Disclaimer: Earlier this week, I announced that I would be taking a step back from furniture. While this change is bittersweet, I'm hoping it will also allow me to be more open about the furniture refinishing process. Over the years, I've fielded many questions about what tools to use and how to properly sand a midcentury piece. I've hesitated sharing my expertise as it was the bread and butter of my business, but now, I am ready to share EVERYTHING that I know and have learned...soon. For today, I'm dealing out furniture advice that requires minimal effort and reaps great rewards.
In my years of refinishing furniture, I have spent countless hours sanding and coating pieces in paint to give them a fresh look. Refinishing furniture is not for the faint of heart and it’s not a quick fix by any means, but it fuels my creativity and its repetitive nature can be truly therapeutic at times. Still, in my years of restoring older pieces to their original sheen, I’ve discovered that transforming a piece of furniture doesn’t have to take long hours of painting and sanding. Sometimes, there’s a simpler solution.
Today, I’m sharing my top tips for quickly elevating a piece of furniture. Each of these solutions won’t break the bank and can be realized in a matter of minutes.
Tip #1 - Clean It Up
This is an obvious but important one. At the workshop, we “clean” up our wood furniture pieces using Howard Feed-N-Wax. The wax gives the piece of furniture a more polished look, further enhancing the natural beauty of the grain and preventing the wood from drying out. I’d recommend applying the wax every 6 months, but really you can apply it any time you notice your furniture is looking matte and dried out.
Once your furniture is polished, you might notice that your hardware could use some attention. Unless the hardware is missing, I like to keep the original hardware on all of our pieces to stay true to its design and character. I recommend cleaning up furniture hardware with Bar Keepers Friend. This product comes in a few varieties, but I prefer the spray as it allows me to easily apply the product and seems to work faster than the others.
Tip #2 - Update the Hardware
While I love original hardware, sometimes new drawer and cabinet pulls are the pick-me-up a piece of furniture needs. In fact, I’ve updated the hardware on several pieces in the shop, and loved how it turned out. Updating the hardware on a less expensive piece will also help you achieve a more customized and unique look. Our favorite resources for new hardware are Rejuvenation, Anthropologie, and Schoolhouse.
Tip #3 - Style It
Sometimes a piece of furniture is a beautiful focal point in your home, while other times, it’s a more functional piece that needs a little help in the styling department. Styling a piece can make all the difference in defining the character of a piece and how it fits the rest of your space. Personally, my styling formula for dressing up a piece of furniture often includes a leaning art moment alongside some coffee table books.
While I’m all for taking the time to transform a piece with paint and sanding, I also am a big proponent of small design moves that have a great impact. Whether it’s cleaning up a furniture piece, giving it some new hardware, and/or styling it with some objects and art, these quick and easy moves can make a great impact not just on the furniture piece itself, but also in how it fits and flows with the rest of your home.