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8 No Fail Ways to Update Old Furniture

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Found old furniture and want to bring it back to life? These 8 no-fail options will bring joy back to your piece and make it perfect for your home! So many great DIY furniture makeover ideas from buffet makeovers to bright & fun pieces!! 

old furniture makeover

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When it comes to furniture over the years, I haven&#;t been afraid to get my hands a little dirty&#; but within limits.

Jordan builds, while I love a great painting project. He knows that I am always looking for old furniture to makeover. I enjoy it&#; and the house looks just a little less cookie-cutter. And on a budget! How could he ever disagree?  ?  [For the record? Often.]

And I&#;m here to say that if this busy, no skill mom can make ugly old furniture beautiful so can you!

8 No-Fail Ways to Update Old Furniture

The next time you find scroll past an ugly piece in Facebook&#;s Marketplace, a Buy/Sell group, or even if you&#;ve been meaning to finally do something about a piece in your home, I wanted to share 8 ways you can update a piece of furniture!

And all are relatively easy. They&#;ll cost you your time and muscle power, but that&#;s about the extent of it.


How to remove paint and varnish from wood furniture!

1. Strip the Paint & Add a Clear Wax

If you&#;re a complete lover of all things wood, this may be your best option. Skip if your piece of furniture isn&#;t real wood, or is made of particle board. For our buffet makeover, I stripped the entire piece using this paint stripper.

Once you have your entire piece stripped, use a natural wax to bring it back to its best days. I like to use clear wood wax because not only does it protect the wood, but it shows off its natural colors. Keep reading below if you want to add a darker color.


This DIY wine rack is perfect for holding 2 bottles on a table top! Simply use your Kreg Jig and a few other tools to build it for just a few dollars!  #wine #DIY #home #winerack #homeproject


2. Paint It

Jordan will probably roll his eyes at this one, but I love painting everything I can get my hands on. My go-to paint is always Fusion Mineral paint. It makes beginners like me have projects that look amazing. I used FMP for the bottom of my beloved buffet makeover in Midnight Blue.


Related Fusion Mineral Paint Posts You Might Like:

You can read all about my Fusion Mineral paint review above and also see 13 Fusion neutrals next to each other if you&#;re debating between colors!

old walnut stain


3. Stain It

Right behind painting, I love making over the furniture with stain. But be warned&#; test out your stain in a small spot to see how the stain takes to your piece.

While we have a favorite stain, we know that it can look very different on different types of wood. To overcome this, we will stain our piece 2 different colors to give the shade we love so much.

You can choose to buy your stain from any big box retailer or you can make your own! I&#;ve never made my own recipe, but you can find several great ideas here.

Staining a piece versus painting furniture is definitely a personal preference! You can find warmth and modern tones of stain, just like you can go classic all-white paint or something bright like yellow.

Have I mentioned how much I love restoring furniture?
It&#;s the easiest way to make a custom piece that is for you&#; and you can do it in one weekend!


A Busy Moms review of Fusion Mineral Paint. Click to see if this paint is good for beginners!

Download your furniture refinishing shopping list right here! You can keep track of supplies and planning your step all in one place!



4. Add Furniture Wax

If you have a piece that is stripped already or just could use new wax, consider adding a darkened wax to it. First, clean your piece and follow any prep directions for your wax.

When I painted my buffet a few years ago, I topped it off with Espresso Wax from Homestead House. It made the entire piece look a little darker and less perfect. I wiped wax across the entire piece and wiped it off. I left a little extra wax where it would naturally &#;age.&#;


5. Clean It!

Sometimes, all your next project needs is a good scrubbing.

You may already have a favorite cleaner, but I like using Simple Green for most outdoor / non-wood furniture. Lauren from Bless&#;er House showed pretty impressive results when she cleaned her new trash to treasure find!

If you have a power washing system, you may be able to get even better results (on the stuff that can handle it of course).

The next time you see a buy/sell post with old furniture, think of the possibilities with just some elbow grease! No paint or wax needed!


6. Spray Paint Secondhand Furniture

I think of spray paint as being the final option for making over great furniture. The biggest reason? While it&#;s incredibly cheap, I struggle to avoid the drip lines. And honestly, Jordan is way better at being patient with spray painting than I am.

However, a can of spray paint can do wonders to the furniture you already have on-hand! You can choose to make a piece bright and shiny statement piece, or you can even use matte spray paint to make it look aged. 

The fun part about spray paint is that there is usually minimal prep work and you can be finished in an afternoon. Pick a punchy color for small pieces like tables and plant stands! Wouldn&#;t this color look great all year long?

