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Fixing up old furniture: restoration projects for the weekend

Try out some DIY furniture restoration with these four easy ways to get started.


By Cleanipedia Team

upholstered chair

Whether you’ve found a great antique piece that needs a bit of work or your garden furniture could just do with a lick of paint, doing some DIY furniture restoration is a satisfying way to fill a spare few days. In this article we’ll look at how to fix up old furniture and provide some handy furniture restoration tips.

Fixing up old furniture is a great bank holiday weekend project. Head to your local vintage market to snap up some bargains, then get crafty.

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Four Easy Furniture Restoration Projects

There are lots of easy ways to transform an old wardrobe, bed or chair into a sparkling new item for your home. Here are four top furniture restoration tips:

  1. Gold Leafing: If you’re feeling a little fancy, why not take the bed-head or chest of drawers you just found at a flea market and spruce it up with some gold leaf? While the finished piece will look impressive, gold leafing is in fact a very simple technique. Head to your local arts and craft shop to purchase the leafing and follow the instructions on the packet. Use the gold colour to accentuate particular aspects of the furniture, such as embossed or patterned features.
  2. Spray Paint: Want to opt for a more modern look? Try fixing up old furniture with some spray paint. This is a great technique for items that fit your particular dimensions and/or are well designed, but don’t quite match your interior colour scheme. You can find spray paint in DIY and hardware stores as well as art supply shops.
  3. Sanding off varnish: Maybe the colour and design are great, but the texture of your newly acquired piece is not exactly what you want. Sanding off varnish can have a really transformative effect on a range of wood-based items. For example, taking the top layer off a coffee table will remove old stains that are common on pre-loved furniture. Once removed, you can either leave it raw for a contemporary look or you can re-varnish to seal.
  4. Reupholstering: Nothing changes a chair or sofa like new fabric! Of course, this project is more of a challenge. There are lots of online resources to take you through reupholstering step-by-step, and there’s no reason not to have a go if you’re handy with a sewing machine. If textiles aren’t your thing, talk to a furniture specialist who will help revamp your piece with the fabric of your choice.

Now you’ve read our top DIY furniture restoration ideas, you can use them to inspire your own projects! There are many great ways to transform even the most battered item into a unique piece for your home. Use inspiration from magazines, blogs and design shops; then get your hands dirty creating exactly the look you want.

Key steps

  1. Avoid using furniture affected by mould or termites – no quick DIY fix can solve that one.
  2. Find classic, well-designed pieces for your DIY furniture restoration projects that just need a bit of love.
  3. Get craft supplies from your local DIY and art shop. Ask in store for advice on techniques to use. 

Originally published