Dressing Up Existing Furniture

When it comes to home decor, one of the most expensive things to buy is furniture. It makes sense to reuse as many existing pieces as possible, if they are in good shape. Even if the style doesn't seem to fit with your new design plan, you may be able to dress up pieces in ways that will make them work.

One example is using a wood cabinet with plain doors in a formal space. Adding a little trim molding to the doors to make them look as if they have recessed panels is a simple, inexpensive way to dress them up. Next, sand the cabinet and apply a deeper color of stain to the entire piece, to give it a richer look. A clear coat on top will not only protect the finish but will also give the cabinet a nice shine and make it seem new.

Maybe you have the opposite in mind. In order to change the look of formal furniture pieces to use them in a space with casual decor elements, consider using a crackle finish or another distressing technique. Whitewash the piece and scuff the edges with fine sandpaper for a weathered look.

To make grown-up furniture work in a child's room, paint is a great choice. Paint the frame of a dresser one color and paint the drawer fronts a contrasting color or use multiple bright colors. You can also change the hardware from stately to something whimsical. If you're bringing in an existing bed, you can paint it to match the dresser or other pieces in the room, although changing the bedding to something more child-friendly may be all that is needed.

Use furniture in new ways. A desk can become a vanity or vice versa. A low dresser can be used as a sideboard. An old chest makes a great window seat and a trunk can be used as a more interesting coffee table. Use them as is, or give them a little update with paint or stain and new accessories.

You can always slipcover upholstered pieces to change the look and feel, but you can also slipcover wood furniture or pieces made from other materials. A wood top that slips right over your current table will allow you to change the look without changing or damaging the original design. You can remove it later if you want to go back to the original style.

Another good idea is to replace the glass in your coffee table or end tables with wood, or perhaps with a wood subsurface so you can tile them. You might even find a large piece of tile that fits perfectly as is. This is a great way to give outdated furniture an update. Paint it or re-stain it to freshen it up even more.

These processes take a little time and effort, but they are minimal investments as far as money is concerned. They are definitely far more cost-effective than having to replace large pieces of furniture.

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