Tips for Refurbishing Used Furniture - dummies

Tips for Refurbishing Used Furniture

By Katharine Kaye McMillan, Patricia Hart McMillan

Refurbished furniture can add a lot of character to your home. Decorating old or unfinished furniture lets you make a creative statement. Take a look at the following decorating tips. Try some out on your furniture:

  • Consider new uses for old furniture and unique items. Turn an old combination radio/phonograph in a beautifully veneered cabinet into an elegant foyer console. Try using drums as tables; bunch together a trio of tribal drums and use them as individual coffee tables.

    Discreet furniture never reveals its source (garage sale or heirloom?) but adds to a room’s o
    Discreet furniture never reveals its source (garage sale or heirloom?) but adds to a room’s overall beauty and comfort.
    • Create an instant slipcover by throwing a king-size sheet, quilt, or bedspread over an unsightly sofa. Tie it in place with rope or grosgrain ribbon.

    • Decorate an old chest for a teenage boy’s room with discarded license plates. Garage sales and junk stores are good sources. Just decide where to add them. Nail them into place.

    • Decoupage an old dresser or dressing table with motifs cut from wallpaper. Safeguard with a finishing glaze or coat of polyurethane.

  • Dress up a plain-Jane, upholstered side chair. Get out the trusty hot-glue gun to attach interesting gimp (an ornamental braid or cord), fringe, or other trim along the bottom of the seat.

  • Faux paint old wooden furniture. Paint stores have rows of booklets describing various techniques step-by-step. They also carry kits. Everything you need is right there in store.

  • Individualize dining room chairs for your children. Paint mismatched chairs bold colors (all the same or coordinating colors). Stencil your children’s names on the chair backs, or add a motif. Craft shops have small glue-on toys, animals, numbers, and initials.

  • Paint a wooden chair with an interesting shape in different colors and patterns, like a Victorian house. For color combination ideas, pick the colors already in your scheme. Some paint companies put out booklets of historic color combinations; check these out for instant inspiration.

  • Paint vertical stripes on an old or RTA chest or nightstand. All you need is tape (you can buy special masking tape at the paint store), a brilliant color or two, and a very steady hand wielding a paintbrush. Measure off the stripes using a ruler and a pencil to make light marks.

  • Take a tip from Colonial homemakers and cover tables in flat-weave rugs. Dhurries, needlepoints, or chainstitch rugs transform tables into desks and display areas for framed family photos.

  • Use a deep, glass-fronted china cabinet to hold a small TV or serve as a minibar in the living room. Punch a hole in the back to slip through the wires for any appliances. Display glasses and ice buckets.

  • Use pillows to convert lumber into a sofa of sorts outside or inside. Use flatter pillows for seats and backs and fluffier ones for decoration and added comfort.