Sandie Shepherd - wallpapered furniture, the perfect way to upcycle your interior design

PUBLISHED: 14:19 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:19 13 January 2014

Decorated furniture

Decorated furniture


Papering over the cracks is not usually seen as a good thing. But when it comes to breathing new life into upcycled furniture, adding a colourful veneer of wallpaper is a design opportunity too good to miss.

Decorated furnitureDecorated furniture

Sandie Shepherd, an award-winning art director in the television industry for more than 30 years, has returned to her home town of Scarborough in North Yorkshire to launch a new business producing unusual pieces of wallpapered furniture.

‘They’re unique and quirky,’ she said, ‘each made for customers who want something different in their homes.

‘My previous career provided me with a sound design background, which means the furniture I produce now is finished to the highest standard and not a flimsy, homemade, crafty-type effort.’

Sandie searches auctions and second-hand stores across the region for furniture that needs upcycling back to life or, if the customer prefers, she can embellish a piece of their own furniture that’s seen better days but is still well-loved.

The customer can then choose a wallpaper that tickles their own particular fancy or Sandie can guide them through the myriad choices available.

‘Each item is prepared by sanding and priming prior to decoration and later given several coats of varnish to protect it, so with considerate use it will be as durable as any quality furniture,’ she explained. ‘I also like to top each piece of furniture with glass, mainly for added protection but also because, quite frankly, I prefer it.

‘It’s amazing the transformation you can achieve with a good eye and creativity. And in today’s market of ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’ you could find yourself with the perfect centrepiece to adorn any room.’

The key selling point of this design choice is that you can create something completely unique – no two pieces ever have to be the same.

‘I can recreate, as near as possible, most of my previous designs if necessary,’ said Sandie, ‘but there are so many fantastic wallpapers available, I always advise customers to just let me work my magic to create a unique, bespoke piece tailored specifically to their requirements.’

It’s inevitably tricky to put a price on bespoke designs. There’s the cost of the wallpaper, knobs and handles, glass for the top and the time spent crafting an often complex design to factor in. But it can actually work out to be very cost-effective as the furniture itself is usually picked up second-hand for less than £50 (or free if it’s pre-owned by the customer).

The cost of the all-important wallpaper embellishment can be anything from £10 to £110 a roll, but you can bag a real bargain on auction sites like eBay, where top-of-the-range papers are often available at a fraction of their original price.

Your wallpaper must be a smooth, flat variety for that all-important smooth, flat finish, and textured and washable types aren’t suitable as they are too easily damaged.

‘Wallpapers are really in vogue and out there in abundance,’ said Sandie. ‘Choosing a design is personal to your own taste and most customers prefer to do this themselves as, quite simply, they know what they like.’

For more details about Sandie Shepherd’s Scarborough-based business, phone 01723 367781, email or visit

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