Ideas to Give Old Furniture New Life
by: Bob Benson
The best thing about old furniture is the new life you can give it. It doesn’t take much talent – just a little creativity and patience if you’ve never taken on a furniture project before.
Accept this challenge: instead of throwing out that old chest of drawers from your child’s room, think of a new use for it. Recycling furniture can be a lot of fun, plus it’s a good way to get a new look at a fraction of the cost. If you are not happy with the finished product, start over or then give in to purchase a new furniture piece.
Think about that old chest of drawers. Is there a drawer that’s broken? Maybe you can take out that drawer and create a shelf from the opening. Would it make a nice TV stand if it was just a little taller? Consider screwing finials that you can find in your local discount store onto the bottom to create “legs” or “feet.”
And never underestimate the power of a coat of paint! Old furniture gets a quick update when painted. If you like the shabby chic look, tatter the fresh paint job a bit by sanding around corners and other heavy use areas to create a worn look. If it’s your first time to try this furniture painting technique, invest in an inexpensive kit that can be found at any retail discount store.
If you are really creative and not afraid to try new things with your old furniture, you can create some funky new accessories for your home. Use an old dresser as a sink basin for your bathroom. Use the headboard or footboard from a twin size bed as the back of a bench.
Giving your old furniture a new look does not always include creating a new function for it. For instance, drape and tuck fabric over an old sofa or love seat to give it a “slipcovered” look. Or, hot glue some fabric on top of the old rattan panels on the coffee table you’ve had for years. Trim it out by hot gluing some braided trim around the edges and you’ve created a new look for the table.
If your piece of furniture was painted but you’d like to give it a stained look, give it a try. Most woods are easily stripped of paint and stain can be applied in the color and intensity of your choice. Just follow the directions supplied by the stain manufacturer.
Give the lacquer-look furniture popular in past years an up to date look by using a combination of painting and staining. To get a brown leather look, brush your lacquer furniture lightly first with sand paper just enough to rough up the surface so the paint will adhere better. Then, use a red primer color spray paint on the furniture. Once the primer dries, use an oil-based brown stain and a plastic bag to create the leathery look. Working with a small area at a time, use a sponge “brush” to paint on the stain. Crinkle a plastic bag and open it up. Press the crinkled bag on top of the stain and sweep the bag quickly off the furniture. The motion will pull the stain around, creating the lines associated with leather. Kits are also available for this technique.