Contemporary furniture refinishing and upcycling with Oliver Piepereit

Ref: S3D32759

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About this course

Learn the fundamentals to upcycle and transform furniture finds and develop some technical skills in furniture redesigning with contemporary paint techniques and woodcare.

Course Description

Discover the essentials of how to transform the finish of up to two pieces of furniture, as well as learning in-depth technical skills in the application of contemporary paint techniques, furniture redesigning and woodcare.

You may work on up to two pieces of furniture (dependent on size), allowing you to go through the full process within three working days. See preparation for guidance on suitability. Mid-twentieth Century charity shop finds can make perfect source material.

The course covers the following:

Health and Safety

Contemporary wood finishes

Tools and personal set-up list

Eco-friendly stripping techniques

Sanding techniques

Staining and grain fillers


Contemporary paint finishing:

Health and Safety

Concept mock-up on paper – including colours, design, materials needed

Materials discussion

Sanding stripping and eco-friendly stripping techniques – key techniques

Stain blocking, priming, knotting and undercoating

Painting, paint conditioners, rolling and cutting back techniques

Paint varnish techniques

Hardware discussion (if required, you will need to bring hardware with you)

A discussion on start-up business advice, staging and photography of finished items


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply most of the materials, including eco stripping agents, white spirit, abrasives, grain fillers, French polishing mops and rubbers, stains, stain blocks, acrylic interior eggshell (limited colours), paint brushes, hard wax oils, shellacs, waxes, masking and varnishes.

What students need to bring

  • Two (three maximum) pieces of furniture to work on (ideally stripped). Charity shops are often a good source of suitable items to bring to the course. Suitable pieces are a chest of drawers, a small dining or coffee table (which fit in your car), a couple of dining chairs. Ideally, bring two projects to discuss, and give options, though you may not be able to complete both within the course. Please do not bring valuable or precious furniture to work on. Please email a photo of your furniture to [email protected] for the tutor to see at least two weeks before the course.
  • Little Greene Paint Company – acrylic eggshell paint in colour of your choice
  • Apron/overalls and sturdy covered footwear are essential in this workshop
  • Thick gloves for eco stripping and sanding (chemical resistant nitrol gauntlets or gloves, available from building suppliers)
  • Any new hardware, e.g. new handles or hinges, you are likely to need for your furniture
  • Notebook and pen/pencil

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Oliver Piepereit

Oliver Piepereit is a trained interior designer, furniture maker and traditional and contemporary furniture re-finisher with 15 years' experience in the design industry.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more