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Used Furniture - DIY Ideas

Updated on January 29, 2017

Used Furniture is Fine!

My house is full of used furniture and I love that fact! Secondhand furnishings can be fun, fabulous, funky and sometimes even free. I see DIY ideas everywhere and they always inspire me.

I'll share some of my own favorite used furniture redos on this lens and several more redo furniture projects on my to-do list. The chair shown here was purchased for a few dollars at a local used furniture store. I replaced the original worn rush seat with one I wove of leather belts from a local thrift shop. See how I did it here.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Before and Afters Add Value to Your Refinishing Project

Settee - Before and After
Settee - Before and After

When starting a used furniture renovation, try to remember to take a picture before you start the work. Especially if a job takes longer than you'd expected, before and after comparison shots can give you a much needed pat on the back.

My favorite part during the refurbrishing of this old settee was stenciling the words CHEAP SEAT to the front of the piece. If you decide to stencil your used furniture, do it before applying the top coats of protective finish. DIY ideas like this are fun because the possibilities are many.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Used Furniture - Make It Fun! - Graphics and Color

Used Furniture DIY Ideas
Used Furniture DIY Ideas

The used furniture redos in this picture were fun and all very affordable. These revamps were gifts to my son in his college days and are pictured as they appeared in his home then.

Each of the wooden chairs were painted in a different color of latex paint, then top coated with water base polycrylic. The 1940s painted green cabinet was picked up at a secondhand store at a bargain price. It was blah and beat up when I found it. Using one of my favorite DIY ideas (check this out), the American Gothic graphics were added to the cabinet doors transforming it into a very cool piece which then served as a mini pantry.

What started out as used furniture becomes functional art. Isn't it fabulous?

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Paints for Used Furniture
Paints for Used Furniture

Paint Used Furniture

DIY Ideas for used furniture transformations require painting in 9 out of 10 furniture redos. The type of paint I use most often may surprise you. Yep....those small bottles of latex paint in the craft section of your local discount store. Here's how I do it...

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Used Furniture - DIY Redos - One thrift shop table = two funky nightstands

Used Furniture DIY Redos
Used Furniture DIY Redos

HGTV created two fabulous nightstands from one solid wood table. This is one of the best used furniture upcycling projects I've seen in a while. Find DIY ideas you love and recreate them in a version that's all your own.

(Photo credit HGTV.com)

There is Hope for Used Furniture - Hope Chest DIY Furniture Redo

Used Furniture DIY Redos
Used Furniture DIY Redos

DIY Ideas for used furniture can be as simple as sanding a piece, painting and adding some feet. This old hope chest was transformed and put to good use as storage in the guest room. Adding legs to this piece of used furniture gave it the height it needed to also serve as extra seating.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Used Furniture Painted Plaid
Used Furniture Painted Plaid

Used Furniture - Try Plaid Painting

DIY Ideas Worth Sharing....

Yes, I did paint these thrift shop metal stools in "plaid paint". However, I can't take credit for the idea, but I'll point you in the right direction. Go here to try this surprisingly simple plaid paint effect on your own used furniture.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Coat Rack Makeover via HGTV

Used Furniture - DIY Ideas via HGTV Coat Rack
Used Furniture - DIY Ideas via HGTV Coat Rack

HGTV has done it again.....Besides the refreshing coat of paint, what other changes can you see in the BEFORE and AFTER pictures in this used furniture makeover? This revamped coat rack takes up very little space, yet offers much more storage with a few extra well placed hooks. HGTV shows you how here.

Adding the accordion magnifying mirror to the coat rack redo is genius, don't you think?

( (L) Photography by Alison Gootee/Studio D and (R) Photography by Philip Friedman/Studio D)

Used Chair Makeover - DIY Idea
Used Chair Makeover - DIY Idea

Used Chair Revamped with Foam Stickers

I think the idea of using foam stickers to redo this old oak chair was so clever and frugal. It's now a real fun piece of furniture, right? See how it was done over at The Inadvertent Farmer.

(Photo credit The Inadvertent Farmer blog)

Used Furniture DIY Ideas - what project may be on your to do list?

