Whether it’s a beloved chair from your family home that’s seen better days or a recent bargain at a flea market, restoring old furniture is a great project. Instead of visiting an upholsterer or carpenter, have a go yourself with our tips on how to restore old furniture.
Before you start
The key to restoring wood furniture is using a high-quality wood in good condition. Avoid soft woods, like mahogany, and opt for harder varieties like oak, pine, walnut, birch, and maple. Check your furniture for signs of damage that can’t be undone – poor paint finishes, peeling lacquer and rickety parts can be fixed but there’s nothing you can do about rotten wood.
Restoring wood furniture: what you’ll need
Before you begin restoring old furniture make sure you have everything you need:
- Protective eyewear and cloth gloves to protect against chemicals and splinters
- A spatula or a similar flat, blunt metal scraper to chip away paint
- A small, stiff-bristled brush for use with wet stripper
- A clean toothbrush for cleaning dry wood
- Steel wool (look for both fine and coarse varieties if you can)
- Nails and screws
- Wood glue
- Cloth and string for tying glued pieces of wood together while they set
Good to know
When you’re learning how to restore furniture, you need to use the right tools to get a good result – but that doesn’t always mean buying the most expensive ones. Unless you’re going to restore furniture regularly, such purchases may offer limited value.
How to restore wood furniture
Follow this method for restoring wood furniture. Remember to work in a well-ventilates areas and cover your floors to protect them from any potential damage. Keep children and pets away, and wear protective clothing (gloves and goggles).