Forget KMartâs pastel and rose gold homewares section or flatpack emporiums. The hottest go-to place in suburbia right now to pick up bargains for your home is the humble nature strip.
Come hard rubbish days, those strips of grass are loaded with often unlikely treasures â chairs (worth reupholstering if they have good bones), lamps (look for retro bases and add a new shade) and glassware.
All you need is a roof rack and some imagination, Welcome to upcycling, a back-to-the-future world where old objects and furniture are repurposed with style and where op shops are Aladdinâs caves.
Better still, you donât even need to rummage around in someone elseâs castoffs. Most houses have their own treasures ready for a second act.
Old TV and entertainment cabinets, decorative ornaments, desks and , bookshelves are found in most households and are ripe for upcycling, according to White Knight paint spokeswoman Cherie Barber.
First step is to take stock of what youâve already got, and rather than throwingÂ furniture and objects out look forÂ creative ways to upcycle.
âKeep what youâve already got, because a lot of people do cosmetic renovations around the country and throw out perfectly good stuff,â Ms Barber said.
âYou might have a horrible colour vase and you can cosmetically refresh it with spray paint alone and make it look really modern.
âItâs great if youâre trying to get a colour theme, and gives you the ability to personalise a lot of accessories.â
But itâs not just small household items which can be upcycled. Entire rooms can be repurposed without breaking the bank.
âJust because the kitchen cupboard looks old, donât demolish it. There areÂ lots of great products you can use toÂ make your property look instantly modern.â
The key to a successful home makeover on a shoestring is planning, said Ms Barber.
âMost people fail to have a theme. Normally when youâre renovating you need to decide what style itâs going to be,â she said.
Whether youâre re-doing one room or the whole house, deciding upon your preferredÂ styleâfromÂ modern to industrial or retroâ is essential.
âStyle is the grand plan, the big overall look,â Ms Barber said.
âYou donât want each room to look different. A mismatch and lack of continuity devalues the property.â
Once youâve decided upon a themeÂ you can begin mapping out your plan by ordering tasks in a âlogical sequence of eventsâ to avoidÂ having to reworkÂ things later.
âProject planning is not a sexy side of renovating, but itâs everything,â Ms Barber said.
While âlack of cashâ is the main reason people are upcycling, a growing environmental awareness is also fuelling the trend.
âIf we all just ripped things out of houses willy-nilly andÂ threw them in the skip, then landfill, what sort of planet will we end up with?
âAerosolÂ fabricÂ paint cansÂ cost less than $10 and are so much faster than using brush. You can repurpose a whole piece of furniture in 10 minutes,â she said.
When it comes to upcycling, good surface preparation is essential, Ms Barber said.
âPut in the time toÂ sand back surfaces, read instructions, and look at online videos. Because if you use the products correctly and youâve prepared the surfaces properly it will last years and years,â she said.
The internet is also a useful tool and can provide tips and inspiration for upcycling projects.
âYou donât have to be a creative genius to look at the internet and pinch some ideas,â Ms Barber said.
âEven if you donât think youâre naturally handy,Â work with what youâve got and you could extend the life of your furniture for five or ten years.â