DIY Home Projects
Savvy DIY

DIY Furniture Renovation Tips and Tricks

Sometimes we all just need a little change. Have you ever wished that old coffee table looked just a bit different? Of course, you could also go out and buy a new coffee table to fit the aesthetic and style you desire. But buying a new piece of furniture can get expensive. 

Luckily, there are ways to get the change and style you want. You can take the project into your own hands and renovate your furniture with a little do-it-yourself work. This can seem overwhelming and intimidating at times, but there are a lot of different ways to renovate your furniture.

There is also a large community of DIYers out there ready to share a few tips and tricks before you jump into your DIY furniture renovations. Be careful though: When you start renovating furniture by yourself, you may just get the itch to tackle a bigger project.

If you do develop a love for more, bigger DIY projects, don’t worry. DIY projects are a great way to refresh your home, but there are more aspects to these larger projects. 

Obviously the bigger the project, the more materials and time will be needed, but you will also have to review your insurance policy. Before you knock down that wall or rework your home’s layout, find out what is covered by homeowners insurance.

Types of Furniture Renovations

Maybe a full, DIY home renovation isn’t in the cards. Furniture renovations are a great starting point in your DIY adventure.

The first step in any furniture renovation is to define the scope of work. A furniture renovation can mean a lot of different things. There are different ways to renovate or rehab a piece of furniture. Each of these renovations will mean a different process, a different timeline, and different kinds of tools and supplies. 

One DIY renovation project is refinishing. When you refinish a piece of furniture, you are attempting to bring it back to its original look and aesthetic.

This type of renovation is most often done with antique, classic, or heirloom pieces. Refinishing a furniture piece will require a deeper knowledge of the design of that piece and usually more specialized tools or supplies. 

You can also refine an older, more outdated piece. The refining process is an attempt to modernize those older pieces and help them fit into your space. 

Perhaps the most trendy furniture renovations are the recycling projects. This process allows you to take a piece of furniture and reimagine it to make it into something new. People often call this the furniture upcycle.

Tips for Painting Furniture

Whether you’re refinishing, refining, or upcycling, there is often paint involved. Painting furniture can be tricky. It’s often something people have trouble with and complain about. There are ways to make the painting part of your DIY project easier, more enjoyable, and longer-lasting. 

#1 – Start with a Plan

The first step is to have an idea and a plan for the piece you are painting. It’s never a good idea to jump into a DIY project without some direction or end goal. Try finding an inspiration picture online or in a catalog, so you know what you’re working toward.

#2 – Select Your Paint and Tools

The next step is to pick the paint you’ll be using. Selecting paint is much more than just picking the perfect color. The quality of the paint you use is just as important. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive paint on the market, but it should be high quality.

The same goes for the paint brushes or rollers you will be using to apply the paint. All products should be high quality to ensure the job you do looks great and lasts a long time.

#3 – Remember to Sand and Prime

Painting furniture usually requires some level of preparation. In most cases, furniture needs to be cleaned, sanded, and primed before the colored paint can be applied. 

Every piece of furniture you want to paint must be clean. Take a soft, warm rag with a non-abrasive soap and wipe down your piece.

Sanding isn’t always required. It depends on the finish you want on the piece. If you want a more distressed or weathered look, you can skip the sanding step. On the other hand, if you want a cleaner, more polished finish, you should invest the time and energy into sanding.

Priming is almost always a required step. Primer is applied after cleaning and sanding but before the final color. Priming a piece of furniture helps ensure the finish and paint job takes to the piece of furniture. 

General Tips for Furniture DIYs

Furniture DIY doesn’t always stop with the paint job. There are other ways to reimagine and refinish your piece. Here are a few more tips and tricks to keep in mind for your next DIY project.

#1 – Shop Around for Furniture

Don’t be afraid to shop around for the piece you want to renovate and reimagine. If you have an idea but don’t feel any of your current furniture pieces fit the bill, then take a trip to a local thrift or antique store. There are so many pieces waiting for the opportunity to be upcycled and loved once again.

#2 – Match the Era of the Furniture Piece

If you are refinishing or modernizing a piece, it’s a good idea to try and match the original era of the piece. Trying to push an older piece too far outside its original era can leave the piece looking more haphazard or thrown together.

This isn’t to say you can’t modernize an older, classic piece, but there is a finesse needed in these projects. Research the original era of the piece and look for more modern extensions of those ideas and styles.

#3 – Keep Those Old Socks

Everyone has those old socks that got separated from their mate or trapped in the dryer lint trap. Don’t throw them away. Use these old socks to wipe down and prep your piece of furniture. These old socks won’t scratch or damage your piece but will wipe away the grime and dust. 

#4 – Remove Accessories First

Don’t forget to remove any extra pieces from your furniture piece before you start the DIY process. If there are any knobs, pulls, or even large mirrors attached, take them off and set them aside. They can be easily reattached, or even replaced once the paint dries. 

#5 – Don’t Forget to Protect the Paint

Once the paint is dry and all the pieces are put back together, you need to protect your piece. Remember to add a layer of shellac, varnish, or sealer. The specific type of product will depend on the material and how you choose to finish it. These projects help protect your paint job from general wear and tear, including household pets. 

#6 – Have Fun and Get Started on Your Project

Don’t let worry or doubt stand in your way. If you have an idea or a desire to tackle a DIY furniture renovation, then give it a try. DIY projects are all about having fun and being creative. Pick your piece, have a plan, find the right tools, and just get started.

Other House Remodel Projects

DIY projects don’t have to be small. In fact, there are people who tackle full house remodels on their own. These DIY renovations are time-consuming investments but can be well worth it. If you do want to take on bigger, more expansive projects, whether it’s one room or the entire house, remember there are definitely a few projects you just shouldn’t DIY

To try your hand at those bigger projects, remember to do the research, talk to people with experience and knowledge, and proceed with a plan and no small amount of caution.

DIY and Your Insurance

Furniture DIY is one thing, but larger, more home-centric DIY projects are a totally different animal altogether. If you are tackling a few home renovation projects yourself, you’ll want to review your home insurance policies. 

Most renovation projects aren’t covered by home insurance. The cost and possible repairs are the sole responsibility of the homeowner

You’ll always want to update your policy once the renovations are complete to make sure any additional square footage or livable space is still covered in case of loss or damage. Remember, you put in the time and sweat-equity, so you want to make sure it’s around for a long time. 

Laura Gunn researches and writes for the insurance comparison site, She is an avid DIYer who is passionate about sharing timesaving tips and tricks.

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