Presenting, chairs made out of paper for full-grown adults
Some real head-scratchers from 8 upcycled furniture brands we love
If the furniture in your home could talk, what would it say? Right about now you’re imagining it come alive like a Disney film. Your very own Beauty and the Beast moment. Or Shrek 2. What we’re trying to say is that furniture tells stories. Every spill on a tabletop. The scratches of a newly rescued kitty on your sofa. The bed that you spent 5 months saving up to buy and the coffee table that’s been moved from home to home, across state lines and maybe even international boundaries. Furniture becomes heirlooms we pass from home to home, family to family. But one day a rickety leg, chipped varnish and stuck drawer leads these once-loved pieces of furniture to the garbage dump to turn into discarded scrap. But there are some creatives across the country who are giving these pieces a second chance as upcycled furniture.
Breathing life into reclaimed wood, these upcycled furniture brands are also skilfully weaving in other waste materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces and accents to bring some vibrancy into our homes.
Upcycled furniture can be quite an investment. There’s a certain skill that goes into creating gold from what’s old. It comes with obvious eco-friendly advantages, rehoming preloved pieces over mass-produced factory pieces. It reduces waste in the landfills, and keeps traditional techniques alive. Also knowing that every piece of upcycled furniture you buy is loving handcrafted adds another layer to this piece of furniture’s life story.
From using reclaimed wood from old posts, beams and doors to minimalist chairs from paper, peruse our favourites from some of the country’s best upcycled furniture brands that are both functional and a feast for the eyes.
Being eco-friendly is a large part of Sadaya Guild’s philosophy. They started off creating outdoor furniture but transitioned to lounge chairs, tables, storage and beds and more. All their pieces are handcrafted using reclaimed oak and teak wood. What was once part of decking, posts and beams are transformed by their craftsmanship into beautiful furniture for the home and outdoors.
Tweak picks: You get a 2-in-1 with the Mashobra Writers Chest by Sadaya Guild. You can use this upcycled furniture piece for storage and slide the top out and use it as a desk as well. No more hunching over into a banana shape over your laptop in bed. Perfect for those that are also low on space.
Baro Design is one of our favourite upcycled furniture brands in the country. They blend playfulness with traditional designs using reclaimed teakwood to create modern furniture and accents for the home that themselves become works of art.
Designed by co-founder Siddharth Sirohi, the furniture design is modern, the upholstery is colourful, each piece bringing a unique personality into a space it will call its own.
Tweak picks: Aptly named Short Wave, you almost expect it to start playing a song. Sirohi’s design was inspired by radiograms, with the fabric mimicking a speaker and the knobs the dials.
Founded by Aakriti Kumar in 2014, the work of this New Delhi-based studio looks more like art pieces.
Their website describes them as “sculptural furniture with a functional value”. They use salvaged materials and reclaimed pinewood that were once part of the packaging in crates used to ship automobile parts. Design enthusiasts will love Kumar’s sensibilities.
Tweak picks: Imagine mushing together tetris and jenga pieces with a chessboard and turning it into upcycled furniture, you’ll get the Checkered Table. This is going to be the only centrepiece you need when we get some semblance of normalcy back in our lives and can host dinner parties again.
We love the upcycled solid pine wood furniture by uByld. What’s even better are their DIY kits. They give you everything you need to put together the pieces of your purchase and tickle that do-it-yourself itch you’ve had for so long. If you’re not up for it you can always order it pre-assembled.
A weekend craft project that results in a lovely addition to the home. Sign us up.
Tweak picks: The Nikola centre table is a classic piece. uByld says that the clean line design of this piece was inspired by the all-wooden church in a Russian town called Novgorod. Unfortunately, uByld is only shipping to Bangalore at the moment but we’d snag this piece if we were you.
The Retyrement Plan will bring colour into your homes with their handwoven and upcycled furniture. What started as a project of love by Anu Tandon Viera grew into a venture making sustainable furniture with materials like cane, plastic bottles, bamboo, tyres and other industrial waste material.
We love their charpais, pouffes and a particular set of chairs inspired by the colours and designs of Antoni Gaudí.
Tweak picks: You’ll find all the colours of a forest in these chairs. The intricate weave work is worthy of applause and who would decode you’re sitting on an upcycled car tyre.
The Second Wind does just what their name indicates. Co-founders Ira Maurya and Abhinav Mehta gave a second life to old and discarded furniture. Refurbished, restored and renewed, they convert what was once cast-off old pieces into vibrant additions to your home.
With a modern aesthetic and design, they’re turned wobbly tables missing legs into stylish side tables, tyres into pouffes and stands, and so much more. We love their pastel palette.
Tweak picks: You’d never guess that under this sky blue upholstery lies an old tyre. What would otherwise have found its way to the landfills is now covered in delicate flowers to give any room in your home a space lift.
Do you remember the papier-mâché projects we did in school only to end up covering our hands with Fevicol which we’d giddily peel it off? Pulp Factory takes papier-mâché to a whole new level, using waste paper pulp and plant-based glue to create furniture.
We know what you’re thinking and we’ll stop you right there – the pieces are water-resistant and can withstand weight up to 100 kilos.
Tweak picks: Set aside the traditional stools and go for this angled sitter. Lovers of the minimalist aesthetic will adore this design. It’s also made using up to 10 kilos of recycled waste pulp.
Greg Barreto’s love for nature shows in the furniture he makes. He mixes repurposed wood, like neem and sheesham, metal from scrap yards and even wine bottles to handcraft bespoke furniture. Wood is the star of his designs as he tries to maintain natural shapes, adding elements like resin to showcase just that.
Tweak picks: This beautiful coffee table made of kikar tree which Baretto naturally hollowed out. The glass top on the wooden bass is almost like a contrast of heavy and light. And you can’t look away from the curves of the tree trunk.