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The Magic of Furniture Revival: What It Takes to Transform Your Vintage Pieces Of Furniture

How and Why Revive Vintage furniture

Furniture revival is a process that breathes new life into old, worn, or outdated pieces of furniture. There are several steps to transform these pieces into refreshed, functional, and aesthetically pleasing items. Here's a detailed explanation of what this process typically involves:

1. Assessment:

Examine the piece to determine its current condition and potential for revival. Look for structural integrity, quality of materials, and any damage or wear before transforming vintage furniture

vintage linen cabinet before transformation

2. Cleaning:

Surface Cleaning: We thoroughly clean the furniture to remove dirt, grime, and old finishes. Using appropriate cleaning agents helps prior us to stripping the finish or creating a key after sanding if painting

3. Repairing:

Structural Repairs: We fix broken or weak furniture parts, such as wobbly legs, cracked frames, or loose joints; this might involve gluing, clamping, or remaking the joints either using tongue and grove, mortice and tenon, dowel joints

Surface Repairs: We then address any surface damage like scratches, dents, or gouges; this can involve sanding, filling in gaps or cracks with wood filler, and smoothing out rough areas.

4. Refinishing:

Stripping Old Finish: Remove old paint, varnish, or stain using chemical strippers or sandpaper; this prepares the surface for a new finish.

Staining: we would use a new stain, lime or paint wash to enhance the wood's natural beauty or give the piece a fresh look. (sometimes a stain isn't required for a more rustic look)

Sealing: Protect the new finish with a sealant such as a varnish, lacquer, or polyurethane to ensure durability and acquired sheen; everyone tastes different.

We transformed this tired Utility Linen Cupboard into two different styles. The second image was with lime wash, and the third image was refinished in chalk paint and sealed with varnish

Painting:  We use an undercoat colour matched to the topcoat and finish with two to three topcoats, which might be necessary to achieve the desired colour and finish.

This dresser with ill-fitting doors which wouldn't close was transformed and updated to complement our customer's new decor scheme

5. Reupholstering:

We outsource our upholstery to a local lady if your dining chairs require updating. Choose an upholstery fabric you like, order some samples, and we can help you choose the best colour and design for your room. Here are some places to look -

Low woods Furnishings

We stripped back the varnish and stain, refinished with a light oak stain and varnish, and outsourced the upholstery to a local upholster

6. Hardware:

Refurbishing: Where possible, depending on the style and age of the vintage or antique piece of furniture, we prefer to clean and polish metal parts to restore their shine and remove any tarnish, but we like to age patina the story these hardware holds. Refurbishing the original can preserve its authenticity.

Apply Wise Owl Furniture Salve with a soft brush and lightly rub with fine-grade wire wool wipe with a lint-free cloth (an old t-shirt will do it)

Replacing: New hardware can modernise the piece of furniture, and we share some great places to source cost-effective replacements without losing the quality. When replacing with new hardware, new holes may need to be drilled and relocated, and the old hold filled and sanded back smoothly.

Our customer wanted us to change the handles for cup handles when we transformed this dressing table into a vintage vanity unit. We will refurbish the existing drop handles and use them on another piece. Nothing goes to waste here. These handles are from French Furniture fittings. The link below

Places we look to buy hardware shared below;

7. Customisation:

Personal Touches: Add custom elements to make the piece unique, such as decorative painting, stencilling, decoupage, gilding or adding trim and moulding.

When transforming this dressing table into a bathroom vanity unit, we used the art of decoupage and sealed the paper with varnish. As an extra precaution to help prevent the paper from lifting in the bathroom, we added vintage moulding on top.

Functional Enhancements: Modify the furniture to suit your needs better, such as adding shelves, changing the height, or reconfiguring the layout.

8. Final Inspection:

Quality Check: We ensure all repairs and refinements are secure and that the finish is smooth and even. Test the functionality of any moving parts like drawers or hinges.

Detailing: Use masking tape or fine cutting if defining between two colours on a piece of furniture, and replace protective pads to the feet if, especially if some pads are missing.

Benefits of Furniture Revival:

Sustainability: Reviving old furniture reduces waste and the demand for new resources, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Cost-Effectiveness: Restoring existing pieces can be more economical than purchasing new furniture, especially high-quality or custom items.

Uniqueness: Updated furniture often has a unique character and story, offering a distinctive touch to your home decor.

Preservation: The process can preserve valuable antiques and heirlooms, maintaining their historical and sentimental value.

Furniture revival is both an art and a science, requiring a blend of creativity, craftsmanship, and technical skill. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional restorer, the process can be immensely rewarding, resulting in beautiful, functional pieces that are uniquely yours.

If you have a tired-looking piece of furniture you would like updating, let us help you update or restore it by sending us photos of your piece or pieces of furniture, a location, your full name, and any thoughts on what you would like, and we will send you a quote. For a quote, would you like your piece of furniture fully painted inside and out, in one or two colours or painted which part of the furniture, i.e. the top; if it is a sideboard, would you like the wood refinished? You don't need to worry about colours at this stage; we can advise you on colours and customisations when we collect your furniture. If you are further away, we offer a video call to look at your room and advise you on what we think would work best for you if you decide to proceed with our quote. Up to 40 miles away, we can collect your furniture ourselves with our purpose-bought horse box that holds large pieces of furniture. We can arrange collection and delivery via a regular courier if you are further away.

If you would like to do it yourself, join our online course for beginners ' Beginner's guide to refinishing Furniture '


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