Old furniture presents a number of fantastic opportunities. It can be repurposed, restored, or simply refreshed to create a whole new look and keep it away from the landfill. If you have old furniture that you’re not sure how to use consider the following ideas.


Repurposing furniture is an act of pure imagination. A n old door can become a headboard for your bed. A kitchen cabinet can become the base for an office desk. In fact, two short bookshelves and a flat door make a great desk.

Stools can become side tables and chests can become coffee tables in your living room while a church pew can become a fantastic entry way bench. There’s no limit to the various ways you can repurpose furniture.

Here are a few suggestions when you’re brainstorming and preparing for the project.

Painting and staining projects require preparation first. You’ll likely need to sand the furniture before you paint it and definitely before you stain it. Use a belt sander to save your wrists and arm muscles.

Then, make sure the furniture is in good condition. You may need to fill holes and deep scratches with wood glue. Also make sure that the joints are solid. A few wood screws usually do the trick. And finally, check the hardware. If you’re going to replace it then great, if not, then you’ll want to make sure it’s securely attached. You can clean many hinges, knobs and handles with a basic metal polish.


Restoring furniture is a bit different than repurposing it. Repurposing is turning a chair into a shelf on the wall. Restoring is making that chair look better and then using it as a chair. You may want to restore it to its original condition or you may simply want to restore it to a state where it looks good in your home.

So how can you restore furniture?

Paint or Stain

Many people choose to paint furniture when they’re restoring it. Painting furniture is pretty straight forward and an easy DIY task most people can manage. Of course, you do have to remove the existing paint or stain first. Staining is a bit more intimidating but it’s really not so complicated. It just requires a few more layers.


Reupholstering is another option that is pretty easy if you’re working on a simple kitchen chair. If you’re reupholstering a couch, you may want to hire an expert. Of course if you’re good with a sewing machine and a staple gun you can probably manage a large project like a couch or loveseat.

Embellishing and Accessorizing

Finally you can add flair to old furniture by adding updated touches. For example rivets, fringe and leather trim all change the look and feel of a piece of furniture. Add chicken wire to the front of a kitchen cupboard or sideboard and you have a country look. Add bright, funky colors and you give it a retro feel.

Plan your project in advance. Gather your materials and then start your repurposing or restoring project. Using old furniture not only helps the environment and saves you money; it helps you create a piece of furniture that is uniquely yours.

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