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Tips for Refinishing Furniture to Fit Your Farmhouse Decor

Updated on July 30, 2019

Like most weekends, I decided to take a trip around town to the local antique shops and flea markets on the hunt for some treasures. A Habitat for Humanity Restore had just recently opened so I thought I would check it out. As I was walking around, I locked eyes on this beautiful dining room table. I knew I had to have it! With some work, I hoped to make it a centerpiece for creating some memories with family and friends in my home. It had potential, but needed a ton of work. The bonus was that I was able to pick up six chairs and a table for under $100. Here are a few tips for taking a tired piece of furniture and making it a new addition to your Farmhouse Décor.

Tip one - Clean all surfaces of the table. A well used piece of furniture is going to be well used. There may be a few layers of dirt and grime that need to be scrubbed and removed. I would recommend TSP, which can be found at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the box. This cleaner is some pretty strong stuff so use gloves. Safety first! I would also recommend using it outside in the driveway or in a garage. It can be messy and you may want to take a hose to rinse the pieces off.

Tip two - Let the surface dry completely. Be patient. It may take a couple days.

Tip three - Painted furniture is just another way to describe Farmhouse Décor. The two just seem to go together. I would recommend either chalk or milk paint. These paints do not require much prep work. Hallelujah! There is no stripping or sanding required. You just want to make sure that the surface is clean. For my table and chairs project, I used chalk paint. It comes in powder form and a wide variety of colors. Simply add some water, mix, and you are ready to go. I typically use a foam brush, but there is no special way that it needs to be applied. Use whatever is easiest for you. This paint has some interesting characteristics. How it reacts may be different for different pieces. It might stay a solid coat or it can flake or crackle. One thing that is consistent is the classic farmhouse look. I would encourage at least a couple coats for good coverage. I also suggest lightly sanding between coats.

Tip four - Most Farmhouse Décor has a rustic, distressed, well-used, loved kind of look. A simple way to achieve this result is to randomly sand edges. The goal is to create the effect of age and wear. Avoid overdoing it. You don’t want to take it back to where you started.

Tip five - You’ve worked hard on your project, so you want to protect it. For my project, I used a rub on polyurethane for the table top surface and a furniture wax for the chairs and legs. Both are simple to apply with a rag. If using the polyurethane, the surface needs to be free of all dust. Let the first coat dry completely. If applying additional coats, lightly sand between coats. When using the wax, buff with a clean dry cloth.

Tip six – If working with chairs pick out some upholstery fabric for the final finishing touches. Pick something that fits your personality and your farmhouse décor. Use a seat bottom as a pattern to mark and cut foam, batting and fabric. The foam should be the same size as the seat. The batting should be at least an inch or two larger than the foam cushion on all sides. Be sure to cut the fabric large enough on all sides to stretch over the top with room to staple and attach on the underneath. Attach the foam with spray adhesive to the seat top. Lay out the fabric (face down) and batting on a hard surface. Position the seat bottom and begin attaching the fabric with a staple gun. Watch your fingers! Repeat for each of the chairs and attach seat bottoms.

Final tip – Enjoy! Gather with friends and family and create some memories around your newly refinished Farmhouse piece.


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