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    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 3 years ago from Vermont

      Most of my furniture is upcycled, refurbished or wellworn junktiques and I love it. The only new piece in my home is my bed ... and I've been collecting and lovingly remaking furniture for 50 years. Its so much fun and the old pieces are made from better materials, with better workmanship.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      All of this is very creative. Great ideas!

    • profile image

      ryangflo 4 years ago

      Definitely love the creativity.

    • GreenfireWiseWo profile image

      GreenfireWiseWo 4 years ago

      Great idea.

    • happymonkeyz profile image

      happymonkeyz 4 years ago

      very nice recycling ideas. thanks for sharing.

    • Sara2901 profile image

      Sara2901 4 years ago

      Liked the coat rack makeover.

    • profile image

      chickie99 4 years ago

      really cool ideas for any outdated or worn out furniture!

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 4 years ago from USA

      The foam stickers -- what an awesome idea!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      Nice lens and some great ideas here. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2013.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i like the stools. Plaid Painting colourful checked design. great ideas. nice lens!

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 4 years ago

      Wow, great fun! I'm a yard saleaholic and a veteran flea marketer. One warning to all-- just make sure that the piece you're planning on painting or cutting up has no antique or collectible value! You'd be surprised what's worth money, especially in pieces from the mid-century modern era.

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      I love the look

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      Wonderful ideas! Now, I have to figure out which project I want to tackle first.

    • MayaIxchel profile image

      MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      Oh my gosh! I am in love with all your ideas . . . so much to do!! Thank you for sharing! Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

    • profile image

      NathalieM 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I love the idea of using paint to spruce up old furniture.

    • elliot-small profile image

      elliot-small 5 years ago

      Loving this page!! I do a fair few bits my self, would be great if you could stop by my page so we can share tips etc. have a look at some of my work on http://www.facebook.com/thefurniturerecyclingshop

      I mainly import from France right now and paint up louis XV style furniture from 50's and am loving it!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens! Really interesting and full of great ideas and info. Well done to the writer!

      I have a website called mattressland, itâs kind of related ï would you mind if i give it a quick plug and a link back to my site.

      Again great LENS! Well done, i await your next article . Many Single Mattress

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We have done a glass cabinet which was originally done in lead light. We pulled it apart and re-stained the wood work and re did the glass lead light. It looks great.

    • profile image

      JennySui 5 years ago

      Congrats on LotD!

    • RichBerry LM profile image

      RichBerry LM 5 years ago

      I love the nightstands

    • Silverbullionaire profile image

      Silverbullionaire 5 years ago

      Cool stuff! I like the ideas!

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Your ideas are so cute, I love the bright colors and graphic designs.

    • profile image

      seedplanter 5 years ago

      LOVE the ideas you've included in this lens. You inspire me!

    • profile image

      seedplanter 5 years ago

      LOVE the ideas you've included in this lens. You inspire me!

    • Mayapearl profile image

      Mayapearl 5 years ago

      Fun on rainy days and a good way to revamp old pieces

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love DIY art projects like this too. I saw the coolest chairs out by someone's trash the other day as I was driving by. By the time I came back around again, someone else had snatched them up. Talk about a bummer. With some new fabric and a quick paint job, they will be adorable.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      It's time for my old rocker to get the leather belt treatment. Thanks for the idea. I'm off to Goodwill to get a few belts. d

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      I just love your leather belt chair seat. Very creative idea, and it turned out so well!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      What inspiring ideas for creating artwork from used furniture. I can hardly wait to try this out on some of my old broken chairs.

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      vivonmattress 5 years ago

      Thanks for these ideas on reviving old furniture, I have an idea now on what to do of my old couch I can't throw away...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this is awesome i never thought of anything like this :)

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great lens! Thanks for sharing.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      The pieces you show here look great.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for visiting The Electric Car Blog! I hope you'll come back and read new news about the Nissan Leaf. I too have a home full of old furniture. What a great lens :)

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      oakstreet 5 years ago

      Make use of used furniture needs some kinds of creativity and it is fun. Great len and a "like" from me.

    • PeacefieldFarm LM profile image

      PeacefieldFarm LM 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great ideas. I'll definitely have to try a few. DIY projects are great.

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 5 years ago

      I LOVE the American Gothic cabinet and the pink half-nightstand!!

