ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Can I Restore Old Furniture?

Updated on January 24, 2018

If you're like me and you've inherited or purchased many pieces of old or antique furniture over the years, you're probably wondering about the best ways to bring it back to its glory. Antiques are very cool, but if they're in rough shape they won't do anything good for your interior decorating. Learning how to restore old furniture is essential if you want an antique style to your home, and it's not too difficult to learn how to do.

This article is all about how to restore old furniture, and it will give you the basics on how to bring an older piece back to life through a few simple techniques. We'll talk about how to restore old furniture based on the type and materials used, and what is worth spending your time on.

Let's begin and learn some techniques for how to restore old furniture!

Determining If It's Worth It: How To Restore Old Furniture

The first step to learning how to restore old furniture is determining if a piece has any value whatsoever. There is no point in restoring a piece of furniture that won't 'take' to restoration in the first place. I'm not just talking about antiques with monetary value, I'm talking about pieces that simply cannot be restored.

Items that would fall into this category could be anything with extreme odor or rot. It's really difficult to get bad smells out of furniture, especially animal messes or smoke. Rot or mildew isn't worth it, and these pieces can make you sick.

Another category that isn't really worth restoration is anything made of particle wood. This includes manyIkeapuchases or similar. If the wood isn't real, it's hardly worth your time. They are flimsy and won't take to sanding or refinishing most of the time. Learning how to restore old furniture requires being a bit ruthless and turfing your junk furniture sometimes!

Sand, Paint, Scrape: How To Restore Old Furniture

Ok, so if your piece is made out of wood, whether partly or entirely, it's a very restorable thing. If the wood is warped you might not have much luck, but most solid wood can be restored beautifully if it's still in decent structural shape. Learning how to restore old furniture requires some hands on activity, and you'll need to get out your sandpaper and get to work.

Strip off the old peeling paint or nasty old varnish. Be sure to wear breathing protection, you don't want ancient paint dust in your lungs. Once you've nicely eliminated all traces of the old finish, you can either paint the wood or use a nice varnish or wood finish. Go to a local hardware shop and tell them your plan and the type of wood you intend to work with, they'll be able to set you up with a good product for your needs.

You also may want to investigate the structural integrity of your piece while you're at it. Restoring old furniture can often involved adding additional bracing or glue to keep a piece in working shape. Does it wobble or squeak? Now is a good time to fix that!


Upholstery and Fabric: How To Restore Old Furniture

You might want to consider cleaning, repairing or replacing the upholstery in your older pieces of furniture. Especially in antiques, it can be difficult to entirely eliminate wear and smell in older pieces of fabric. Learning how to restore old furniture often just involves learning how to clean it. The best place to start is a good steam clean of the fabric and padding. Steam can often bring out a lot of the stain and smell of antique furniture pieces, so it's a good starting point.

(You might want to go over the furniture with a toothbrush at this point and just clean everything while you're at it. Decades worth of grime and dust can build up in the corners and really reduce the look and value of a piece.)

If you can't get the stains out or you're simply tired of the look of the old fabric, consider replacing the upholstery and padding. You can hire this work out to a furniture restoration shop, but it's not too difficult to do this on your own. Often replacing the fabric is as simple as removing a piece and stapling it into place with a furniture stapler. Learning how to restore old furniture is often a case by case practice, so investigate your piece thoroughly and learn how the fabric is attached.

(Bring the old piece of foam or padding to a foam store, they'll be able to cut a similar shaped cushion out of new material for use in your piece).

Finding Your Way Here.

How did you find this HubPages' Hub article?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)