Refinishing Furniture

If you’re like most homeowners, saving money has become a necessity rather than just something desirable. For that reason, a lot of homeowners want to do anything they can for themselves, and this strays into a lot of different areas. One of those is the way we buy furniture.

If you’ve shopped for tables, chairs, bed frames, dressers, or any other items of furniture recently, you probably have an idea of how much you’ll pay for a finished item. But that cost can be cut considerably by picking up furniture second-hand and refinishing it yourself.

When you shop for furniture to refinish, look past the surface. If the paint flakes or the stain is poorly applied, that’s not important. If there’s unsightly structural damage, something that changes not just the color and sheen but the shape and texture of the item, pass it by. In this way, you can get some very nice bargains by choosing items that aren’t necessarily attractive – as long as the poor appearance occurs for the right reason.

The same applies to your own existing furniture that may need a makeover. Doing it yourself can save you money either for buying new furniture or for having your old furniture refinished professionally.

It’s also a good idea to develop a plan: a general theme or look that will be pleasing to your eye and your family’s, and that will go well with the interior décor. This will determine whether you want to paint or stain, and what colors and shades, and how natural and rustic or polished and refined you want your furniture to appear. From this follows how much stripping you need to do, and what tools and finishing supplies you will need.

The following are some of the items you will absolutely require, no matter what your decisions:

  • Drop cloths
  • Paintbrushes (you will use these for almost any type of finish)
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Cotton rags (lots of these!)
  • Sandpaper – generally 120 and 220 grit up to 400 grit
  • Wood filler for holes
  • Very fine steel wool

Other materials and tools will vary depending on the type of finish that you prefer.

As always when working with potentially hazardous materials, follow proper safety precautions. This includes keeping the work area well ventilated and making sure that no sources of flame or sparks are in the area (and of course, smoking while doing this work is absolutely out of the question).

For details on how to refinish furniture, here are some good on-line resources: furnitureknowledge.com; refinishingfurniture.net.