REUSE, REPAINT, RESTYLE
Whether you’re hoping to reduce the size of the local landfill, or just save some cash yourself, the idea of reusing old furniture and accessories can be very appealing. You don’t have to sacrifice style when you decorate with a hand-me-down or a flea market find. Spray paint and a few inexpensive materials from a hardware or craft store can transform any piece of furniture to match your style quickly and inexpensively.
We’ll give you some tips on where to find inexpensive second hand items to paint, what to look for, and how to end up with a terrific finished project. Before you read further, click to see the before image of our project. This wood table with clear glass top is very traditional and plain. A designer turned this tired table into a sleek contemporary conversation piece with metallic spray paint, mirrored and frosted glass paint and beaded fringe.
So where should you look for old furniture to restyle? The perfect place to start is your own home. Take a walk through to see what you might already have. Try to be objective and look at things as if you’re seeing them for the first time. What do you see that seems out of place or doesn’t match how you’d like your home to be decorated? If you have trouble with this, invite a friend whose decorating taste you admire to come over and help. Don’t forget to check any attic, basement or storage spaces because you may discover something you haven’t thought about in years. Check with relatives and friends who might have things they’d like to get rid of – you might find the perfect coffee table or bookshelf that way.
Garage sales, rummage sales, flea markets, second hand stores and thrift stores are all great sources for used furniture. Your best bargains are normally to be found at garage sales and rummage sales, so check your local newspaper classifieds. Second hand stores are going to be a little more expensive than the other sources because many storeowners are also shopping garage sales looking for items for their store. They have to make a profit, so that table that may have been $5 at the garage sale is likely to sell for $10 at their store.
When shopping for used furniture and accessories, make sure the item is structurally sound. If it wobbles, look to see if you can easily reinforce it yourself by tightening screws, adding glue to joints, or nailing another small piece of wood in an inconspicuous place. If it seems like it will take more time than you’re willing to spend fixing, pass it by. Inspect all wood pieces to make sure the wood hasn’t been damaged beyond repair by water or insects. Scratches and dents can be fixed, but if the wood is falling apart, you’re better off looking for something else as the fix is more time consuming and expensive.
The first step for every project is to clean the surface with household detergent or mineral spirits. To learn more about surface preparation, click here to fix small surface imperfections, lightly sand and use a tack cloth to remove any dust from the surface. Larger dents and cracks can be filled with wood filler or putty and sanded smooth when dry. Be sure to choose a product you’ll be able to paint over. Rust can be removed from metal surfaces with a wire brush, sandpaper or a chemical rust remover. Once you’ve finished cleaning and repairing the furniture, you’re ready to prime and paint. Priming will help smooth out the surface even more and is one of the most important surface preparation steps.
Explore the many types and colors of Krylon products available to see what fits your decorating style. If you need help choosing the right color combination for you, click here. Don’t overlook the craft and specialty products – these unique products help make your project stand out from the typically painted project. Textured finishes, metallics, fluorescents, chalkboard and glass paints all customize your project for a look truly your own.
Once you’re done painting, add a few inexpensive finishing touches. Try some of our ideas below, or browse your local hardware or craft store for ideas of your own.
- Push upholstery nails into the edge to add a decorative border.
- Stencil various designs in a contrasting color.
- Attach wood moldings and decorative trim in a coordinating color.
- Glue on beaded or fabric fringe.
- Use masking tape to create a checkerboard pattern.
- Adhere mosaic pieces, sea glass or seashells.
- Glue pieces from leftover wallpaper to match the rest of the room.
- Add wood letters that spell an important message.
- Try one of our fun paint techniques.