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Restoring Your Furniture: Learn What’s Possible

We’re all familiar with the phrase “they don’t make ’em like they used to” and when it comes to furniture, this phrase takes on an entirely different meaning. From traditional wood furnishings to classic antiques, restoring what we already have can save us money and add a unique touch to a room.

But did you know that restoring your furniture is possible? It may sound like an intimidating project, but there’s no need for fear. In this article, we’ll help you learn what’s possible when it comes to restoring your furniture so you can give new life to pieces that might otherwise end up in the dumpster. We’ll discuss everything from actual restoration to simple, inexpensive fixes that give tired furniture a facelift. Let’s get started!

How to Decide What Furniture Can Be Restored?

There are many different types of furniture items that can be restored and given a new look. Start by assessing the condition of the tv unit you’re looking to restore. If it’s in good condition and just needs a few minor touch-ups, it could be a great candidate for restoration.

If you’re unsure whether a furniture item is worth restoring, here are a few criteria to consider:

  • The design quality of the piece
  • The structural integrity of the item
  • Its sentimental value
  • Your budget for restoration

By considering these factors, you’ll be able to decide if restoring your furniture item is the right choice for you. It’s also important to note that some furniture pieces require more work than others so make sure you do your research before getting started.

Types of Furniture That Can Be Restored: Wood, Metal & Upholstered

Did you know that it’s possible to restore almost any type of furniture? That’s right! Whether you have wood, metal or upholstered furniture, chances are good that a professional furniture restorer can bring it back to life.

Here’s a closer look at the types of furniture that can be restored:

  • Wood: If you have wooden furniture that has become scratched, stained or sun-damaged, then it can often be restored. Professional restorers may use techniques such as staining, sanding and sealing to make the wood look new again.
  • Metal: Metal furniture can corrode over time due to moisture and exposure to the elements. But with the right techniques, metal furniture can usually be repaired and given a fresh coat of paint so it looks as good as new.
  • Upholstered Furniture: Upholstered chairs and couches can also be restored if they are stained, faded or sagging. Professional restorers may use fabrics and padding in order to make sure your upholstered pieces look great again.

So if you’re interested in restoring your furniture, there’s a good chance that it can be done no matter what type of material it’s made from!

Restoring vs Refinishing Furniture

When it comes to restoring furniture, the two most common methods are restoring and refinishing. Knowing the difference is important when it comes to deciding what’s best for your furniture.

What is Refinishing?

Refinishing involves removing a small layer of the existing finish and then adding a fresh coating of stain, varnish or paint. This method is usually used when there are only a few scratches or dings in the top layer of finish. Refinishing takes a lot less time than restoration, since you’re only resurfacing the top layer rather than completely stripping down the piece of furniture and starting again from scratch.

What is Restoration?

Restoration involves completely disassembling a piece of furniture and reassembling it with all new hardware, sanding it down deeply, filling any chips or cracks with wood filler and then repainting or staining it with fresh coats. This method tends to be more involved than refinishing, but results in a much more polished look in the end.

The type of restoration you choose depends on how much work needs to be done on your furniture item. If there’s only minor damage, you should opt for refinishing; however, if there’s major damage — like chips or breaks restoration will be your best bet.

DIY or Hire a Professional?

So, you’re wondering if you should try to restore the furniture yourself or if it would be better to hire a professional. It really all comes down to the condition of your furniture, the complexity of the job, and how much time and money you’re willing to spend.

If it’s an easy enough job that you can do with some basic tools, then DIY-ing is probably a good option. Some DIY projects that are ideal for restoring furniture include:

  1. Replacing broken hardware
  2. Cleaning and waxing wood surfaces
  3. Re-staining certain wood items
  4. Replacing upholstery on chairs or sofas
  5. Adding metal gilding to existing wood pieces
  6. Adding detail painting and glazing over existing paint finishes

On the other hand, if the restoration project is too complex for a DIYer, then it’s worth considering hiring a professional restoration service as they have specialized skills and tools to help with complex repairs. Some aspects of furniture restoration where it’s beneficial to hire an expert includes:

  1. Repairing damaged joints
  2. Restoring chipped veneer or intricate carvings
  3. Stripping old paint off properly
  4. Properly applying finishes so that they last
  5. Restoring intricate inlay or marquetry designs

Ultimately, whether it’s best for you to tackle a furniture restoration project yourself depends on your experience level, access to tools and materials, and the complexity of the job at hand but either way, restoring furniture can be worth your time and money!

Preparing the Furniture for Refinishing

You might think that refinishing and restoration are pretty much the same thing, but they’re not. For example, when you’re restoring upholstery, you’re basically replacing what was originally there like handles, knobs and trim pieces. And it’s not just about cosmetic changes; you may need to sand down, strengthen or repair parts of the furniture too.

To properly prepare your furniture for refinishing, there are a few things you can do:


The first step is to give your furniture a good once-over with a vacuum and a damp cloth. This will help remove any dirt and dust that has built up over time. Depending on the age and material of your furniture, you may want to use an appropriate cleaner to disinfect it as well.


After cleaning the surface of your furniture, sanding is usually required to prepare its surface for painting or staining. You may find small indentations in your upholstery that need filling or sanding down too. It’s important to start with coarser grits of sandpaper, before moving on up to finer grits for a smoother finish.


Stripping off old finishes can be tricky; doing this incorrectly can dull or damage the wood underneath. If you’re prepared to tackle this task yourself, make sure you choose a product specifically formulated for stripping off old finishes from wood surfaces. That said, if stripping is too difficult or beyond your current level of ability then it’s best to hire a professional who is experienced in woodworking and refinishing techniques.

Transform and Enjoy Your Newly Restored Furniture

It’s amazing what a difference restoring furniture can make to your home. Here are some of the items you can restore and enjoy:

  • Tables: Make an old, worn-out table look newly made with wood refinishing and staining.
  • Chairs: Bring new life to your chairs with fresh fabric or new upholstery.
  • Dressers: Refurbish an old dresser with fresh paint, new handles, and a few extra coats of protection.
  • Bookshelves: Give your bookshelves an eye-catching upgrade with a new paint job or a layer of varnish for extra shine.
  • Cabinets: Make cabinets look like they’re from this century instead of last century with new hardware and fixtures.

Adding these touches to your furniture can really tie together a room and bring it to life in ways you didn’t think possible. Take the time to look around your home and find the pieces that need a little love you won’t regret it when you see the end result!


Restoring your upholstery can mean giving a piece a new life and bringing it back to its original condition – if that’s even possible. Carefully evaluate what’s wrong with the furniture, what type of damage needs to be repaired, and the cost of restoring to its original condition.

Remember to check for any damage that may not be able to be fixed, as some pieces may require more work than others. If you’re not sure whether a piece can be restored, consult an expert and get a professional opinion. With the right knowledge, skills and patience, upholstery restoration can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

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