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Tricks for Giving Old Furniture New Life

Interior designer Patrice Munden shows how your own home may be hiding beautiful new furniture just waiting to be rediscovered.

Tricks for Giving Old Furniture New Life Tricks for Giving Old Furniture New Life Tricks for Giving Old Furniture New Life

Repurposing means finding completely new uses for existing pieces of furniture. Re-purposing furniture lets you give your existing furniture a new life, or you can buy used furniture secondhand and make it look new. More and more Americans are seeking to surround themselves with items that remind them of their youth with well-worn and primitive styled furniture as well as mid-century modern pieces.

Many people are seeking to recapture an era in their lives but they are also looking for items that they can change and make fit into their current lifestyle. With the abundance of vintage and used furniture that is available, many are asking themselves: Why buy new furniture when there are so many unique, well-made pieces all around?

Why use old furniture instead of buying new?

  • Often more solid and made of better wood than new
  • Is less expensive than purchasing new furniture
  • Has sentimental value to you
  • Has a patina or aged look you cannot buy
  • It is a great green action—the older item is saved and refreshed without purchasing new. No new trees are being cut down to create new furniture.
  • Change an old item that you have grown tired of

What can be done with older furniture?

  • Old tables can be used as desks
  • Use an old dresser in a bathroom for keeping towels, supplies and linens.
  • An old armoire can be used as a bar or wine cabinet.
  • Old chests can be made into bathroom vanity
  • Old chairs can be refinished, recovered
  • Vintage sewing machine stands can be made into a plant stand or table
  • Old metal patio furniture can be made into garden ornaments
  • Old potting benches can be made into shoe racks
  • Change a chest or bureau into a baby changing table by adding a small cushion
  • Turn an armoire into a home office center to hold your computer and office supplies.

Ways to Embellish Old furniture:

  • Change the handles or knobs
  • Paint or refinish
  • Decoupage, faux-finish marbling or distress
  • If upholstery, make slip covers, reupholster.

Where to find furniture to repurpose?

  • Around your home
  • Second hand and thrift stores
  • Vintage and antique shops
  • Estate sales and garage sales
  • Basements and attics of friends and family
  • Auctions
  • Craigslist
  • Flea Markets

For more information about Patrice Munden and her interior design services, please visit her official website.

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