Whether you’ve found an old piece of furniture at a thrift shop or need to clean up some family heirlooms, there are a few simple steps you should follow in furniture restoration.
Make sure you have all tools necessary for your project. This can include screwdrivers, sandpaper, and protective gear as well as paint, stain, or fabric. Plan everything out before you start to make sure you have all the needed tools.
After ensuring that you have all the right tools, including safety tools, you will want to make sure you have a safe place to work. A well-ventilated area is ideal because you will likely be working with harsh chemicals. Working outdoors on a project like this would be ideal.
Determining the finish on a piece of furniture will be instrumental in knowing how to remove it, if you take that route.
You never know—an old piece of furniture might just be covered in dirt and grime. It’s always a good idea to start with a good cleaning before you start to sand or stain old furniture. Use warm water, a sponge, and mild soap. You can use a toothbrush to clean out any detail work on a piece of furniture.
Are there breaks in the wood, or is a chair leg loose? You’ll want to fix these issues next. Fill any gaps with putty that either matches in color or is stainable, if you’re staining the piece later, and check for loose screws before replacing legs entirely.
If you’re refinishing or painting, you’ll need to strip the finish or paint that is on the furniture. Using both sanding and chemicals to strip the paint will likely be needed, as well as a lot of patience. When finished, be sure to clean the piece one more before staining or painting.
To reupholster, make sure you have a workable, strain-resistant, quality material. You will likely need a few upholstery tools including: needle-nose pliers, foam padding, springs, and more.
When you cut the old fabric from the piece, use it as a guide when measuring and cutting the new upholstery. Make sure to add a few inches to the new fabric and pat attention to the way the fabric was attached.
Examine padding and springs to determine if any need to be replaced, then reupholster the chair in a similar fashion to the way it was originally upholstered.
You’ve worked hard to improve a piece of furniture and now you can enjoy it! Be proud of the work you did. This is often a more difficult project to tackle.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.