Have you always wondered about different ways to restore vintage furniture that you have in your house or have found out and about? If you’ve ever looked at a restored vintage dresser and thought, “You know, I think I could’ve done that,” you’re probably right. Restoring old furniture is not only fun but it’s also green. And who doesn’t like that, right? Put on your gloves, I’m going to give you seven ways to restore vintage furniture.
1. Find the Piece
The first step in finding ways to restore vintage furniture is to find the piece you want to restore. Maybe you already have it somewhere in your house. A bureau that looks outdated, but really just needs a good sanding and some paint. Or, maybe you’ve stumbled across it driving past a yard sale. I have what I like to call The Magic Corner on my street, where people in the neighborhood leave stuff (mainly furniture) they don’t want anymore. I’m not talking some scary mattresses or pressed wood shelves from Ikea. It’s a goldmine. Keep your eyes open for ‘free’ and it’ll come to you.
2. Decide How Much Time You Want to Devote to It
If you’ve just found the most amazing chandelier but it’s rusted out and in need of some serious TLC, think twice before you start getting your hands on it. Mainly, check to see if you’ve had a tetanus shot recently. No, but really, it’s one thing to see a piece that you’re crazy about but it’s another thing to underestimate the time needed to repair and bring it to life. If you’re just starting out, choose easier projects.
Decide on the kind of budget you’re looking to make for your new find. Is it a piece that you’ve searched high and low for and now it’s sitting in your living room staring you straight in the face, begging to be fixed? Check into its worth and see how much it might cost to bring it back to glory. If you’re in love with it then it might not matter how much, but if it looks like it’s going to cost an arm and a leg, be ready for it.
4. Be Prepared
Okay, now that you’re ready to tackle your project with your jean overalls and red bandana wrapped around your adorable top knot, it’s time to really understand that this could be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Make sure to wear long sleeves, the proper gloves, protective glasses (if needed) and if you're stripping or varnishing a piece, wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated room to keep strong vapors at bay.
5. Clean up
Before you do anything, make sure that you’ve thoroughly cleaned your piece with soap and water before working on it. You can use a toothbrush to get into smaller, detailed spaces. Pick up a slender wooden dowel rod and sharpen it like you would a pencil. Then use the sharp end for digging out grime. You can also use steel wool to take away wax build up. Be sure not to scrub too hard though. You don’t want to take away the finish.
Inspect your piece for any possible repairs that need to be done. If there’s a wobbly leg simply screwing in the screws tighter may fix it. If you’re missing some knobs there are different way of finding similar knobs on eBay or in vintage furniture shops. I’ve found some of my favorite knobs at Anthropologie while looking at dresses. So cute.
Refinishing a piece means sanding and stripping away the old finish and putting a new one on. It's best to use a combination of chemical strippers and sanding. It’s going to be tedious, so be prepared for that. Look for a stain that will bring out the natural colors of the wood, or paint with a new color. Just make sure that you’ve sanded your piece before painting it. You don’t want any bumps.
Restoring furniture is a really fun project to do by yourself or with someone. It’s a lot of work but totally worth it to you and to whom you might resell it to one day! Have you done a DIY project restoring something? Leave a comment and let us know!