There’s nothing quite like that feeling you get from getting hands-on in a workshop or studio. While we can't all, say, whittle a chair from a block of wood, the endeavour of repairing and restoring our own furniture is no less satisfying. The benefits are endless: it’s a more cost-effective alternative to buying new furniture and reduces your carbon footprint – you can even give your beloved objects a complete makeover. From in-person workshops to online courses, TV shows and books, here’s where you can learn how to restore your furniture.
Workshops and courses
Thomson Antiques in Devon offers a wide range of courses for all-levels, spanning weekend workshops for beginners to year-long restoration diplomas. On a converted dairy farm in the market town of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, mother-and-daughter duo Anna Eckford and Cecily Benson run upholstery classes that last for six weeks at a time, with three-hourly sessions per week.
Meanwhile, in London, The Good Life Centre – an independent learning space near Tate Modern – delivers practical hands-on workshops in DIY, decorating, upholstery, woodwork carpentry and various traditional handcrafts. Upcoming classes including an introduction to bookbinding and freehand machine embroidery. Over in East London, The School of Stuff occupies a well-equipped studio on Shacklewell Lane, where anything related to furniture is taught and even occasionally some things that aren’t, like shoemaking. The school occasionally stages furniture history courses that make use of the city’s museums and historic houses – perfect for buffing up your knowledge.
In Diss, Norfolk, you can hone your veneering and marquetry skills at Philip Hodge Antiques or jumpstart your furniture restoration journey at Craven Conservation in Ely with a five-day tool chest-making course. Budding restorers can also enrol in project-based restoration courses once they’ve completed an introductory class.
If you’re based around Gloucestershire, architectural interior designer Oliver Piepereit of OP Woodcraft in Blockley hosts up to 10-day long workshops with a focus on mid-century modern restoration and wood care. In the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, the aptly named And Upholster does exactly what it says on the tin: providing step-by-step tutoring on how to restore upholstered furniture to its former glory. Further up north, The Boho Shed runs furniture painting and upholstery workshops in Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester for all levels of ability. And in Edinburgh, designer Isabelle Moore leads ornamental carving and rattan cane weaving classes.