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Reupholstering and Refinishing Old Furniture: 10 Helpful Tips From the Experts

High Seas was recently featured in the Redfin blog on restoring old furniture - Check it out below!

Maybe you’re looking to freshen up your home’s interior design but don’t have the budget to splurge on all new furniture. Or maybe you have outdated furniture stowed away in the garage, and you’re looking for a weekend DIY project. Whatever it may be, reupholstering or refinishing old furniture is a great way to revive outdated pieces and breathe new life into a space, all without breaking the bank.

The best part about reupholstering and refinishing furniture is that the creative possibilities are endless - you can make a piece of furniture that’s uniquely yours and perfect for your home. Before you get started on refinishing your old furniture, we thought who better to get advice from than the experts themselves? From Haiku, HI all the way to Hamilton, ON, here are 10 helpful tips to consider from upholstery and restoration professionals before you begin your next project.

1. When deciding to reupholster or refinish your old furniture, be sure to check for damage

If your piece is structurally sound, refinishing is always a great option. This will allow you to customize colors and fabrics to what works best in your space. Bear in mind it may cost as much as buying new so choose quality performance materials. - Maui Upholstery Services | Haiku, HI

Structural integrity prior to refinishing old furniture is key. Addressing issues such as loose legs and sticking drawers not only improves the functionality and enjoyment of your piece, but it is also more cost-effective to address prior to refinishing. Broken, unstable components on a new finish can quickly lead to unsightly scratches and marring on your prized piece. - Armand Lee & Co. | Chicago, IL

2. The right type of refinishing depends on the end goal for your piece

There are many ways to refinish wood furniture, and the right type of wood finishing depends on what you want and can afford. If you're going to restore a piece of furniture entirely, traditional restoration is the way to go. If you wish only to have the tabletop touched up, a partial refinish is what you need. But suppose you want your furniture to match the style of a room or another piece of furniture. In that case, you should consider artistic hybrid-refinishing to create beautiful one-of-a-kind collectibles, using custom combinations of veneers, paints, oils, and stains. The greatest thing about hybrid-refinishing is that the possibilities are endless. - SurfacesRX | Dallas, TX

3. Don't be afraid to get creative

When a piece of furniture is on its last leg, many simply write it off as "trash" without realizing the creative potential. If a dresser drawer is beyond repair, eliminate the drawer from the dresser and have the open space turned into a shelf. Then, use the discarded drawer as a wall shelf or attach legs to it and use it as a side table. The power of paint will help create a beautiful, cohesive look in no time at all. Have fun with these forgotten (soon to be) treasures and let your creative juices flow. - Krista Howard of Vintage and Restore by K | Denver, CO

4. Consider thrifting solid wood furniture for your project

If you’re looking for new furniture, think about buying used solid wood furniture. Today’s “new” furniture by law must be made with a large percentage of remanufactured wood (pressed sawdust). By buying old furniture, you can customize and repurpose it to get a custom look for your home at lower prices with far better quality. - Alecia's Furniture Refinishing | Tulare, CA

5. Refinishing old furniture with a fresh coat of paint is a simple yet impactful way to give your dated furniture a new look

Refinishing a piece of furniture with paint can breathe new life into a tired, outdated look and create a whole new vibe to your home decor. Why end the story on a piece of furniture when you can create a new chapter? Not to mention by saving a piece by refinishing it, you're also saving our landfills and planet. It's a win, win for your home, wallet, and our planet. - Cece's & Patsy's Boutique | Lake Katrine, NY

6. When refinishing a piece of furniture that has drawers, be sure to number the drawers as you take them out

Even though the drawers and the drawer bays may look exactly the same, it’s most likely that they have slightly changed over time. This can cause drawers not to fit, and cause you a lot of frustration. - Strickly Chic Furniture

7. Think about the longevity of the furniture

Don’t be afraid to invest in your outdated high-quality furniture. Upholstery takes your worn furniture and breathes new life into it once more. You can choose how it feels, looks, and wears over time to create longevity, so you don’t have to worry about low-quality, temporary alternatives. Upholstery invites you to make a home feel like the oasis you deserve. - Aby's Upholstery | San Jose, CA

8. What is old is new again, so don’t toss out your dated-looking chairs

Looking at your old chairs and wishing that you could only afford something new? With just a few affordable changes, your old kitchen or dining room chairs just might become your favorite pieces. All you will need is half a yard of durable fabric for each chair, tools to take the seats off, a staple gun, and your willingness to DIY. It is simple to change the look of a room by reupholstering your chairs. - Vintage Attic | Tahlequah, OK

9. For a DIY reupholstery project, start with a new sharp sewing needle every time

A dull needle can cause your fabric to pucker, which can be hard on your sewing machine. A needle that’s even the slightest bit bent, even if you can’t see it, can cause all sorts of problems. To prevent any problems when reupholstering furniture, we put a new needle in every 3 days. - High Seas Upholstery | Hamilton, ON

10. Consider re-staining or varnishing the original wood when refinishing old furniture

Want to see what the natural wood under old varnish or paint looks like? Quickly strip off all the old layers down to the bare wood using infrared heat. Often the beautiful wood grain will entice you not to paint it, but rather stain or varnish it. - Eco-Strip | Herndon, VA

Originally published by Redfin

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