How to Make Old Furniture Look New

If you have old, well-loved furniture that you would like to revamp, some techniques and advice are here. If reupholstering an unloved chair or sofa is in the budget, it is an excellent way to make the piece look new. 

There is a lot of old furniture with good bones that you can give new life with fresh, snappy fabric. The fabric doesn’t have to be designer quality. Fabric warehouses have second-run material that you can purchase for a few dollars a yard. 

The tricky part is finding an upholsterer. The key is to be specific in the design directions. Those specifics may include the tufting options, the direction you want the fabric to run, and its welt size. If they are not in bad shape, you may save a little money by using the existing back and seat cushion inserts. 

Reupholstering Antiques

You must have some serious do-it-yourself skills to take on an upholstery project. If you are willing to learn and patient, it can be done. Well-known upholstery experts learned the craft by reading upholstery books, and they recommend DIYers do the same.

One of the tips suggested is to take pictures of every step as the fabric pieces are removed. Save the pieces to use for a pattern. When the furniture has uncomfortable springs or structural issues, it is best to put the task in the hands of a professional upholster who can rebuild the chair.

Recover a Seat Cushion

Recovering the cushion of a chair is a satisfying and relatively simple project compared to a full reupholstery job. You need a screwdriver, staple gun, replacement fabric, and batting or foam. Unscrew the cushion for the chair. Use the material you remove as a template for the replacement fabric. Wrap the replacement fabric over the seat and attach it with the staple gun. Use the screwdriver to reattach the seat to the chair. 

antique furniture

Very satisfide with the shades installed. will definitely recommend!

– Patricia, Upper East Side. 

The technician was very knowledgeable and gave us different options along with a detailed invoice. customer service was top notch.

– Freddy, Tribeca. 

Non-Upholstery Ways to Revive Furniture

There are some downsides to stripping old paint finishes, such as a certain about of difficulty involved and not a wise idea for those with respiratory issues. However, stripping old furniture can save money and produce satisfactory results. 

Move the piece to a well-ventilated garage or an outdoor area and remove the hardware. Protect yourself from caustic fumes with chemical-resistant gloves, safety goggles, and a solvent respirator with new filters. 

The paint will bubble up after applying the stripper. Use steel wool or a scraper to remove the old paint layer. After removing the paint, give the furniture piece a coat of denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to remove any traces of the stripper. 

The stripped furniture can be stained or painted. You can use several methods to achieve a whitewashed, faded look. This option and staining allow the grain to show through. Other ways of making old furniture look new are adding slipcovers or draping vintage tapestry or textile over the front or back and layer with pillows. 


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