How to Make Changes to Your Furniture


The easiest pieces to change are the smallest as they take the least time. Old chairs, mirrors, picture frames, bedside cabinets, occasional tables, chests-of- drawers, lamp stands, children’s desks, can all be transformed with a little effort and imagination.

What can you do?

Almost anything can be achieved with the use of paint and fabric. For example, a set of not very precious wooden dining room chairs can be painted and a new cushion cover made for each of them. Alternatively, you could give them new slip-covers – one to fit over the back of the chair, another to slip over the seat and fall down to the ground. A bold gingham check looks most effective.

Changes Furniture

Why not paint an old chest-of-drawers with a trompe I’oeil of books all along the front so it looks like a book­shelf from the distance? See that the spines make interesting reading. Allow children to paint their own desks or give them a surface which looks as if it has already been ‘ruined’ with ink spills, graffiti and scratch marks and let them stick photos of their favourite pop stars inside. Cover the surface with a thick coat of varnish to prevent scratches.

Fabric was often used in the eight­eenth century to cover the intricate wooden fretwork at the top of four-poster beds. The same fabric was used as for the drapery but it was simply stuck on to the wood. You could try covering your own bedstead or bedside table in the same way, using glue and tiny brass tacks – make sure the wood is smooth first or snags will rip the fabric.

The same idea could be applied to the frames of mirrors or pictures – cover a frame with the fabric used on your bedroom curtains, for example.

Before you paint…

Before you change the look of all your furniture you must make sure the sur­faces are in the best possible condition. This can take time and is not necessarily an enjoyable task, but the finished result looks so much better that it is worth it.

New wood

New wood often has a harsh texture or a crude varnish finish. Remove any finish, fill cracks and holes with cellulose filler, and cover knots with shellac knotting. Rub down with fine abrasive paper, and prime before painting.

Old wood

Remove French polish or varnish, fill cracks and treat any woodworm holes. Then smooth the surfaces with a fine abrasive paper. If you want to wax the piece and parts are a different colour -or wood – stain the lighter wood to match the rest by wiping on a proprie­tary wood stain with a soft cloth. If you are going to paint the piece, simply prime it first.

Painted wood

If the surface is in good condition and you just want to change the colour, wash it and sand it down gently. If the old paint is flaking, cracked or chipped it should be stripped off. It should also be stripped first if applying extra paint is going to make a drawer or door stick.

Stained wood

If the stain is protected by varnish, you will need to remove this first, using varnish or paint stripper. Then use wood bleach to remove any stain. If you are going to paint the surface, you ob­viously do not need to bother about removing the stain. All you need do is sand the piece smooth, and then prime.

Metal

If the metal is in good condition all that is needed is for it to be cleaned with a sugar soap solution. If the metal is rusty or covered with flaking paint, smooth the surface with a wire brush and then treat the rust with a proprietary rust remover or with a primer containing rust inhibitor. When dry, paint in your chosen colour.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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