Bringing Old Furniture Back to Life

Like I mentioned in a previous post, after I graduated from FSU in 2012, I found myself with a month of nothing but time. In addition to cooking up a storm, I jumped into the world of DIY and furniture refurbishing. After my first piece, I became quickly addicted. I wanted to share with you all my how-to steps for an easy furniture remodeling project!

Clean: First you have to clean the piece. I usually just wipe down with a wet rag to get any dirt/grime off – however, if your piece is seriously dirty, you may need a specialty soap to clean the piece completely.

Sand: Sanding. If it’s a small, delicate piece, I’d recommend to hand-sand it with sand paper (i use medium grit to start) . If its a larger, sturdier piece, an electric sander will get the job done faster. Sanding gets the old paint layers and finishes off so your piece has no glossy finish anywhere and is pretty bare (if you are staining instead of painting, you’ll need to sand down to the very bare bones).  Sand in long strokes, and always go in the direction of the grain of the wood. If using a power sander, consider sanding the corners and edges and hard to reach places by hand. Don’t rush the sanding process – you need to get every nook and cranny sanded down! After sanding down to its bareness, clean it off completely and make sure all dust is gone.

Prime: Time to prime with  a primer paint. Match the same “type” of primer paint to the color paint you’ll be using (latex primer with latex paint, oil-based primer with oil based paint). I typically use Kilz Premium Primer. After the primer, I usually let it sit overnight before applying paint.

Sand Again: I always sand between each layer of paint I apply! Use a fine-grit sander for this sanding session, instead of the medium-grit you used in the beginning of the project.

Paint: The fun stuff! Finally! For furniture I often use interior latex-based paint that has a semi-gloss finish. I’ve also used the Martha Stewart Living brand of paints, and I liked how those turn out as well. After painting your piece completely, let it sit at least over night between each coat. You’ll then be able to tell if one coat is enough, or if your piece needs deeper color.

Seal: After you’ve applied your last coat of paint, it’s time to seal your piece! Sealing will protect your piece from stains and other mishaps of life. I use a polyurethane sealer, but I’ve heard it yellows over time if you’re sealing over a white or extremely light paint color. I’ve also heard good things about the MinWax Finishing Wax

This piece was originally a side table from my parents’ first home. While it was pretty raggedy, the first picture is after a sanding session, not in its original state.


This beauty originally lived in the laundry room, and somehow ended up as a patio piece. The outdoors really beat this guy up, so I was excited to be able to give it new life. The before picture is before any sanding occurred – that’s how bad it looked.


This guy is my favorite. This chair was from my dad’s bedroom set from the 1940s. It was living in the attic when I found it.


I wish I had a “before” picture for this chinoiserie beauty. It was the ugliest of all. A little black paint goes a long way!


I’d love to see your furniture pieces you’ve re-done or hear some tips you all may have for me! I’m off to do some painting and perhaps re-do a Media/TV console today!

Happy Saturday 🙂


One thought on “Bringing Old Furniture Back to Life

  1. Pingback: A New Week | eatsandfastfeets

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