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7 Ideas on How to Breathe New Life into the Old Furniture

7 Ideas on How to Breathe New Life into the Old Furniture

If you’re looking for a money saving DIY project, try to breathe some new life into your old furniture. Here’s how.

Let’s face it: Not everyone can afford to shop for new furniture at trendy furniture stores. The good news is you don’t have to! Why spend hundreds of dollars on a new chair or desk if you can make old furniture look as good as new?

How do you do that, though? Don’t worry: it’s not rocket science. Once you find the items you want to refurbish, try these seven ways to breathe new life into them.

Be mindful, though: These furniture projects will take some time (and learning) to accomplish.

You might be thinking: “But I’m a student, and I have tons of homework. How can I make time? Should I write my term paper? Or should I do this fun DIY project?”

Well… Let me tell you. Working on old furniture can be a great idea, especially if DIY is something you enjoy. Or if this can be your project for an interior design class!

I know. I’m not only an award winning designer of books. I’m also passionate about design of all kinds – including the art of refurbishing old furniture.

7 Ideas to Breathe New Life into the Old Furniture

Here are some of recommended tips to get you started renovating old chairs, sofas, tables – you name it!

1. Clean, Sand & Paint

The easiest way to renovate a wooden table or dresser is by repainting it. You can go for a neutral color or make it as colorful as you want! You’re also free to let your creative juices flow and add abstract patterns or turn the item into a piece of art.

However, if this is your first time freshening up furniture, it’s better to stick to painting the surface with just one color. Plus, don’t forget all the necessary steps before your brush touches the wooden surface:

  • Clean the surface to remove any dust, stains, and other particles hiding there;
  • Sand down the wood;
  • Remove everything you don’t want to get painted (e.g., handles);
  • Prime the surface with an undercoat;
  • Now, paint it with the topcoat, i.e., the primary color that you want the furniture to be.

2. Cover Up Nicks with Markers

Sometimes, you don’t need to repaint the whole item. If there’s just a bit that chipped off your favorite chair or table, you may be able to fix it with a permanent marker in a couple of minutes.

Of course, you’ll need to match the marker color with the color of the paint. If it turns out to be a shade lighter or darker, the difference will be visible. Apart from that, there’s nothing remotely complicated about the process. Just be careful and don’t stain your clothes or anything else: it’s called a permanent marker for a reason!

3. Change Upholsters

If you’re looking to refurbish a chair, sofa, or armchair with tears or stains in its upholstery, there’s nothing impossible about it. That said, it is a bit of a challenge – but a suitable one for aspiring interior designers and their likes.

First, you’ll have to brace yourself for this project.

It can take a day or more of hard work to reupholster an item.

Then, here’s what you’ll have to do, in a nutshell:

  • Take pictures of the item before working on it – this way, you’ll be able to check in on all the details in the process;
  • Remove the seat base, fabric, and padding;
  • Trim and staple the batting;
  • Cut the new fabric and staple it;
  • Remove excess fabric;
  • Reattach the seat to the furniture.

4. Use Shoe Polish

Do you have a leather chair with too many scratches on it for your liking? Don’t be too quick to send it to the landfill! You can make it look almost as good as new with one simple tool: good-old shoe polish.

Shoe polish can remove most, if not all, scratches from the leather surface – and it’ll make it shine, too! Just don’t forget to match the shoe polish color with the color of your furniture. Then, apply the polish to the surface with a soft rug, wait for it to dry, and use the polish brush. You can repeat the process if some scratches remain on the surface.

5. Replace the Hardware

Most of the time, this is a complementary step in any refurbishing efforts. When you repaint an item, for example, replacing the handles is often a must, too. Otherwise, you’ll have a modern-style dresser with vintage handles – those just don’t match that well!

But sometimes, you can completely transform a piece of furniture by just replacing the knobs, handles, pulls, and other hardware. This is the case when the item itself is in good condition – the surface doesn’t need repainting, the upholstery doesn’t need replacing, and so on.

6. Decorate

Yes, this is a somewhat broad option, but that’s the whole point of decorating! It all depends on what resources are available to you – and your personal preferences.

Here are just some ideas that anyone can use, be it someone minoring in interior design or a hobbyist:

  • Add patterns or other elements to your furniture with stencils and spray paint or permanent markers;
  • Freshen up the surface with some stickers – you can even put the ones that glow in the dark;
  • Glue the rope around the table or chair legs to give it that rustic vibe.

7. Repurpose & Upcycle

Last but not least, you can breathe new life into an item by finding a new purpose for it. For example, you don’t have to use a garage sale dresser to store your clothes. Instead, you can turn it into a TV stand, a wine rack, or a bathroom vanity – all of these are real DIY projects out there!

If you can’t find a new use for an item as-is, think about its parts, instead. You can disassemble the dresser and use drawers as shelves, for example!

In Conclusion: Breathe new life into your old furniture

Maybe, you already have old furniture that you’re about to throw out. If you don’t, ask your family and friends if they have something they’re about to send to the landfill. Or, why not pay a visit to the nearest thrift store or garage sale to find items to refurbish?

All in all, if you’re a novice in refurbishing, find yourself a piece of furniture that won’t be too difficult to freshen up. Too many big scratches, holes, or other irregularities mean a tougher challenge.

That said, don’t hesitate to try refurbishing old furniture. If you’re into DIY, this will be fun. Plus, you’ll get an item that looks as good as new for a fraction of the cost. It’s a win-win!

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