Refurbishing furniture has become a popular hobby for people who enjoy upcycling or do-it-yourself projects. Thrift stores and consignment shops often have lots of furniture for fairly reasonable prices. Unfortunately, most of this furniture is old, and usually pretty ugly. That’s where refurbishing and reupholstering comes in handy. With a little bit of research and practice anyone can learn to make old furniture look new and original. Here are some tips to refresh any type of furniture:
- Wooden Furniture: Wooden furniture is often easier to refurbish than upholstered furniture. The first step with wooden furniture is always sanding. The level of wear and tear on your furniture will indicate how much you should sand it. Be careful with sanding to make sure that you’re sanding fairly equally, because you don’t want to change the shape of the piece, you’re just trying to smooth it out. This can be particularly difficult on any pieces that have been clawed by cats or have extremely splintered surfaces. Once you’ve finished with the sanding, all that’s really left is choosing a stain or paint that you like for the furniture. For things with knobs and hardware, like a chest of drawers or a cabinet, you’ll want to find some hinges or pulls that you like to attach to the piece. Generally, you can replace existing hardware, but if you find something that doesn’t fit the current holes it’s easy to drill new holes. After staining/painting and attaching hardware you’re pretty much done! Some people like to add antiquing stain to make the piece look worn, and you can even go so far as to sand certain parts of it after painting like corners or edges to give it an antique used feel.
- Upholstered Furniture: Upholstered furniture takes a little bit more knowledge and skill to refurbish. Upholstery can be tricky because you have to measure the fabric properly to cover the areas of your couch without having a ton of extra. This is tough because sofas and chairs are often odd shapes, not to mention they’re squishy which makes them even tougher to measure. If you’ve ever had to wrap a pillow as a Christmas present, then you probably understand why this can be tough. Sometimes if you’re lucky your furniture will have fabric that matches your décor already, in which case you can simply restore a piece. Often the easiest way to restore a piece is to make an appointment with an upholstery cleaning company who can come to your home and deep clean your furniture. This can remove any unpleasant smells left behind by the last owner, after all nobody wants to sit on a sofa that smells like a thrift store. You can also learn to clean antique furniture yourself, but you risk ruining the pattern of the fabric or damaging the upholstery, in which case you’ll have to reupholster the chair, which takes much longer than cleaning. If you choose to reupholster your upholstered furniture, there are many books on the topic that are good resources for learning how to do it.
- Metal Furniture: There are lots of great metal pieces out there for upcycling as well. Unfortunately, many of these pieces have rust spots or dents in them, which can make them look a little bit trashy. Lucky for you, rust is easily removed with steel wool from most kinds of metal fixtures. There are solutions that will also help take rust off of metal items. Dents are a little tougher to deal with, and might be better left alone, if it’s a lamp and you can turn that side to the wall, that might be the best course of action. Most of the time when people try to fix dents they end up scratching and denting the metal even worse, so if you’re going to buy a dented piece, know that the dent is part of the piece now. There are many types of spray paint that adhere to metal, so you can paint your new piece any color you want.
It’s no surprise that upcycling furniture has become so popular lately. With all of the initiatives encouraging people to take care of the environment and be green, it makes sense that people would want to recycle a serviceable piece of furniture that they can customize to match their current décor, rather than buy a new piece. This can be an easy one-time DIY project, or become a regular hobby. You can even refurbish pieces and then sell them to turn a little profit, or just make enough to start another project.