Spray paint options are so large that this isn&#;t your dad&#;s bright red color anymore.

If you&#;re ready to tackle a big spray painting project, I&#;ve found this How to Flawlessly Paint Spray Furniture tutorial super helpful.


7. Add New Hardware

If you find yourself liking the color of a piece already, but think there&#;s something about it that seems outdated, consider swapping out the hardware.

You can add lots of personality from stores like IKEA, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel, or even Lowe&#;s.

For less than a few dollars a pull, swapping out hardware can make a big impact without taking too much work.

Create your own two tone furniture project in only a few steps! Perfect for busy moms!

8. Swap Out the Legs

Add a little extra pizzaz by changing out your piece&#;s legs. Before you do this, turn your piece on its side to see what it would take to remove the current legs. If it looks simple enough, you can buy fun hairpin legs, modern legs, or even some craftsman style legs online. Take this opportunity to change up the piece&#;s height to make it fit your space.

Need more convincing?This article shows 19 Before & Afters to show how much impact swapping out furniture legs can do for your piece!


Now that you have these 8 ideas for updating old furniture, you can make a piece fit perfectly in your home in no time. The next time you feel compelled to make something with your hands, find an old chair or buffet and start cleaning! Secondhand furniture doesn&#;t need to look drab, modernize it today.


Don&#;t forget to download your furniture refinishing shopping list right here! You can keep track of supplies and planning your step all in one place!



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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a furniture refinisher?

If you want to become a furniture refinisher, a great way to start is to study books on the subject. You won't even have to buy them if you can borrow some from your local library. You can also read articles online from furniture makers and other experts as well as attend woodworking workshops in your community.

Should you refinish old furniture?

It's always a good idea to look for any designer markings on old furniture and to do an Internet search on it before you refinish it. Antiques will diminish in value if refinished improperly, and your best bet is to contact a professional in antique furniture preservation.

How do you refurbish furniture?

Pull the fabric over the front of the chair and tack it into place. Then stretch the fabric to the back and tack it under the chair. Repeat the process on the two sides. Fold the front fabric on the corners to form a mitred square; fold the front fabric to form a 45 degree angle.

How to redo used furniture?

Method 1 of 2: Rejuvenating Old Wooden Furniture

  1. Wash the surface of the furniture with a wood-cleaning soap solution. Get a wood-cleaning soap, such as Murphy's oil soap, and follow the instructions to mix it with water.
  2. Use petroleum jelly to fix white rings from liquids on the finish.
  3. Repair any small chips or cracks with epoxy putty or wax.

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When it comes to searching for painted furniture ideas you can easily get overwhelmed. I mean there are so many different styles and techniques out there. It is so easy to slip down that rabbit hole of chalk paint furniture ideas. Hopefully, I can help and make your search for painted furniture ideas and inspiration just a little bit easier. Whether you are looking for painted table ideas, painted dresser ideas or painted desk ideas I am gathering some of the best painted furniture makeovers to inspire you. You also get to see all of the different options when it comes to choosing furniture paint colors because those can also seem endless. When it comes to painted furniture ideas it is easy to get overwhelmed. I can help make your search for painted furniture ideas easier. Whether you are looking for painted table ideas, painted dresser ideas or painted desk ideas here are some of the best painted furniture makeovers to inspire you. #paintedfurnitureideas #paintedfurniture #chalkpaintideas #chalkpaintfurnitureideas #paintingideas

Disclosure: This painted furniture ideas post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Click here for my full disclosure policy. 

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All of these hand painted furniture ideas will come with links to the tutorial to also aid and help you in learning how to paint each particular painted furniture finish. I&#;ll separate these painted furniture ideas by the technique and/or color in hopes of keeping all the eye candy organized. I am listing these painted furniture ideas in semi categorical order as follows:

  1. Painted Furniture Ideas Using Furniture Transfers
  2. Fabric Decoupage on Painted Furniture
  3. Napkin & Tissue Decoupaged Furniture Makeovers
  4. Wallpaper Decoupage on Painted Furniture 
  5. Painted Dresser Ideas
  6. Painted Table Ideas
  7. White Painted Furniture Ideas
  8. Painted Desk Ideas
  9. Painted Chairs
  10. Furniture Painted Using a Layering Paint Technique
  11. Metallic Painted Furniture
  12. Other Tutorials Including:
    1. How to Whitewash Wood Furniture
    2. How to Paint a Boho Style Drip Effect
    3. Repainting Already Painted or Stained Furniture
    4. How to Update Furniture with Wood Burning


When you want to learn how to paint furniture your first step may be to search for an abundance of painted furniture images and ideas to inspire you and give you direction. Here are over 50 painted furniture ideas to help you out.

