Before you throw away your old wooden furniture, consider how you might give it a makeover. We’ve rounded up a handful of techniques you can use to refinish old furniture along with easy-to-understand tutorials. Click through to see what you can do to turn an eyesore into an attention-grabber.
When you think about refinishing wood furniture, you might assume paint or stain are the only tools at your disposal. This doesn’t have to be the case. Crafty Nest blogger Monica Ewing specializes in upcycling shabby, unwanted items, and her tutorial for how to make a wallpapered cart showcases her skills.
To do this at home, simply leave the portions of the wood you plan to cover with wallpaper unpainted and instead paint them with glue. Then you’ll apply the wallpaper and cover with a second layer of glue to protect the paper. Visit Crafty Nest for a complete list of instructions.
It turns out wallpaper isn’t the only thing you can glue to wood furniture. This technique of decorating with cut-outs, called decoupage, offers plenty of possibilities for furniture upcyclers.
Amanda Masters of the blog City Girl Gone Coastal uses the technique to cover an old chair with bright, floral-patterned napkins. Masters suggests mixing up your own decoupage mixture using glue and water, or you can use a store-bought alternative like Mod Podge. Visit City Girl Gone Coastal for the full tutorial.
You can also try reusing scraps you have around the house like fabric, wrapping paper or even old maps for decoupage projects, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
3. Chalk Paint
You may be wondering how chalk paint is different from any other kind of paint, and the answer is that it might just make your life easier.
Liz Marie Galvan blogs about home decor and redoing furniture and she provides a recipe for making your own chalk paint, which can be applied to furniture without sanding or priming the wood. The paint is thick, which means it goes a long way, and it also dries quickly.
Galvan’s tutorial explains how she mixed up a batch of paint using flat paint and unsanded grout and then applied it to an old, beat-up dresser, resulting in a clean, white finish.
The vintage look of distressed furniture is popular right now, and it turns out it’s not too challenging to do.
Kelli, who blogs at Lolly Jane with her twin sister Kristi, offers an accessible tutorial explaining how to distress an old, wooden chair using just spray paint and a sander. You’ll need to sand the wood to prepare it for painting, apply spray paint and then once the paint is dry use the sander (or sandpaper) again to remove some of the new paint. Kelli recommends removing the paint in areas that would naturally wear over time, in this case on the front legs of the chair and along the back where someone would lean against the wood.
5. Spray Paint
Looking for a simple way to add color to a piece of wood furniture? Spray painting is an easy way to cover wood with color without too much trouble or mess.
Kristin Cadwallader of the blog Bliss at Home put together a straightforward tutorial for spray painting furniture that will show you how she turned an old green cabinet blue. Cadwallader makes the task simple with spray primer and spray paint. Visit Bliss at Home to learn more.
6. Latex Paint
Using traditional latex paint is another easy way to give old furniture a fresh look. Sherry Petersik of Young House Love put together a tutorial that explains the process is detail, which will ensure your furniture’s new look is both stylish and durable.
Petersik writes on the blog that a fresh coat of white paint can turn a furniture piece from thrift store quality to an item worthy of much pricier venues. To try it out yourself, you’ll need to prep the wood by sanding it (sandpaper will work fine), prime it and then paint it with a brush or foam roller.
Once you have your furniture painted, one way to add a little extra flair is to use stenciling. LiveLoveDIY blogger Virginia employs this technique in a tutorial that turns a vanity table she purchased for 10 dollars at Goodwill into an elegant accent for a bedroom.
Virginia recommends finding a suitable stencil at a craft store and then applying the paint color of your choice to the surface using a foam paint roller. Having painter’s tape on hand to keep the stencil in place will make life easier and ensure your design comes out clean and even.
If you’d prefer a more traditional route for restoring wood furniture, re-staining may be the way to go. Staining will highlight the wood, while maintaining a classic, timeless look.
DIY On the Cheap blogger Erin Spain obtained this old library cabinet from a vacant school building and turned it into a beautiful decoration for her living room that she plans on keeping for a long time. Her staining tutorial explains how to prepare, condition, stain and seal the wood. If you’d like to see even more photos of the library cabinet transformation process, check out this post.
9. Crackle Paint
Kristi and Crystal of the blog Teaching Little Miracles usually write about teaching first graders, but they also put together some tutorials for home improvement and craft projects.
For this project, the duo gave a makeover to a white bathroom vanity using a painting method that has a crackle effect. To do this, paint your furniture with a base coat color that you want to show through the “cracks” (Kristi and Crystal used brown). Follow it with a layer of Elmer’s glue, which is then followed by another layer of paint in a different color (blue). As the paint dries, the glue will leave your furniture with a unique, aged look.