Flipping through the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog can make you long for dumping hundreds of dollars on a gorgeous new coffee table for your living room. Aside from being a death knell for your bank account, it’s just not necessary to spend a ton of money to get a great looking piece of furniture. And since we’re still in the midst of garage sale season, now is the best time to find an old piece of furniture that you can affordably transform into a showroom piece with a little bit of elbow grease. Here are some ideas:
Image via diynetwork.com
Refinish Old Wood Furniture
Those old blonde stains from decades ago just make the wood look yellow and aged, but the wood underneath is still actually quite beautiful. Darker stains are always more desirable, in my opinion. Shellac and lacquer finishes are very easy to remove compared to varnish, and the stain itself can be removed with wash-away finish remover or sanding. Then, you can pick a nice, rich-colored finish that gives you the look you like.
Spray-paint Some Old Wicker Furniture
Wicker is beautiful, but it can easily fade if it’s neglected. Classic white is a reliable standby color, but let me urge you to give more intriguing colors a try, especially pastels. Black is fine, but it requires frequent repainting as even small wear quickly starts to show the lighter colors beneath. If you have some minor damaged areas on a chair or table, superglue is your best friend, and the paint should hide it nicely. Darker colors, like brown or even black can help conceal some of that damage as they decrease the contrast between light and shadow.
Image via cupcakesandcrinoline.com
Reupholster some old chairs.
New fabric will refresh any piece of furniture. Now, you should only try a large upholstery job, such as an armchair or sofa, if you’re stocked up on free-time and patience. But old kitchen chair seats don’t really have any interesting structures, so you can simply stretch new fabric over the top and staple them underneath. You have to be a bit careful how you fit the fabric to prevent any wrinkles. This is an afternoon project that barely costs a thing.
Faux Antiquing with Paint Layers
Sometimes, refinishing an old dresser or side-table just isn’t an option. Either it’s been painted, or it’s really banged up, or the wood underneath just doesn’t look good. This is your opportunity to refurbish the old piece with a little shabby-chic magic. First, you prime and paint the whole piece with a base color and let dry. Then, you can repaint with a new top-color and wipe away that coat on corners and edges, revealing the base color underneath. This creates some faux aging into the piece, and you can even play with it by choosing vibrant, contrasting colors and beating up the piece with a hammer or crowbar to distress the surface to make it look older.
Add a Mirror to a Tabletop
I always see old mirrors at thrift shops and garage sales. They always inspire unique table surface ideas for me. Sometimes they’re chipped or scratched, or the frame is beat up. These are the perfect surfaces to place over a coffee table or side table, and even the frame can be painted to match. And if it’s scratched, you can add your own distressing and scratching to make the entire surface uniform. If you’re really ambitious, you can break the glass into shards and cement them into the surface of the table, just as if you were tiling it.
Author bio: Jennifer Miller is a DIY and craft enthusiast. When she’s not painting, refinishing or gluing something, you can find her blogging at WhatsBestfortheNest.com.