How to Refinish a Table with Metallic Paint and Fabulous Florals

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How to Transfer Images to Furniture Like a Pro

Transfer images to wood DIY projects, or gorgeous image transfers to your painted furniture. Add graphics to your project because painted furniture is often more than just paint. These image transfers add a gorgeous and unique touch to any painted furniture makeover or DIY project

20+ Image Transfer Ideas & Tutorials That Will Make You Drool

Whether you are a pro at applying image transfers or if you are just discovering them. Ready to transfer image to wood, or maybe even apply an image transfer to canvas you will find it all here. There are so many different image transfer methods for you to try. These decorative transfers are not just for furniture!

How to Paint and Decoupage Furniture

When adding decoupage to painted furniture you can use a variety of different materials. Here are some great painted furniture ideas using different decoupage materials. First, learn how to paint and decoupage furniture with this gorgeous painted vanity project. Painted furniture with peacock fabric decoupaged to the drawers

Decoupage Furniture Tutorial: How to Add Floral Paper to Painted Furniture

Another method to decoupage furniture is with napkin or tissue paper. Here are a variety of painted furniture ideas using this furniture painting technique. Starting with these painted tables. See how to add tissue to painted furniture with this decoupage furniture tutorial with video. Using mod podge glue and decoupage paper anything is possible.

How to Give Your Furniture Makeover that Extra WOW Factor

One more great method to decoupage furniture is with wallpaper. Check out these before and after painted furniture projects using wallpaper to spruce up the project. One of my favorites is this furniture makeover that adds an extra wow factor with wallpaper decoupage. Learn how to make your painted furniture makeovers stand out by adding wallpaper to furniture.

Decoupage Supplies That Will Make Your Life Easier

Decoupage Supplies. When you want to know where to find decoupage supplies and what you need for decoupage projects. This is a basic resource for what and where to find decoupage materials online for your painted furniture projects.

Vintage Painted Dresser with Yellow Drawers

When it comes to painted bedroom furniture ideas you may need a few different pieces of inspiration. Here are just a few painted dresser ideas that may help. This first project was featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Yellow dresser drawers add just enough color to a painted furniture update without being over the top. Yellow furniture can be bold or neutral depending on which direction to take. This vintage painted dresser updated in mustard yellow with neutral taupe keeps the makeover neutral while still being unique. 

How to Paint a Dresser with a Beautiful Timeless Look

See how to paint a dresser for a timeless look. This gray painted dresser tutorial is created with texture, paint and stain. A classic DIY painted dresser makeover using wood stain, chalk paint and Saltwash texture additive.

Cottage Style Painted Dresser Set

When you have a cottage style home and are looking for cottage design ideas this blue painted dresser is the perfect painted furniture inspiration for your bedroom.

How to Build a DIY Wood Table and Paint it in Green Layers

Refinishing furniture doesn't always have to mean painting old furniture. You can DIY your existing furniture even if it's modern, or maybe even build something completely new. Here is a variety of painted table ideas to help you out. If you have ever wanted to know how to make a wood table this DIY wood table is easier than you think. Using a furniture kit you can create homemade wooden tables with ease and precision. See how to make a wooden table the easy way and then paint it gorgeous in green.

How to Apply Wood Stain for an Amazing Table Refinish

Wood stain can feel intimidating at times. See how to refinish a table with the perfect furniture stain and paint to get amazing results. Refinishing furniture with the best wood stain and furniture paint tutorial.

How to Paint Furniture the Easy Way with Wise Owl Paint

You may have heard of Wise Owl Paint. Even if you are new to painting furniture then you may have heard of this amazing brand of furniture paint. Either way, I am going to share a project using Wise Owl Paint products on this simple painted table.

How to Paint a Table with the Best Black Furniture Paint & Stain

Black furniture paint and black wood stain go together like peas and carrots. Black furniture is both timeless and one of the easier painted furniture finishes to achieve. Here is a tutorial on how to paint a table with the best black furniture paint and black wood stain.

How to Apply Black Furniture Wax to a Red Painted Table

Get gorgeous results with black furniture wax on your painted furniture. See how to apply furniture wax to make those details pop. Antiquing painted furniture with furniture wax creates a dramatic effect like on this painted claw foot table.

Painted Pineapple Pedestal Table

A painted pineapple pedestal table makeover, including repairing a chewed and damaged portion of wood. Painted furniture, accent table, layers of grays

How to Paint a Table Using the Best Paint Sprayer

See how to spray paint furniture the easy way using the best paint sprayer. This indoor paint sprayer will make your furniture painting project a breeze. This entire blue painted table is refinished using blue chalk paint and a paint sprayer.

