13 April 2009

Furniture Rehab: 5 Tips for Finding Pieces to Makeover


The weather is finally warming a bit up and my thoughts have turned to the boatload of rehab projects that I have planned for spring. All winter, I have been collecting bits and pieces of bedraggled and beaten furniture that I know will be beautiful again with some paint, fabric and love.

Since garage sale and flea market season is here for most of the country, here are a few tips for when you're hunting for pieces that you can rehab for your home.

1. Look past the surface- Forget the 1980's sponge paint job and see the shape of that dresser or chair. Does it have a traditional, modern or classic shape that would work well in your house? Some new paint and hardware can transform that horrible mess into something that you love.

2. Can it be repurposed? - Can that old changing table be made into a storage shelf or book shelf? Wouldn't that old door make a great headboard? Maybe the old TV armoire could be used for storage in the baby's room.

3. Is it fixable? - Simple repairs like smoothing out a scratched top or fixing a broken chair rung can turn that major bargain into a beautiful piece. When I want to try a repair, I google whatever I need to do and go from there..."fix a broken chair rung", "repair damaged laminate" or "replace rattan seat". But you need to know yourself. That $5 chair isn't worth it if it's going to sit in your basement, unrepaired.

4. Know where to look - Some thrift stores focus on clothing while others carry a nice mix. Check them out a few times or even call ahead to find out if they carry furniture. Some of the best pieces can be found at garage sales and on Craigslist so keep your eyes open.

5. What's it made of? - Is it real wood or particle board and laminate? Personally, I prefer to find pieces that are real wood. They're usually well made and are easier to paint. But don't let that stop you if you want to try making over that laminate bookcase. It can still be beautiful!

Wallpapered teacart: Crafty Nest
Secondhand furniture makeover: squirrels & tea
Her very first makeover: Creations by Kara
Before & After: Design Sponge
3 makeovers from BHG
Entertainment center into laundry station: BHG

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Two fantastic giveaways going on today!
$100 in CASH from The Inspired Room
Customized canvas prints from 4 Reluctant Entertainers

24 comments {Click here to leave a comment}:

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Kimba,
The warmer weather does make me want to tackle some projects. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Rona's Home Page said...

In my neck of the woods, I haven't come across the terrific tag sales of Southern Maine.
We do have some consignment shops and furniture clearance stores that my husband and I like to go to. We actually found a great dresser, for half off!

AnNicole @ OurSuburbanCottage said...

Great tips. I can't WAIT to start rehabing some treasures I've found over the winter. I can't wait to see what you come up with too. I'm still entranced by the little bench you painted red and recovered the seat with black and white fabric...genius!

Kara said...

Imagine my surprise when I started clicking your links and saw that you are featuring one of my projects. Thanks so much-you made my day!

I laughed when I saw the entertainment center turned laundry station. I did the very same thing with mine a few weeks ago, and I thought I was being so clever. Dang, somebody beat me to it!

J said...

i am so excited about yard sales...and projects! Warmer weather get here now!!! :)

Jennifer P. said...

Great ideas! NOw that it is warm outside, I'm looking around my house for stuff to spray paint :)---guess I'll start checking out some thrift stores too!

Buildeth Her House said...

Painting is the cheapest way to refurb furniture. I have some projects to tackle this spring and I'm so excited!

Magic Brush said...

Kimba I LOVE this post. I am always on the lookout for good pieces. I did a post awhile back called "Good Bones" about a chest I bought for my baby's bedroom. I love looking past the ugly and imagining how a piece COULD BE!

Kelli said...

Thrift stores offer a wealth of treasures, if you are able to go often. I have found fabulous deals, but I have to go once or twice a week. I love it. Thanks for the tips!!

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

Kimba, I need help. I can't stop looking through Goodwill and finding treasures to paint. I just found another today. Help.me. :)

Blanca said...

Awesome thanks for the tips and links.

Songbirdtiff said...

These are great reminders. Don't forget side-of-the-road bargains!

Also known as... someone else's trash :)

Tasha said...

Thanks to you this past Saturday I bought 3 pieces to makeover. Never in my life did I think I would buy furniture from a garage sale, but I know that oak does have to stay that way now, Thanks!

marty39 said...

What great tips and ideas for finding and redoing some really thrifty finds. I look forward to seeing what all you redo. Hugs, Marty

Pretty Organizer said...

Repurpose is somewhere in my mission statement as a mother. Goodness... who can afford to buy a perfect house full of furniture? Not I. I can pretty much afford to buy a perfect color of paint and a few brushes for the project (even they get pricey).

Excellent words to live by my painting sister. I'm trying to gear up for another furniture painting project. Just need to be prepared for the whole house to go to pot while I'm in my zone:)

Living with Lindsay said...

Such a timely post, as I've been in the garage all day painting the purple desk I found at Goodwill! :)

Mandi said...

I think you added that last comment on #3 just for me. I have several things in my garage that are just waiting on me to actually execute those big plans of mine. So many BIG ideas, so little time!

Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Ah....a post that is music to my ears. I have to stop buying pieces until I finish the ones from last yard sale season. i am on it!

Jessica said...

I'm definetly into the refinishing thing lately! You gave some great examples, Thanks!

Jen r. said...

Amen! I can't wait!

Julie said...

Kimba- Do you use a high gloss paint for the dining table/chairs? I just bought a table/chairs and want it to look like yours. Plus it needs to be ready to stand up to four rough children!
thanks! You are the Best!

The Nester said...

Totally missed this post and it is fantastic--you are becoming quite the informative writer!

Ms. Booty Homemaker said...

yes, yes, but where are you storing these pieces in the meantime? small house here, w/ no extra room.... suggestions?

Jane said...

Also, never overlook the curb! I found two little nightstand/cabinets on the curb and turned them into play kitchens. I only have a handsaw and a drill. My workshop was my apartment living room & balcony.