Trashy Tuesday my 10 Best Furniture Upcycles

Dumpster Diving Diaries, Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Le Junque

Trashy Tuesday my 10 best Furniture Upcycles

Happy Spring friends!  It’s time to do some Spring Cleaning with all that Junk in your Garage!  Or maybe I should say all that junk in MY garage :()

Is the warm weather inspiring you to do some purging, painting, and upcycling?   It is me, (even though as I type it is raining AGAIN here in Northern California).

I have been at this Trashy Upcycle business for about 20 years now!  I have been documenting the upcycles for about the last 12 or so.  I thought it was a great time to dust off my favorites and share your favorites as well.

In no particular Trashy Order, here’s the Junk:

Last summer I was contacted by Marne Jamison, the super talented home decor syndicated writer with her column, “At Home with Marne Jamison”. Her editor ran across my trashy blog and suggested Marne get in touch with me to find out how to decorate your home from a Dumpster.  For real.  I have decorated my home from a Dumpster.

I love sharing my tips and tricks on Dumpster Diving and Finding Free Furniture, check out My Dumspter Diving Series, and be sure to sign up to get my latest posts on Furniture Upcycles.

#1 Makeover a Dumpster Console

Cost:  About $20 for 4 casters

I found a broken Console in the Dumpster behind my local Kirkland’s store.  They throw broken decor away there sometimes, and from time to time I score big time.

Back to the Dumpster Console, this is what I started with: 

They throw broken things away from time to time, and this was the major score.  It was supposed to look like this: 

#2 Vintage Stereo Cabinet Makeover

Cost: $0 Paint and scrap wood already on hand

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this project.  Did I tell you how much I love it?

I found this Stereo Cabinet on a neighbor’s driveway while out walking one of our dogs.  Most people passed it by and the homeowners were secretly wishing someone like me would come and relieve them of their sad old cabinet.  I did just that.  It now sits beautifully in my Master Bedroom and plays all our Vinyl beautifully.  This is a pretty easy makeover, but you have to read the post to get my superhero makeover secrets. 


#3  Turn a Cheap Bookshelf into a Vintage Industrial Rolling Cart

Cost:  About $20 for Casters, everything else already had on hand

I humbly say, HOW COOL IS THIS PROJECT???!!!  For real, how cool is it?  Right?  The only thing I would do over again is rust the casters.  One of my FAVE things to do is upcycle those cheap white melamine bookshelves that just love to be thrown out.  Check out all the details HERE and search “Bookshelf” on my blog.

#4 Dumpster Nightstand Makeover

Ugly Nightstand makeover

Turn your ugly Nightstand into a Luxury Nightstand

This Nightstand was found literally inside a Dumpster.  I transformed it with my fave Debis Design Diary DIY Clay & Chalk Paint, added those keyhole embellishments with IOD Paper Clay and Moulds, and off it went to be sold!  And my son’s Math Tutor bought it not even knowing it was done by me.  Which made it extra special.

Ugly Nightstands are a dime a dozen, but you can transform them easily with a little paint, new hardware, and some imagination.

#5 Sewing Table Turned Side Table 

Found this Sewing Table out on the curb.  Literally, had been kicked to the curb.  I also had a pile of scrap wood that came from a construction dumpster.  (See Dumpster Diving Series on how to get great stuff from Home Remodels).  It was one of my first Junk Makeovers and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result.

#6 Dumpster Pie Safe Drawers Turned Planters 

I found the remains of a Pie Safe in a Dumpster.  So sad, it was truly furniture neglect.  I was able to salvage the metal drawers and my friend Emma made planters out of them!  Still one of my favorite Dumpster projects of all time.

#7 Overlay a Dumpster Table with Reclaimed Wood

Not my usual type of makeover!  I took a plain, probably would have passed up a Dumpster Table, and overlaid it with some of the stash of old Fence Boards.  I also took NEW pulls from Home Depot and Rusted them with a mixture of bleach, salt, and vinegar.

What was extra cool about this project is that the top comes off to make an outdoor tray.  Don’t pass up those ugly boxy tables!

#8 Dumpster Nightstand Turned Planter

Another Nightstand and another Planter!   From the Dumpster?  You guessed it.  If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you can check out my source for FREE FLOWERS and plants now too.  We recently relandscaped by entire backyard, and it’s a BIG backyard.  We did not buy 1 single plant or annual.

#9 How to Decorate a Patio With Junk

Outdoor Patio Room on a Budget

How to Create an Outdoor Room with Found Items

Do you long for a beautiful outdoor room?  You can make one with all FREE stuff.  This outdoor room has been a perennial online fave for a lot of people.  I made that outdoor wall with Old Garage Door Panels, the table was free to me topped with literally “fell off a truck” wood.  Free Chairs, Free Changing Table turned outdoor storage.  You can do this too.  Outdoor furniture does not have to be labeled “outdoor” to be used outside.  Neither does your thrown-out Garage Door, haha!

#10 Bench Made from 100% Junk

The ingredients for this bench are a Dumpster Ikea Headboard, the Railing from a Twin Bed (free), 2 legs from a throwaway Coffee Table, 1/2 panel of a Garage Door (see above outdoor patio project), scrap wood for the seat, even the pad is a drop cloth with the padding being an old comforter from my Daughter’s room.

Oh and that drawer underneath? That was a Dumpster Find too.  It has served my family well as our shoe hideaway.  It’s big, I added Casters and it slides perfectly under the bench.  Now that we have 2 dogs, it’s especially helpful to quickly hide their favorite chew toys 🙂

Do you have a favorite furniture upcycle?  Do you have some favorite Trash to share on Trashy Tuesday?  I would love to hear about it!

Give me your upcycled junk and trash and have a very Happy Trashy Tuesday.


  1. Patty Soriano

    Yes, for REALS! My favorite photo is Super Dumper, in her cape !! I miss all your dumpster diving posts. I actually had to stoop to youtube videos of people diving. sigh. Just not the same, Karen. Not at all.

  2. Pat

    You have a gift for seeing the potential on all your projects. Love it. I enjoy reading your blog & listening to your wonderful sense of humor, so please continue to inform & entertain us.

  3. kaessa johnson

    You’re exceptionally creative and talented!!! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!!!


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