5 Things You Need to Do When Painting Furniture White

White painted furniture tends to be the most requested color when someone wants to know what color to paint furniture. Maybe because white chalk paint is timeless and simple. Here are a few examples of projects finished using white chalk paint. First and foremost, Curious about how to paint furniture white? Is there a secret to painting white furniture? This cabinet is given a white painted furniture makeover. Follow these 5 tips to painting furniture white for a result you will love. 

How to Paint Furniture with Modern Masters Metallic Paint

Painted desks are one of my favorite pieces of furniture to work on. There are some of my favorite painted desk projects. Modern Masters metallic paint adds a gorgeous shimmer to your painted furniture. See how to paint with metallic copper paint and rose gold metallic paint stripes.

Rags to Riches Vintage Desk Makeover

Truly a rags to riches makeover is this black desk with chocolate brown top. The painted furniture before and after for this makeover is a major improvement.

How to Paint a Rocking Chair with Spindles the Easy Way

Painted chairs come in many shapes and sizes. Here you will find projects for painted rocking chairs, painted whimsical chairs, painted benches, and painted child's chairs. This painted rocking chair is a child's chair and has an added painted stencil of the child's initials added to the rocker.

How to Paint Layers the Easy Way on a Tall Lingerie Chest

Painting Furniture in layers is always fun and creates a one of a kind finish. No two projects come out the same way when blending and layering paint on furniture. This painted lingerie chest project is finished in painted layers of soft pinks and corals.

Making wood Furniture MODERN with BLEACH

11 Mistakes People Make When Trying to Sell Refinished Furniture

You&#;ve spent hours cleaning, repairing, and prepping that thrifted dresser.  Then even more of your precious time refinishing it and perfecting the final look.  When it&#;s finally finished, you hope to sell the furniture makeover to an eager buyer and make a nice profit.  

You post a listing, but the dresser sits and waits&#; weeks pass and you get nibbles but no serious inquiries.  What gives??  How can you sell refinished furniture more quickly, for the price you deserve?

11 Mistakes People Make When Trying to Sell Refinished Furniture (and what to do instead) - Girl in the Garage

I may not be an expert, but in five+ years of upcycling and selling furniture makeovers, I&#;ve learned quite a lot.  There could be many reasons why your piece isn&#;t selling; here are 11 tips for what not to do when trying to sell refinished furniture (and what to do instead!).



Not starting with a quality piece.  You can be the best repairer and painter in the world, but if you&#;re planning to refinish a cheap plastic bookcase from Wal-Mart, you can&#;t expect to sell it for a small fortune.  Look for pieces that are made from real wood and have the most potential to turn a profit.  If you aren&#;t good at repairs and don&#;t have many tools available for use, then buy pieces that don&#;t have structural damage.


Bad staging.  If you&#;re posting photos of your pieces online, you need to stage it well.  Invest in some simple inexpensive props like hardcover books, empty frames, vases and flowers, classic artwork.  You may also need a backdrop if you don&#;t have a light-colored wall to photograph against, and maybe a rug or a section of wood-look flooring if your space has concrete or otherwise ugly floors.  Also, be careful of colors used in staging &#; use compliments and not distractions.  If your piece is neutral, add a pop of color with flowers in a vase.  Stage the piece to give potential buyers an idea of how they could use it in their own homes.


Bad photography.  Beautiful, scroll-stopping photos will help you sell refinished furniture.  The number 1 problem most people have with photography is usually lighting.  Make sure the room is well lit with natural light if possible (you may want to invest in a light kit if you&#;re lacking in natural light).  You want to avoid shadows or harsh brightness.  Also, hold the camera very still to avoid blurriness (a tripod is helpful for shaky hands).  Take photos straight-on or at a slight angle to the left or right, but try to stay eye-level with the center of the piece.  Don&#;t have the camera pointed up or down toward it.  Also, include more than one photo if you have special details that deserve their own beauty shot ( photos is good).  **Below are 4 photos from my local Facebook for sale group that I found in about 10 minutes&#;  (I&#;m not critiquing the items themselves, just commenting on the photography &#; and no, I haven&#;t done any editing on these.)

This could be a beautiful piece, but the photo is so dark that it&#;s hard to see anything!

This photo is so blurry &#; remember to keep your hand still or use a tripod. Also, you may want to crop out any &#;dead space&#; like the extra flooring and wall above.

What to avoid and tips to sell refinished furniture - Girl in the Garage

Be aware of things that could be a distraction in the background, like this trash can.

