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Inspiring Furniture Restoration Projects: From Blah to Rad

There’s something so completely satisfying in finding a banged up, unloved piece of furniture and making it usable (or even better than when it was new).

And there’s nothing easier than painting or reupholstering to refresh a dresser, mirror, couch or set of chairs. If you’re not motivated to grab a paintbrush (or spray can!) and attack one of these projects after you take a look at the following, I’d be shocked! You can, of course, DIY any of these projects, but you can also hire a furniture restorer or upholsterer to do the work for you. Either way, you’ll save over buying new, and have a unique and interesting piece to show off in your home.

Dutiful Dressers

It almost looks like a different piece of furniture.

White-to-black is one of the strongest transitions you can make—it can be hard to tell it’s even the same piece with this particular change.

Unconventional color choices are on when restoring furniture

This refurbishment takes advantage of both a color change and a swapping of handles; you can find new drawer pulls in vintage furniture stores as well as Anthropologie’s home section.

Paint can also be used to create patterns.

The writer/designer behind the Weathered Door did a beautiful job refurbishing this bland chest of drawers to the left; check out the site for exactly how they achieved this fabulous new look!

A simple white finish.

Sometimes simple is the best solution. For a beat-up wooden chest of drawers, you can just use a light distressed finish—a translucent color rather than an opaque layer—to bring new life to an old piece.

Creative Credenzas

An all-of-a-sudden-modern credenza.

This beautiful piece was updated by adding some white paint to the frame, and simply refinishing the wood fronts—another thoughtful job by the Weathered Door.

Before was OK; after is supercool

This credenza isn’t vintage; it’s a modern one from Ikea. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be hacked—clearly this beautiful redo is a thoughtful conversion.

There aren’t rules when it comes to refurbishing furniture

An especially crafty project, this credenza (which got its glass spray-painted white) proves that you don’t have to hew to original design inspirations when you rethink a piece for your own home.

Recrafted Couches

A colorful take

Above we see a gorgeous transformation that included refinishing the legs of this small couch (to a lighter color) and recovering an ordinary print to an extraordinary one.

It’s amazing what a restoration can do.

This lovely settee doesn’t even look like the same piece of furniture after a major renovation: Talk about a Flea-Market Flip!

Who says 70s sofas are irredeemable?

A beautiful couch redo with just the basic solution: recover with new fabric! You almost can’t tell that the new sofa is an upcycling job.

Charismatic Chairs

A shaggy look reads very modern

This pretty midcentury modern chair gets a thoroughly modern makeover with a cool Moroccan rug covering.

A major makeover for this chair brings it to life

A boring Queen Anne’s chair gets a colorful and interesting redo with bright aqua paint and a fun black-and-white pattern. Here’s how it was done.

A boring chair is converted to a pretty aqua dream

This is what refinishing is all about: taking a grandma’s patio chair to a cool, poolside lounger.

An updated classic

You don’t have to go crazy or extreme when recovering or repainting furniture; you can keep a classic-with-a-twist look going on if you go with a single stripe, like this example from Chairloom.

Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan is a design, travel, and environment writer, editor, and author who had a free-range childhood in New York’s Hudson Valley and the beach ‘burbs of Sydney, Australia. She feels most at home outdoors, and has lived off-grid on Hawaii’s Big Island; mountain biked in Trinidad; hiked the Continental Divide, and rappelled down an A[...]

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