Mid century chair

Welcome to Upstyler,

This blog is about how to decorate your home in a way that you love, for almost no money, while saving items from landfill. It is about seeing the value in something that someone else thought was worthless. It is about creating treasure from trash.

I find and repair, repurpose or upcycle items that have been put out for kerbside rubbish collection.  I call it upstyling.   Upstyling is an enjoyable, environmental and thrifty way to decorate your home.

You can become an upstyler too. You don’t need any actual skills. I don’t have any. You just need to be willing to have a go.

So have a look at the images from my house,  and from now on I will share my upstyling projects and tips with you.  Hopefully they will inspire you.

I would love it if you would share your finds and projects with us. Be they roadside pickups, op-shop treasures, garage sale bargains. I dont mind where you get them, so long as it wasn’t retail and it feels like treasure to you.

Regards,  Megan

How it all started


This  blog is also the story of how I turned from a bit of a minimalist into a total junkaholic.

I had never been that into ‘things’.

In the years before our daughter was born my husband and I didn’t need much furniture or decoration. We lived a happy, minimalist life in a brand new townhouse.

However, as our daughter started to grow of course I developed a hankering for ‘a family home’, something with a yard and ‘a bit of character’. I am sure many of you will understand.
So we found the right place, but our meagre furniture now made our house look sad and empty. Ok then, to the shops I thought but this is where the problems began.

Firstly, I am cheap. I love a bargain. Secondly, our new house, a 1940′s Queenslander seemed to require a specific type of furniture. The only places I knew to get furniture – IKEA and Freedom did not to have furniture that suited and they were way too expensive to buy things that weren’t right.

So with the TV sitting on the floor and nothing in the bedroom but a bed I turned to ebay. Night after night I trawled for suitable decor. It wasn’t easy. I needed the TV cabinet to be a certain size and bedroom furniture a certain hue. I needed pictures for the wall. It was a slow process. 

One day on the way to a friends house I passed an ugly but serviceable shelving unit on the side of the road. I pulled up. It was clear that the item was unwanted but being new to scavenging I wanted to get the OK from the owner before taking it. I knocked on the nearest door. No one home. Hmmm…what to do. I stood on the side of a very busy road and made my decision. The shelf was clearly unwanted and I clearly needed something to put my TV on. So I did it.
I manhandled it into my small car with the help of a passerby. Importantly, I didn’t die of shame, I actually felt pretty good about the whole thing. I got the shelf home and my husband wasn’t appalled by my behaviour and the shelf fit in the difficult spot. Double bonus!.  
I need you to know that this was not about not having any money. I actually have a proper job.  I can pay for things.
That first pick up was partly about not wanting to waste money while waiting for the right thing to come along.


So, the next week I told friends what I had done and learned that some people make a living from picking up items from the council kerbside rubbish collections. This set off a lightbulb in my brain. I could get more free stuff!. I assumed there was a calendar of collection dates, if only I could get my hands on that secret document I thought.  It turned out that the council publishes the collection dates on their website. No espionage required.

Within the next few weeks the collection was going to be in the suburb next to mine. I was going to go on a dedicated drive to ‘look’ at what was being put out. That first day properly opened my eyes to the ‘one persons trash is another’s treasure’ truism. Within 30 minutes I had found a set of 4 beautiful mid century dining chairs in good condition. I couldn’t believe it and I was hooked. 

That was 2 years ago. In that time we have extended the house to double it’s original size and I have made it my mission to furnish it as much as possible from the side of the road. About half of the furniture and decoration in my house is found. The house is now a style I find calm and comforting. I have not bought a single new furniture item. I may never again.