New Year ... Re-do Your Furniture: Refurbishing Basics

You can make something old new again. This year set some resolutions about refurbishing your furniture. Find those items that need a little bit of special care to sparkle again ... even a restoration newbie can do it. In this interview with restoration and refurbishing guru, Charie Williams, owner of Uncommon Redesigns and Furniture Flippers 2.0, a Facebook group, we'll take you through some of the basics.

F&H: How do you know if you should restore or refurbish something, or if you should discard it?
CW: There are different answers to this question based on if you plan to sell the furniture or keep it as a personal project. Before you start to work on any piece of furniture, it is important to identify what you have. For example, if you have a Mid-Century Modern (MCM) piece and you plan to sell it, research will show that most MCM collectors/buyers prefer the furniture to be restored, so painting a MCM piece could devalue or slow your sell of it.
If this is your personal project and you plan to use it, then you could do what your heart desires. I only have discarded furniture that is not safe. If the wood is rotting usually it is not worth saving, otherwise take on those challenging projects. It increases your experience and skills.
Pro tip: Before discarding any furniture remove the hardware and save for future projects.

tools for furniture refurbishing

It only takes a few tools and some of your time to restore the furniture you love.

F&H: What basic tools do people need for this process?

CW: You will always want to protect your floors (if you care about them). Drop cloth, old cardboard boxes, etc. can be used. You will need quality paint or foam brushes. If you are doing any painting or staining it's highly recommended for even distribution. The two tools that I can't work without, are a paint sprayer and orbital sander. If you plan to do a lot of furniture projects, having those will make it so much easier. With those, you will want to invest in a good respirator to protect you from harmful chemicals and sawdust. Lastly, you will want to have a screwdriver/and or drill to remove hardware. 

F&H: What are some tips you have for refurbishing and restoring furniture?
CW: For refurbishing furniture don't be afraid to try things you haven't seen before. Doing this makes for new furniture option styles! For restoring, research is key. Identify what you have and take the time to repair the damage that it may have. 


refurbished stool

Fabrics and Home practices what we preach. Remember this DIY project where this childhood stool was transformed into a lovely side table perfect for holding morning coffee cups? Learn how you can do it, too: CLICK HERE


F&H: What mistakes do people make when refurbishing furniture? How is restoration different from refurbishing?
CW: People usually cut corners when refurbishing furniture. I love a short cut as long as it doesn't compromise the longevity of the furniture. Another mistake people make when refurbishing furniture is under- and over-pricing the furniture when selling it. There are many variables to determine the right price, like the market temperature, what you spent on supplies, the unfinished value of the furniture, and more. 


Helpful Links

This Old House on wood finish restoration 

Basics on how to refinish furniture from Home Depot

Refinish antiques from DIY Network



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