This isn&#;t a refinished piece, but I wanted to comment because the angle is crazy high. Remember to try to stay centered with the piece (which may require kneeling down), or just slightly above if you want to show off the top of the table.


The piece is too custom.  Painting is art, and many painters stand out from the crowd for their custom work and have much success.  But if your piece isn&#;t selling, and every other element in this list is right on target, then it might be too custom.  You can either wait for that one perfect buyer who will fall madly in love with your neon orange stenciled buffet, or it might be time to rethink your design.  The choice is yours.  In general, neutral pieces work in most homes and often sell faster.  You have to decide (and maybe experiment with the buyers in your market) to determine where is the intersection of artistic creativity and salability.


Only listing your item in one place.  There are SO many places to sell refinished furniture &#; don&#;t limit yourself to one or two listings.  You need to go find your perfect buyer, chances are they won&#;t just find you.  Join as many local (or semi-local) Facebook selling groups as you can and list on sales apps (beware of scams though!) &#; I&#;ve known some people who will list something dozens of different places.  (Have you considered selling your pieces in a store or at a vintage market?  Learn more here.)


Not writing a well thought out, descriptive ad.  Use keywords people might be searching for (farmhouse, rustic, industrial, storage, etc.) and use proper spelling (it&#;s a &#;dining&#; table, not &#;dinning&#;).  If your piece is a well known name brand, say so.  If you know some history of your piece (it was built in the s), say so.  Include the dimensions and any other pertinent details that people wouldn&#;t know just from looking at the photos.  Suggest other uses &#; that your buffet can also be used as a TV console &#; show people the potential uses in their own home.


Pricing too high.  You deserve to be paid what you&#;re worth, and for all the time, effort, and supply expenses you put into redoing the piece.  Pay attention to what others are charging for similar pieces, and price yours even a little higher.  But if you start way too high, people may be put off immediately.  Test out the market with a piece or two and don&#;t be afraid to let it sit a few weeks before restaging/rephotographing or lowering the price by %.


Pricing too low (undervaluing yourself, not enough room for profit, or lowering too quickly).  You can always lower a high price, but you can&#;t raise a low price.  If your pieces are selling very quickly, if people are commenting on your ad that you should be charging more, or if you&#;re barely making any profit, stop what you&#;re doing and reevaluate.  Raise your prices.  You are worth it!  If brand new plain boring dressers are selling for hundreds of dollars at furniture stores, why on earth are you only charging $80 for your hand-painted, one-of-a-kind, real wood dresser?  Your potential profit is flying out the window, and you&#;re doing yourself and all the other furniture painters near you a disservice by encouraging low price expectations from buyers.  Just don&#;t do it.


Only accepting cash as payment.  Cash is king, but there are other ways to accept payment that are convenient and easy to use.  Think electronic payments, not checks.  (From my experience working in banking for 10 years, do not accept a check.  It&#;s too risky.  Even cashier&#;s checks can be faked.)  Square and PayPal are good options, and there are probably others.  And definitely receive your payment in advance if you&#;ve agreed to deliver the furniture to the buyer!

Not offering delivery.  What stops most buyers from purchasing furniture, besides price?  Lifting and transportation.  Remove that barrier and it will be much easier to make the sale.  Borrow a truck or SUV.  Bring your spouse, friend, or hire a couple college students to help.  Wrap the piece so it doesn&#;t get damaged in transit, get your payment before making the trip, and yes charge extra for delivery.

Not keeping in touch or asking for a referral.  Once you make a sale, keep in touch with your buyer.  Ask them to Like your Facebook page so they can see what else you&#;re working on, or follow you on Instagram.  Leave some business cards with them and ask for referrals.  Happy customers love to brag about their custom furniture (and excellent customer service) and you can gain a lot of new clients that way.  Message or email them in a couple months to see if there&#;s anything else they&#;re looking for or needs refinished.

Request your two free guides now - Girl in the Garage

I&#;d love it if you shared this post with your creative friends who sell refinished furniture &#; it&#;s quick and easy to click the Facebook or Pinterest buttons on the side of the page.  Thanks so much!

&#; Jen &#;

You might also like this article&#;

7 Pricing Tips for Selling Refinished Furniture

Pricing Tips for Selling Refinished Furniture - Girl in the Garage
Friend, did you hear my first book Amazing Furniture Makeovers: Easy DIY Projects to Transform Thrifted Finds into Beautiful Custom Pieces is available now? Learn all about it Here.

Amazing Furniture Makeovers book by Jen, Girl in the Garage



Refinished furniture pinterest

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Facebook Marketplace Furniture Makeover with Custom Base // Refinishing Furniture for Profit

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Now discussing:

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