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How to Refresh Tired Old Wood Furniture on the Cheap

How to Refresh Tired Old Wood Furniture on the Cheap

Is some of your old wood furniture looking a little tired? Refreshing a piece of old furniture isn’t hard to do nor has to cost a lot of money. Sometimes all it takes to refresh your furniture is a little TLC and a bit of rearranging. Here are several ideas to get you started.

Shine and restore. Furniture polish is an easy way to refresh tired old furniture. While a product like Pledge is fine for daily use, I’ll switch to a restorative product for the times my furniture needs some serious help. Restorative cleaners do more than polish up old furniture; they hide old scratches and dings while reviving the original patina. Restorative formulas can be found at hardware stores or online.

Old Wood Furniture

Erase the water rings. Are your coffee and ends tables covered with white water rings? Help is no further away than the bathroom. A dab of toothpaste will erase the white lines and freshen up the surface without damaging the finish. If you hate wasting toothpaste for this easy DIY fix, try using a smidgeon of moistened fireplace ash instead.

Cover it up. Grandma used to cover her old wood furniture with doilies to protect the surface and hide unsightly stains. If you aren’t a doily person, hit the antique stores for some vintage bridge card table covers to drape over the furniture instead. Bridge table covers are about 3 feet square and often decorated with elaborate cutwork, needlework and appliques. These colorful textiles are an easy way to introduce some color into your home and surprisingly, don’t cost a lot of money.

Touch up the scratches. If your furniture has nicks and scratches that are visible from across the room, the Tibet Almond Stick is a quick way to hide minor damage. This amazing product darkens scratches so they disappear. The Tibet Almond Stick can be tough to find since it’s such an old product; if you can’t find it locally, there are several on-line retailers that keep this product in stock.

Repurpose it. While I’ll never destroy one of my antiques so as to turn it in a portable bar or bathroom counter, I don’t have any reservations about repurposing items into something more practical. A tired old dresser, for example, can be refreshed by simply moving it in the kitchen where it can hold a display of vintage kitchen linens. A beat old Victrola can be moved into the living room to hold a display of pottery, and so on. Finding a new use or even a new location for old furniture is sometimes all it takes for your family (and your guests) to see these pieces in a whole new light.

Author Profile

Cory Robertson
Cory Robertson
Tom Drury was born in Iowa in 1956. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Drury has published short fiction and essays in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Ploughshares, Granta, The Mississippi Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. His novels have been translated into German, Spanish, and French. “Path Lights,” a story Drury published in The New Yorker, was made into a short film starring John Hawkes and Robin Weigert and directed by Zachary Sluser. The film debuted on David Lynch Foundation Television and played in film festivals around the world. In addition to Iowa, Drury has lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, and California. He currently lives in Brooklyn and is published by Grove Press.