    • steph-naylor profile image

      steph-naylor 5 years ago

      Probably one of my favourite Lensâs

    • steph-naylor profile image

      steph-naylor 5 years ago

      Probably one of my favourite Lensâs

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      Some neat ideas. I like the night stands.

    • profile image

      NadineCatalfimoEsq 5 years ago

      Love it!

    • lilblackdress lm profile image

      lilblackdress lm 5 years ago

      Lots of great ideas!

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Some great ideas! I'm going to link to your Lens from mine on Thrifty Decor Shopping (thrifts stores yay!). I especially like the two bedside tables from one table idea - that's usually the catch with thrift shopping, finding multiples, so this is genius!

    • derryod profile image

      derryod 5 years ago

      I love the idea of re-using old furniture, especially the older stuff, like my Granny had. Those pieces were built to last and look great repainted and used in a different way

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Where can I find the American Gothic Stencil? I have a cabinet that I have been waiting to get inspiration to re-do. I must have this! Thanks

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      You have made some great looking furniture. I think it is great that people are starting to think about doing up their old furniture rather than dumping it. Many of our grandparents would never throw something away that they could reuse. You ave shown that secondhand furniture doesn't have to be second best.

    • Pam Irie profile image
      Author

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @anonymous: Yes, it's referred to as latex paint even though it says acrylic, it is still a water base craft paint. You can purchase this paint at any craft or hobby store or at your local big discount store. Just read the back of a label on the small craft bottles and you'll see this is water-base. I believe latex is just an old holdover term. Hope this helps. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You said that you use "latex" paint but the picture showed acrylic crafters paint?

      I'm confused?

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      Crafty way to re-use! Nice lens. Congrats on LOTD.

    • fivee05 lm profile image

      fivee05 lm 5 years ago

      These are great ideas!

    • LizRobertson profile image

      LizRobertson 5 years ago

      wow! who would've thought to paint foam stickers! Love it!

    • JoKelly LM profile image

      JoKelly LM 5 years ago

      Really inspiring, thanks.

    • profile image

      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      I like DIY every thing! Thanks for sharing this great Lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh, I love your lens, it is so resourceful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love watching people be creative, especially with furniture projects. I've done my share of DIY with it, so kudos!

    • parmaggie profile image

      parmaggie 5 years ago

      awesome. I love it. I really like the look.

    • profile image

      Anna2of5 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! I love the belt idea, never thought of that. Lots of good ideas.

      Sincerely, Anna2of5

    • profile image

      sueyin 5 years ago

      innovative and awesome...good recycle job

    • profile image

      badmsm 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Liked & Blessed by a fellow DIY'er & Squid Angel! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very creative approach to recycling. Congratulations on getting LoTD!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Oh my gosh, what incredibly amazing and creative ideas! I would love a used furniture DIY project. Great lens and congratulations on LoTD.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 5 years ago

      Clever do-it-yourself ideas for used furniture and a well-deserved lens of the day. It never ceases to amaze me how one person's idea of trash can turn into another's inspired-treasure.

    • profile image

      socialwicker 5 years ago

      This is spectacular advice! Budget permits the top name brand furniture... that's ok I'll just go over to Aunt Sally's Garage sale and make something fun and one of a kind :)

      If you look all around Etsy, this is done on my favorite type of furniture! A couple of cans of Krylon Spray Paint and do what Veryirie is talking about!

      This is going to spread big time :) Thanks for all of the ideas.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      What a beautiful article! You've so inspired me. I have one of the original chairs from my Dad's nightclub in DC in the 40's. I'm going to redo it. You, my dear, are quite blessed!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      What a beautiful article! You've so inspired me. I have one of the original chairs from my Dad's nightclub in DC in the 40's. I'm going to redo it. You, my dear, are quite blessed!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      What a beautiful article! You've so inspired me. I have one of the original chairs from my Dad's nightclub in DC in the 40's. I'm going to redo it. You, my dear, are quite blessed!

