Design Profiles

Design pin-ups: Upcycling with Elizabeth Dot Design

Design pin-ups: Upcycling with Elizabeth Dot Design - The Hairpin Leg Co.

Meet Elizabeth Dot Design: an Etsy shop owner with a knack for breathing new life into vintage furniture. 

Elizabeth dot design

We caught up with Elizabeth to find out more about her design process, and how – with a splash of colour and a set of hairpin legs – she transforms old pieces into standout midcentury marvels.

Can you tell us how you started upcycling?

Growing up, my mum was often updating items around the house, repurposing furniture we already owned. I loved getting involved, I remember being taken to auctions to choose items for my room which we would then paint. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, so when it came to furnishing my own home I naturally went looking for items to upcycle.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 14" copper hairpin legs.

 What do you enjoy about making your pieces?

The furniture that I work with often looks tired, old and destined for the tip! I really enjoy stripping it back and sanding away the damage. The next step is bringing it up to date, which is where hairpin legs work so well. It’s so satisfying to see the progression through to a finished item which looks brand new again.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 14" copper hairpin legs.

What inspired your unique style?

Simple, bold graphic design has always interested me, so I think this naturally filtered through to my own work. I’d say that the furniture itself also inspires the designs I choose. Midcentury pieces often have interesting shapes and angles which I want to highlight.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 12" clear coat hairpin legs.

What's the process for creating one of your pieces? Where do you start?

The process starts with searching for the right piece of furniture. When I find an item I like, I’m often brimming with ideas for designs. I always use Photoshop to create some images to help me visualise the finish. The most time consuming part is the preparation, fixing, filling, sanding and priming. Adding colour is what I enjoy most, seeing my initial ideas come to life.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 14" raw steel hairpin legs, sprayed gold.

Why do you use hairpin legs? 

The furniture I choose to work on is always midcentury. I love to update these items to make them work within a modern home. I find that hairpin legs instantly give a contemporary look to a tired piece of old furniture.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 16" white hairpin legs.

What is your favourite hairpin legs piece that you've made to date?

I’m still really pleased with the first item that I created a geometric pattern on. Having never tried anything similar before, I was unsure of how it would turn out. I had used colours left over from various projects so was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked together. The steel hairpin legs complimented the paint finish perfectly.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 16" raw steel hairpin legs.

What advice would you give somebody who wants to start upcycling their own furniture?

Give yourself time. It’s often tempting to get something finished as quickly as possible, people want such fast results these days! The most important part is the prep, which can often take longer than the painting itself.

Elizabeth Dot Design hairpin legs

Made with 14" black hairpin legs.

For more of Elizabeth's work, check out her Etsy shop. Or follow her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter


Reading next

How to: Refresh your workspace with a hairpin leg desk - The Hairpin Leg Co.
DIY with hairpin legs: 5 IKEA hacks to declutter your home - The Hairpin Leg Co.


Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.