How to restore and repurpose vintage furniture

KKylie September 28, 2023 5:16 PM

Ever looked at that old piece of furniture and thought, 'I wish I could give it a new lease of life'? Well, with a bit of elbow grease and creativity, you can restore and repurpose vintage furniture. Not only does this add a unique touch to your decor, but it allows you to preserve memories and reduce waste.

What you'll need

Before rolling up your sleeves, gather the necessary tools and supplies. Here's a list to get you started:

  • Sandpaper of various grits
  • Primer
  • Paint or wood stain
  • Paintbrushes
  • A clear protective finish
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement hardware if necessary

Clean up

Use a mild soap and warm water to clean the furniture. This step is essential to remove any grime or dust that might affect the final finish. Remember to dry the piece thoroughly before moving on to the next step.


Sanding is a critical step in the process of restoring vintage furniture. It helps to remove the old finish and smooth out imperfections. Use a coarse-grit sandpaper first, then move on to a finer grit for a smooth finish. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

Priming and painting

Apply a coat of primer to the furniture. This helps the paint adhere better and provides a smooth surface for painting. Once the primer is dry, you can apply the paint or wood stain. Remember, it's better to apply several thin coats rather than one thick one. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

If you're repurposing the piece, this is the stage where your creativity comes into play. Consider painting a design or using a stencil for a unique look. You could also decoupage or apply wallpaper to certain sections.

Seal the deal

Once the paint or stain is dry, seal the furniture with a clear protective finish. This provides a barrier against damage from everyday use.

Replace the hardware

If the original hardware is damaged or doesn't suit your new design, replace it. There are plenty of stylish options available at home improvement stores.

With a little time and effort, you can give your vintage furniture a new lease of life. So roll up your sleeves and get creative!

Further reading

If you're interested in learning more about restoring and repurposing vintage furniture, check out the following books:

- "The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture" by Christophe Pourny - "Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures" by Lara Spencer - "Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things with the Stuff You Already Have" by Danny Seo

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