Not only is refinishing furniture a great way to save money, it allows you to put your own twist into the design process. In one day, you can transform a dreary piece into a one-of-a-kind showstopper. Here are some tips from wood refinishing experts.
Start with a clean slate. Stripping is the first step in renovating old furniture that’s been painted. If you don’t have a clean, smooth surface to work on, painting can be difficult. Use these tips to get started:
- Always strip and refinish furniture in a well-ventilated area. Wear pants, a long-sleeved shirt, stripping gloves and safety goggles.
- Old paintbrushes, wood scrapers, putty knives and small picks are useful for removing old finish. Liquid stripper can be helpful as well, but make sure to shake before using and read all the safety labels, as it can cause skin irritation and injuries.
- Use mineral spirits or lacquer thinner to clean off any residue left after stripping.
Pick the right paint. The DIY Network offers some valuable tips on painting furniture. Unlike painting a wall, furniture comes in a variety of woods and finishes, so choosing the right products is important. Here are recommendations from www.diynetwork.com:
- Prime all surfaces to be painted to get the best coverage and paint adhesion.
- The primer must match the paint you intend to use. For furniture, DIY Network recommends using a satin or semi-gloss finish in either a latex or oil-based paint. Don’t leave primer unpainted either.
- Latex paint and primer are good choices, since they usually go on easily, block most stains and lack the odor of oil-based primers. They also come in an array of sheens.
- Oil-based paint is popular for its durability and easiness to clean.
- You can use an oil-based primer with latex paints, but you must use an oil-based primer with oil-based paints.
- When painting, start at the top and work your way down, therefore smoothing out any paint drips.
Get creative. On their website www.countryliving.com, Country Living magazine has a slideshow featuring the step-by-step process of refinishing an old dresser. After sanding, priming and painting, however, there were still a few things to do in order to make the piece all your own:
- Add embellishments that reflect your personality. Country Living drilled holes for new flower-shaped knobs.
- Inside, for “a touch of unexpected style,” line the drawers with decorative cloth or paper liners.
- Decals can add interest to furniture and peel off whenever you want to do something different.
Before you throw out that old bureau, table or chair, consider giving it a second chance. You can paint it to match the rest of your décor and it’ll cost considerably less than buying a whole new piece. Additional how-to information about refinishing furniture can be found at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/how-to-refinish-furniture.htm.