Do It Yourself Furniture Refinishing

By on February 12, 2014
DIY Furniture Refinishing

When it comes to refinishing furniture many look at it as a daunting task and simply opt to buy new. But that’s not the case for people like you, the handy Do It Yourself aficionado. You are ready to dive right in to give that old worn piece of furniture a new look and a new vibrancy.

Whether you have old family heirloom pieces that have been handed down through the generations, elegant prized antiques, or merely furniture treasures discovered at neighborhood yard sales, you know you have been anxious to give them a revitalized appearance.

There are a number of furniture refinishing techniques to make your lackluster gems gorgeous once again, so let’s take a look at some of your options.

Distressing Furniture

Distressing FurnitureDistressing a piece of wood furniture such as a dresser, vanity, or hope chest is a terrific way to give it a vintage or old-fashioned look. Interestingly, it is a unique way to give old used furniture an attractive aged not old look.

You start this refinishing project by sanding the piece of furniture to remove any old paint or stain allowing the original wood finish to show through. This will also give the wood a rough surface which you wipe down with a smooth cloth to remove any sanding dust. You’ll also want to sand any corners, smooth edges, and furniture feet to give them this same rough surface.

If this causes the wood to crack or split slightly that’s perfectly fine as this helps in creating that distressed wood look. You want your wood surfaces to have plenty of imperfections like dimples and dents so as to seem aged and worn. You can even get your distressed furniture to appear slightly scratched and pock-marked by using a wire brush and screwdriver point or even using a small drill bit to re-create the look of insect damage. Remember, the more imperfections the better!

I love colors and using paint to distress furniture can yield some really unique and beautiful results but don’t forget about the possibilities with stain. You can use stain to give an aged look right over paint, or go for a more traditional distressed look by applying it straight to the wood.

Spray Painting Furniture

Spray painting may be the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to refurbish a well-used or hard to paint piece of furniture. For example, spray painting is ideal for refinishing an old baby crib or piece of mission style furniture. It is much easier to spray paint the slats of a baby’s crib then it is to use a paintbrush.

Just remember that the cheapest priced spray paint may not be the best spray paint for your furniture refinishing project. We recommend the Krylon or Painter’s Touch brand primers and spray paints for the most satisfying results.

Textured Paint Furniture

Textured paints are usually associated with painting walls and flowerpots more so than refinishing furniture but they can give that table, dresser, or blanket storage chest a very unique and stylish look. You can purchase ready-made cans of textured spray paints and cans with clay or sand filtered in that you apply with rollers and brushes, but when wanting to do-it-yourself you simply add the texture as part of the painting process.

A common technique is to use torn tissue paper. Start by applying a coat of paint to the furniture and then apply sections of torn tissue paper to the surface and paint over the tissue paper. This refinishing method works best when the tissue paper is crumpled and has frayed and uneven edges. You gently paint over the tissue paper making sure that it seals well to the piece of furniture.

Re-staining Furniture

When you have an old table or piece of furniture made of gorgeous quality wood the last thing you want to do is add a layer of paint. Instead the best way to refinish this furniture is by re-staining. Re-staining will typically take a fair amount of work but the results will be well worth it.

The process of re-staining starts by sanding off the old layers of stain till the original wood surface appears. We recommend using an electric handheld sander such as the Black & Decker QS900 with dust collector to make this task much easier than using a sanding block. Then you will re-stain by applying numerous new coats of stain a coat at a time going with the wood grain for the smoothest effect.

Chalk Painting Furniture

Chalk painting has been around for years but it has found a new resurgence with today’s DIY furniture refinisher. One of the best aspects of chalk painting is that there is very little prep work required, no sanding simply a generous cleaning of the furniture surface.

Chalk painting is a bit pricey but it does last well and is ever so easy to apply and is yet another method for achieving that distressed furniture look. The thick paint goes on smoothly and then when dried a wax coating is applied to give the furniture a gloss or semi-gloss appearance. You can stop with the refinishing at this point or add a bit of sanding and a re-wax for that popular distressed look.

*Money Saving Tip: Purchase this Chalk Paint Powder Additive and add it directly to your flat latex paint.

About Misty Spears

I absolutely love all things DIY, especially when it comes to decorating my own home. I’m a thrift store junkie and my head just explodes with ideas to repurpose old junk into something practical and beautiful when I come across that perfect treasure. I’m a wood furniture rebel and try to paint every surface I can to bring color into my life. My life revolves around my family and enjoying every moment that life serves up to me. You can connect with me on Twitter @diyhomeinterior, Instagram @mistyspears and see my pins on Pinterest for a sneak peak into all the DIY projects I am working on and crazy life happenings.

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