hub at Grand Designs Live

Learn how to upcycle furniture at Grand Designs Live. Photo: uplightpictures / Adobe Stock

The hub will host two styled roomset stands showcasing the best in professionally upcycled art, furniture, lighting and home accessories (with all items available to by), as well as an upcycling demo stage and one-to-one advice sessions available to pre-book with the pros in the Ask an Expert zone.

Good Homes takes a look at the 12 professional upcyclers taking over the hub, sharing their top upcycling tips and expert know-how on creative reuse in interior design…

1. Kata Roberts of Studio Twentyseven

Kata Roberts, Creative Director at Studio Twentyseven, has been creating furniture designs since 2015 and also runs online upcycling workshops. Studio Twentyseven sources vintage, retro and contemporary pieces and gives them a second life as luxury objects. During Grand Designs Live, Kata will be introducing the art of decoupage, demonstrating how to transform any furniture into something cool and bespoke using wallpaper and digital prints.

Kata Roberts will be on stage on 6 & 7 May 2022

2. Nicky Cash of Done up North

Vintage furniture restorer Nicky Cash creates contemporary geometric designs and custom projects. Nicky will be on the demo stage at Grand Designs Live teaching budding upcyclers how create surface designs with tape, so that you can add a personal design statement to your old furniture. She will also showcase a new style of upcycled furniture.

Nicky Cash will be on stage on 6 & 8 May

3. Lynda Robinson of Touchwood Vintage Designs

Since 2016, Lynda Robinson has been restoring and reinventing beautiful 20th century pieces for the modern age. Using traditional hand-painting and decoupage techniques, paired with premium paints and wallpapers, Lynda transforms each item in a bold, colourful and truly unique style.

Lynda Robinson will be on stage on 2 & 3 May

4. Kate Holt of Colour Me KT

Kate Holt of Colour Me KT is an award-winning furniture upcycler, industry expert. Kate will make several appearances at the Upcycling Hub. She will be showing you how to prep your projects for refinishing on Saturday 30 April, how to upholster a drop-in dining seat on Thursday 5 May, and on Saturday 7 May, she’ll be on the Ask an Expert Stand, where you can make an appointment to discuss your upcycling projects.

Kate Holt will be at the Upcycling Hub on 30 April, 5 May and 7 May

5. Sarah Ashby-Bassett of Revamp Boutique

Sarah Ashby-Bassett, an interior designer who describes herself as a ‘crazy maximalist decoupage queen’, had just renovated her home when she met her husband, Simon. A few years later, they launched Revamp Boutique together in Essex, combing Sarah’s eye for an upcycling project with Simon’s carpentry skills. Sarah now runs creative ReUse workshops.

Sarah Ashby-Bassett will be on the demo stage on 7 May

6. Shelley Hudson of Blu Avery

Shelley Hudson of Blu Avery is a decoupage specialist who creates new statement pieces from old furniture. Shelley will be leading a decoupage essentials session on the upcycling demo stage, walking beginners through the art of decoupage and sharing her tried-and-tested methods for a perfect bubble-free application. She will also have pieces available to buy on the stand and will be answering questions in the Ask and Expert hub.

Shelley Hudson will be on the demo stage on 1 May


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7. James Pope of No.21 Bespoke Interiors

Chantell Mapp-Pope and her husband James Pope founded No.21 Bespoke Interiors together. They source furniture from different eras and give each piece a new lease of life using specialist techniques and high-quality eco-friendly products, as well as offering a reupholstering service and running workshops. James will be on the demo stage at Grand Designs Live on Tuesday 3 May, running a session on eco upholstery. Both Chantell and James will be on the stand Friday 6 May to talk al things upcycling.

James Pope will be on the demo stage on 3 May

8. Sue Gifford of Sue Gifford Design

Artist and textile designer Sue Gifford is a surface and interior decorator who also creates bespoke handpainted furniture. Sue, from Cork, Ireland, will be at Grand Design Live introducing visitors to ‘artcycling’, and the variety of ways you can create beautiful decorative pieces with paint, imagery and found items such as discarded fabrics. She will also be at the Ask an Expert zone on the first weekend of the show.

Sue Gifford will be on the demo stage on 30 April

9. Lisa White of A Twist of Somerset

Lisa White reuses and recycles household items and unloved objects into beautiful pieces of furniture, home accessories and lighting. She runs workshops from her workshop in Somerset, where she has been designing and upcycling items into original, functional and design-led pieces for the home since 2016. At Grand Design’s Live Upcycling Hub, she’ll be leading a tutorial on how to create your own bespoke lamp using a porcelain ornament and a lighting kit.

Lisa White will be on the demo stage on 8 May

10. Tracey Horan of Dolly Fixtures

Tracey Horan of Sussex-based Dolly Fixtures creates fun, upcycled furnishings from quirky lamps to retro cushions and trendy tables, including her ‘luxe-cycled’ mannequin furniture. At the Upcycling Hub, Tracey will be leading a Fabric to Flora workshop, where you can learn how to use discarded denim – a material long known for contributing to complex environmental issues – to create funky flowers.

Tracey Horan will be on the demo stage on 2 May

11. Jane Goodman of Home Office Chic

Initially focussed on creating furniture ideal for home offices, maximising the space available for the home and flexible working, Jane Goodman of Home Office Chic came up with idea of bringing new life into old bureaus, chairs and other work-related furniture. Using her experience and passion for recycled and re-loved furniture, Jane focusses on artisan recycled bureaus and reupholstered chairs to transform people’s work-from-home spaces. At Grand designs Live, Jane will share her tips and tricks for ageing and stencilling.

Jane Goodman will be on the demo stage on 1 & 4 May

12. Kylie Hodge of The Eccentric Leopard

Hailing from Canterbury, Kylie Hodge spent her childhood visiting castles and stately homes adorned with opulent design. When buying her first home, she became obsessed with vintage furniture, giving various pieces a new life and founding The Eccentric Leopard in the process. Kylie now has a degree in Textile Design and her work has been been featured in Vogue and Restore Magazine. At Grand designs Live, she will be demonstrating how to transform a vintage piece of furniture using decoupage.

Kylie Hodge will be on the demo stage on 4 & 5 May