    • profile image

      coincrazy98 5 years ago

      Love the ideas. Congratulations on LOTD

    • profile image

      YourFirstTime 5 years ago

      Creative idea - always good to recycle.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I don't have much time or space to do these types of projects these days but I have in the past. I have done up chairs that were left for dead and still have two beautiful chests of drawers that I found cheap and in a state of disrepair. Both are different and I found them at different times, other projects I did were cots and beds for my children when they were younger. There is very little of our furniture that we bought new. Most was second hand when we got it. Congrats on LOTD and for creating some beautiful projects.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      It's high time this article received the LotD nod! You deserve it! I enjoyed reading this lens the second time even more than the first -- the American Gothic detail is so fab! I'll be sending your link to all my DIY friends! Congrats again!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      I have a couple of old end tables that I found at yard sales, painted them off white and put decals on them. I just love them!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Okay, I'm inspired and ready to do a make-over on my old desk!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      Very creative ideas...I never would have thought of striped stools or a chair with foam stickers.

    • profile image

      ElizabethOSP 5 years ago

      AHHH! The leather-belt-woven seat is *brilliant!* Thankyou so much for that idea.

    • Enigmaa8 profile image

      Enigmaa8 5 years ago

      Wow lots of inspirational revamps I almost want to paint everything I own now :)

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 5 years ago from USA

      Fun idea. congradulations on having the Lens of the day

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      Great ideas. I loved the American Gothic graphic. Thanks!

    • Pam Irie profile image
      Author

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @jltexas: Hey! Refreshing a chair with a new seat cover is one of the easiest jobs and fast too. :) This video will show you step by step. Go for it and Good Luck! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJR3-MW10JM

    • Pam Irie profile image
      Author

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @Johanna Eisler: Joie, preparation and patience is key. Use a water base primer first. Follow with LATEX water base paint. Let dry completely between coats. (Even though its a latex paint, I still wait overnight for the next coat.) I never use oil base paint because it takes FOREVER to dry. If humidity is high, allow more time for drying. Lastly, I usually use a water base polycrylic finish.....usually two coats. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      fdixon1 5 years ago

      Love some these ideas, will come in very handy since I love old things and always looking for ways to make them look great again.

    • profile image

      candy47 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Great ideas!

    • profile image

      PattiMarbles 5 years ago

      I love your ideas for revamping furniture in need of a bit of love, I look forward to trying some of your ideas out myself! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratulations of receiving LOTD! I love your creativity and boldness in design. David Bromstad would be so-o-o-o-o proud of you. :-)

    • SPhilbrick profile image

      SPhilbrick 5 years ago

      I've always loved your ingenius DIY project! It's so much fun to see your "before" and "after" pictures :-)

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      Congrats on LOTD! I remember your wonderful "How to" articles on Ehow! You write such fun things!

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 5 years ago from America's Dairyland

      So glad to see this deserving lens on LoTD! You are so clever and resourceful and I enjoyed reading this lens again. Way to go, pal!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      You're the most talented and creative DIYer I know, Pam. Congratulations on LotD!!! You deserve it!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      These are some really good and unusual ideas. I would like to refinish (it's been 8 years) art deco end tables that belonged to my mother.

    • profile image

      networm 5 years ago

      Simple but cool ideas. This makes me think not to sell the used and old furniture at home. Loved the cheap set makeover, we the same thing at home, unattended.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      My attempt at painting furniture always ends up with a sticky top, no matter how many hours/days/weeks I let it dry. What am I doing wrong?

    • profile image

      getwellsoon 5 years ago

      Wow I loved this lens! Great ideas here, especially the end table with only two legs.

    • Anahid LM profile image

      Anahid LM 5 years ago

      Oh that is clean and beautiful very good work Thank you. Anna

    • profile image

      Ladybird 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Very interesting.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I love repainting old wood furniture with bright colors and adding art to them for accent pieces. Some cool examples of DIY!

    • Barbie Crafts profile image

      Barbie Crafts 5 years ago from United States

      What fun ideas!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      I just might try the plaid painting. I need a new project to get me away from the computer!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      Congratulations on your LotD. I have to redo two patio nick nack tables. Great ideas.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      Congratulations on your LotD. I have to redo two patio nick nack tables. Great ideas.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Congratulations on getting LOTD for this excellent lens. I love the makeover idea of making 2 end tables out of one table. Great idea. Thanks for sharing. Bear hugs, Frankster