Tap to Read ➤

7 Steps for Updating Your Furniture

Before you throw that old chair away, ask yourself, do I really need to replace this?
Mia Morales Dec 23, 2019
Furniture lasted longer, not just because it was built better, but because our grandparents took the time to update their old furniture rather than just throwing it away as soon as they were tired of it. The skills you need in order to recycle old furniture are far from lost; all you need is some time and a can-do attitude.


The first thing to assess is whether to replace or not. Why are you thinking you need a new chair, table or sofa? Is it that the look no longer fits with the rest of your furniture? Is it looking worn down or battered? If it's actually completely broken, you may need to look into a replacement, but first, consider the alternatives.


You'd be amazed at what you can fix with a few simple tools. Before you throw out that old chair, see what wood glue, braces, and screws can do. It costs you nothing but time to attempt a rebuild. The worst that happens is that you end up throwing the piece away anyway, and maybe you've learned something from the experience.


If your furniture isn't actually broken but instead just no longer fits in with the rest of your decor, that's an easier fix. Upholstery cleaning is a great way to give your old furnishings new life, but if that won't cut it, then you can always completely reupholster the piece.
For something like an armchair or a sofa, that's a quite involved and difficult process, which will probably call for a professional, but if you're just reupholstering your dining room chairs, then you can probably do it yourself.


If your furniture is looking scratched at battered, or faded in spots, you might think that's it, but before you replace, remember that you can refinish. Refinishing wood furniture can give it new life and a fresh facelift.
Be careful with what you use; especially if you're working with antiques, some modern chemicals will damage old finishes. So your research and all around at local antiques stores to see what the experts use.


An easier but more extreme way to give your furniture a facelift is by painting it. Once you paint something, there's no going back; stripping paint without damaging the wood is next to impossible, but the results can be great. There's nothing quite like afresh coat of paint for transforming junk into a fresh new piece, and you can have so much fun with it.
Another option that you may not have considered is to repurpose it. Maybe that old bookshelf isn't real enough to fit your collection anymore, but have you considered moving it behind the couch to use as a sofa table? Maybe you don't need your grandmother's antique wash stand to use as a wash stand, but it's just the right size to hold your printer.


You can turn almost anything into a bathroom vanity, if you've got the time and the skillset. Think outside the box. Just because you've always used it one way doesn't mean you have to keep using it that way.


Last but not least: don't underestimate the power of accessories. New throw pillows can liven up your couch. A fresh tablecloth can transform your dining room table. Accessories can make an old piece of furniture feel fresh and new, and that is, after all, the whole point. Don't waste money by throwing away furniture that can still be refreshed and reused.
With just a small investment of time and a little bit of practice, you can learn all you need to know to repair and restore your own furniture. Try these seven tricks first, and see what magic you can work on the tired old furniture in your home. You might find that you love your old, repaired furniture even more than you would a shiny new piece.