tips on reupholstering your favorite furniture

Photo Courtesy: Informm

Fabric and stuffing to refinish an antique chair

Photo Courtesy: Lefebvre Upholstery

Filling a home with new furniture can sometimes be overwhelming. There are so many different options and selections that need to be made. Since we are spending more time at home than ever before with work and school activities, we are realizing that a few rooms may be in need of a good update. If you are not up to purchasing new furniture for your space, why not take a look at the pieces you currently have? Refinishing furniture could freshen up the look with a new fabric, stain or paint? Why not turn something old into something new? Repurpose and reuse!

We love it when clients have furniture pieces that don’t quite coordinate with the rest of their furniture or they’re unsure of what to do with them. The piece may not be in the style our clients like but the sentimental value associated with the piece leads people to hesitate giving the piece away. Sometimes clients are not ready to hand down or pass on pieces to other family members and it is our job to find a place in their home to integrate the piece in question.

Furniture handed down from your grandmother or great grandfather can be repurposed by cleaning them up and changing the wood finish. They can also be made to look like a completely different piece by painting them and maybe adding new knobs or pulls. Reupholstering and refinishing is a great way to give new life to a great aunt’s chair, mother’s sofa or table. This way you can continue to use cherished pieces of furniture throughout your home, while still embracing your own style. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how to transform furniture into one that’s truly treasured.

reupholstering furniture

Photo Courtesy: Christie’s

We’ll start with a sofa as our first example. New fabrics are a great way to refresh a dated sofa. A stylish fabric with updated colors and patterns will bring new life to the piece for many years to come. Remember: a good upholsterer will use new foam and padding for the backs, arms and base and will check the spring mechanisms to make sure everything is intact and functioning properly. Squeaky springs are not good after you’ve invested in a reupholstering a sofa. You may find that that an old sofa didn’t have foam in the cushions at all. If it is an antique, the cushions probably were made with goose feathers, duck down or even horsehair that has lost its fluff. Some chairs were historically padded with straw and cotton, which were actually rather stable materials, especially if the furniture piece was used in a more formal setting and not used daily. Whatever your antique piece’s padding, a reputable upholsterer will appreciate it, treat it with care and be able to bring it back to life with updated springs, foam and padding. Reputable upholsterers will also check the frame for stability by looking at the corner blocks, joints and any dowels or screws and make sure there are no breaks or cracks in the frame.

refinish and stain wood tables

Photo Courtesy: Old Virginia Woodworking

Case goods can be revitalized as well with a new stain or painted finish. A respectable furniture refinisher can work wonders on old and worn pieces. Nicks, scratches or cuts can be filled in and sanded down to a newly smooth surface. A new wood stain is generally appropriate and will definitely make the piece look new again, but what about painting its base color and adding gold or silver highlights? Carvings and intricate work look great and can be accentuated with a little bling.

refinishing old furniture

Photo Courtesy: Peacock Dream Design

We had to buy a lot of new furniture for a favorite client because she didn’t have enough pieces for her new home.  However, she had several tables from her family home and we were able to use all of them. We had this interesting console refinished from a mahogany to a more ebony wash and placed it behind the sofa in her living room.

ebony-washed console that was refinished

Décor by Pamela Hope Designs







telephone table and petit coffee table refinished and painted in glossy white

Décor by Pamela Hope Designs

We loved this cute telephone table and petit coffee table. We painted them both glossy white. They

table painted turquoise

Photo Courtesy: Covet House

look great in this colorful game room.

What about painting the piece a fun color? A vibrant color is always fun and exciting. Color washing is also an option for wood furniture. It is a little bit more casual in style but is still a great look. You typically see this approach with the popular Farmhouse style. It doesn’t have to be whitewashed. You can use a color that has been watered down to give you the look that you desire. Either finish is completely acceptable.

So the next time you feel the need for new furniture in your home but just don’t know where to start, take a look at what you already have. Take a second glance at that end table or chair that you have in storage. Dust it off, have it cleaned and select a new fabric or finish. Voila! Your dated furniture piece has been brought back to life. If you find a piece that you like in an antique shop, reuse and recycle it to give it new purpose.

For more ideas like the ones shared in this post, be sure to also read “Revitalizing Heirloom Furniture Pieces“. Until next time, let your creative juices flow!

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