How to Revive Old Furniture

How to Revive Old Furniture

Help old furniture look nearly new

By Sylvia Cochran

Old fashioned bench with teddy bear
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Learning how to revive old furniture allows you to reuse furniture that might have been languishing in your garage or basement. It can also give secondhand pieces or yard sale finds new leases on life. Keep in mind that the process usually differs for the average piece of decade-old furniture you might buy at a secondhand shop when compared to a bona fide antique that may date back to the 1800s.

  • What You Need to Know
  • A good cleaning is a first step to reviving all old furniture, and you need plenty of soft cloths and Murphy's Oil Soap. Also, buy gloss lacquer and grade 0000 steel wool; optional tools include a pencil and fine sandpaper.
Improving Antique Furniture

Step 1:

Remove debris and wax buildup with a soft cloth and Murphy's Oil Soap. If you encounter stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the cleaning a number of times. Clean furniture with ornate molding or nooks and crannies by placing the cloth over a pencil and gently pushing it into the small space.

Step 2:

Apply gloss lacquer with a paintbrush. Choose a coloring that complements the natural shading of the wood. Depending on the condition of the furniture's original finish, you may need to lightly sand the piece and apply one or more coats.

Step 3:

Finish the process by rubbing the old furniture with 0000 steel wool. Use a cloth to buff the entire piece.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Evaluate your furniture to see if spending any money on reviving it is truly a worthwhile expense. As a general rule of thumb, if the furniture is made of particleboard and held together with glue, it may be cheaper to simply buy a new piece of furniture rather than spend your money on new paints or hardware.
  • When cleaning real wood and removing wax buildup, always rub in the direction of the grain and not against it.
  • Consider a whole house dehumidifier to protect wooden furniture from damage caused by high humidity levels.

About the Author

Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.

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