Think before you throw away: breathing new life into your old furniture

As much as we’d like them to last forever, furniture pieces have a limited lifespan, and just like with all other interior design elements, sooner or later we’ll have to part ways with them. However, it’s important to know when that moment has arrived and not rush things unnecessarily. 

Much too often, homeowners are too quick to get rid of old furniture pieces and replace them with new ones without giving it a second thought. It’s understandable that with the passage of time furnishings get worn out, damaged or outdated. But just because they’re not in their prime anymore doesn’t mean they need to go down the recycling route. 

Apart from the fact that buying new furniture represents a major expense that can leave a huge hole in your budget, some pieces might also hold sentimental value and it would be a shame to let go of them simply because their functionality and aspect has deteriorated. 

But fear not, because you don’t have to dig deep in your pocket if some of your furniture pieces are looking a bit shabby or you’ve grown tired of them. You can always restore them to their former glory or give them a new look altogether, and we’re going to teach you just how to do it. 

Fix it 

Functionality always comes first, so before you get to aesthetics, you need to clean your furniture, inspect it for signs of damage and have any issues you encounter fixed. Minor defects and imperfections like scratches, small dents, or loose screws can be easily addressed with a basic toolkit, some products and a bit of research. 

For example, when dealing with visible scratches or nicks on wooden surfaces, special touch-up markers or wax wood filler sticks can help you solve the problem quickly and make your furniture look brand new again. Other times, you just need to give your wooden furniture a good cleaning and treat it with high-quality wood oil for a flawless and natural-looking finish.  

Strip it down

In certain situations, the less is more approach can work wonders, so why not bring your furniture back to its raw look? Sometimes, it’s difficult to see your furniture’s potential under all those layers of paint or varnish that have been applied over the years. But a simple stripping can help you get rid of all these coats and bring back natural beauty to the surface. 

Depending on the pieces you want to restore, you can use a chemical stripper to remove the finish or sand them. Most people opt for paint-and-varnish removers instead of sanding as it is faster and more convenient, especially for smaller or more intricate surfaces. Once the old finishes have been removed, you can leave the furniture as it is or refinish it with stain or a protective layer of wood furniture varnish as a finishing touch. 

Cover it up

If stripping your furniture down is not a good solution in your case, you can go the opposite direction and cover your furnishings. This will help you hide minor defects and completely change the look of your pieces, making it a great hack if you’re looking for a more impactful transformation. 

There are different ways to cover your furniture, with the first and most obvious being applying a fresh coat of paint. Nothing is easier or more effective at reviving outdated pieces than painting them in a new colour that matches your current style and chromatic preferences. The results can be pretty spectacular, so much so that you might find it hard to believe it’s the same furniture that you once considered dull and outdated. 

Another popular method is applying wallpaper to your furniture. You can use wallpaper to decorate the back of your cabinets or cover entire pieces like nightstands, dressers, coffee tables and so on. Decorating with wallpaper is a cost-effective solution to upcycle your furniture and add instant character and interest to your rooms. With so many interesting wallpaper models and patterns available, you’ll surely find something that will catch your eye. 


If you have an old sofa or an armchair that you want to salvage, reupholstering is often the best option. Fabric options are endless, so you can choose whatever colour or design you find suitable for your pieces. Sturdiness is an important factor to consider when selecting the fabric. 

However, you have to keep in mind that reupholstering is one of the more difficult refurbishing projects, and it might prove trickier than expected. First, you have to make sure that the furniture is in good shape and is worth reupholstering and then start removing the old upholstery. 

Next, you’ll have to cut the fabric you’ve chosen to the exact dimensions your furniture requires and then attach it to the piece, either by using a staple gun, tracks or screws. This might take a while and require some assistance, but if you do things correctly, you’re going to be thrilled with the result. 


Another hack that you could find useful when looking to rescue your furniture is to give it a new purpose: an antique chair that isn’t sturdy enough to sit on anymore can get a second chance at life as a plant stand; an old door that is looking a bit tattered can be transformed into a headboard, and so on. Be bold and use your imagination. Chances are you’ll find new ways to use old things as long as you keep an open mind and aren’t afraid to experiment. 

Give your furniture the DIY treatment  

Honing your DIY abilities and investing a bit of time and effort into bringing your furniture pieces back to life is a great way to extend their lifespan, so you can enjoy them for many more years and save money at the same time. Whether you choose to reupholster, paint, repurpose, replace the hardware or use a different method to update your furnishings, don’t forget to use your creativity and have fun with it. 


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