Upcycle mental block! Can see potential. Help please?

Any advice much apprecaited!

I am thinking of purchasing this old mahogany wardrobe because I feel it has huge upcycle potential. Unfortunately I have a complete mental block as to how to style it. I would like to put it in a grey, white and possibly pale mauve bedroom so perhaps the wood tones would be best to stick with to warm the pale neutrals? Or maybe something a bit funkier and more fun? What would you do?

I do love these room themes but can't mental image this wardobe in any of them! Agh!!!!!

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Comments (7)

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    Dear Éilíse Sullivan, the mahogany wardrobe looks like a great project!

    The image is too small for me to see the details of it; it looks like has glass/metal door at the top part and design details on the draws. If you send me a better quality image and with the door closed I can visualised it for you in any other colour you like if it helps. Replacing part of the furniture (glass) with solid panels covered in wall paper or fabric, using decoupage for the inside of the drawers or muted colours on the outside and brights on the inside ... are all possibility depending in which room you want to place it and what you are going to use it for.

    Are you going to do it for yourself, just for fun or to sell/present?

    I would paint the back panel in a darker colour, also the inside of the wardrobe part and all the horizontal and vertical straight lines to frame the different units: draws, 'open shelf' cabinet at the top and door. I would go for wall paper on the inside of the draws, something sympathetic with the darker tone on the back panel ... the handle can stay or be replaced (I need a closer look); they can really give a wist to the furniture if changed.

    For the choice of colours ... it really depend on where it goes and what you want to do with it. The room's images you posted are quite different in style. You could try to 'blend' the piece in to the room's design scheme by choosing complementary colours or go the opposite and bring in a bold statement. I like bold statements!

    I found this link with fab images that may help you see how a furniture with more details then a plain one will looks once painted:


    Also have a look at this company


    it may inspire you to take a different direction!

    Have fun and please post an 'after' pic when done, really curios to see the final result!

    Elena Jackson - Interior & Design

    Éilíse Sullivan thanked User
  • Éilíse Sullivan
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Sorry about the bad quality picture Elena. I hope this one will be a bit better.... It's a very old solid mahogany wardrobe with a long mirror on the main door. It also has two higher cabinets with carved wood in a kind of vase + flower design. There is a hollow gap between the upper cabinets and the drawers. The drawers also have some engraving in the form of a frame pattern also with a medal/disc circular engraving in the center of the larger drawers. It seems like such a beautiful piece but my problem is how to make it fit with the contemporary but elegant grey + white + dark wood scheme. I hear this look is very popular in New Zealand at the moment.

    I also love the idea of using wallpaper inside the drawers and painting the inside of the hollow and wardrobe in a darker colour. I may also do something to frame or punctuate the engravings.

    This will be for the guest room of our own home. I see it as 4/5 furniture pieces in one and have a perfect space for it. LOVE multipurpose furniture to decrease clutter.

    I love what they did with the table on the Pippa Jameson link before it was distressed. Distressed just isn't my thing. I don't like wear and tear on pieces. I appreciate the shabby chic look to look at but I wouldn't want it in my own home. Terribly old fashioned I know! ;)

    This is where my dilemma is ... if I leave it in the old mahogany I feel it will look just like that - old. I don't want to shabby chic it or distress it in any way but a cleaner and more classic upcycle maybe in some way as to make the carvings pop a bit more.

    Thank you Elena :)

  • stabmonkey
    5 years ago

    Are you planning on putting it upstairs? Check that you can get it into the room. It looks like a useful storage item but I wouldn't paint it. If the wood is in immaculate condition, leave it as it is or have it professionally polished.

  • jorichardson
    5 years ago
    I think if you go with the suggestion above, of keeping the wood as it is, it might be nice to paint the back panel above the drawer section, in a dark strong colour, like the blue in one of your room themes, to bring out the warmth of the wood. That would bring this space to life and be a backdrop for a small elegant ceramic or vase. The panel and shelves of the upper cabinet could be painted too. It's a lovely piece, and I particularly like the shape of the mirror.
    Éilíse Sullivan thanked jorichardson
  • PRO
    P & P Maintenance Services
    4 years ago

    I wouldn't do anything with it other than repolish it. I think it's a nice piece of furniture as it is. In a simple, uncluttered environment, the detailing on it would speak for itself!!

  • Jonathan
    4 years ago
    I would do one of three things:
    If it is veneered and has no damage then have it professionally polished and enjoy it.
    If it is veneered and damaged and you want to disguise it then paint it a flat colour to compliment the room it's going in(assuming it is not worth significantly more with a minor repair).
    If it is solid wood then gently scrub it to nock back it's patina and the richness of colour- then you can leave it, or add a colour wash (perhaps a washed out grey) or you can use a wax- perhaps a white one to help pick out the detail.
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