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Refreshing Your Inherited Furniture

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When you get an old piece of furniture from a friend or a relative or some other source, it may not be in the best condition. Fortunately, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals to clean, refinish or refresh it for you in any way that you see fit. On the other hand, you can also DIY the refreshing process. Let’s check out how.

The Details

  1. History of the furniture piece – Before you even decide on refreshing the furniture, you need to know about its history. If the chair, lounge, or table came from an old friend or family, you may be able to accurately trace its honest history. If your family or friend is giving you away the furniture for free, they won’t try to be sneaky about its history. You’ll be able to know about the original cost of the furniture, its age, quality and the kind of usage it has seen over the years.

On the other hand, if the piece of furniture has been bought on eBay or picked up from a yard sale for dirt cheap, tracing its history is impossible. You need to take everything that the previous owner said to you about the furniture piece with a pinch of salt. No one would like to tell you about the undignified activities that have taken place on the furniture. In that case, you need to go all out and clean up the furniture before you can refresh it.

  1. Present condition – If the old piece of furniture belonged to a smoker, you can bet that the fabric, lining, and cushion on the furniture have absorbed a substantial amount of cigarette smoke. That’s not all. If the frame had too many cracks or was made out of very hollow wood, the smell may have penetrated into the frame as well. In that case, getting rid of the smell may be impossible.

On the other hand, if the furniture has spent a lot of time in a garage, you may have a mold problem. Garages and basements have infamous levels of humidity that encourage mold growth on the furniture and a musty smell. Mold can grow on all kinds of organic matter. From the wood on the furniture to the cotton lining. If the humidity levels are right and the temperature is around 50 degrees with a lack of sunlight, mold can grow pretty easily.

That’s why it’s important to inspect the furniture for both mold growth and cigarette smell. Either way, you have to take drastic cleaning measures to get rid of the mold and cigarette smell. That means stripping down the frame, treating the wood, and rebuilding the furniture. If it’s a sturdy piece of furniture or even an antique, then spending the time and money is going to be worth it.

In the worst-case scenario, you may get furniture that has been sitting around without maintenance for years and may have been infected by pests. If the pest infestation is deep into the wood frame, the furniture is useless and you’re better off throwing it away.

  1. Clean – If the furniture piece has been lightly stained or just absorbed a lot of dust, you can clean it easily. You can start with a vacuum and then dust out the furniture slowly. If there’s surface mold, scraping it off and leaving the furniture piece out in the sun for a while may get the job done. However, deep cleaning the furniture yourself may not deliver the best results and you may even damage the furniture if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s best to hire a professional for the job.
  1. Repurpose or relocate – After cleaning the furniture, you’re lucky if it matches one of your room decors. For instance, if you get a mid-century style chair and have a room decor inspired by that era, you can simply clean it and place it in the room. Even if the furniture piece doesn’t belong there, it’s worth changing the room decor to fit a gorgeous antique chair.

However, if the furniture doesn’t have a rich history and doesn’t look too good, you’re better off relocating or repurposing the furniture piece into something else. For instance, a dining chair can become an amazing desk chair with the right pair of cushions and a parlor loveseat can be used as a banquette bench. You don’t even need to keep set furniture pieces together. The bed of a bedroom suit can go to the guest room and the chest can stay in your bedroom. You just need to reimagine uses for the old piece.

  1. Refinishing or repainting – A simple refinishing job or a new layer of paint can breathe new life into the old piece of inherited furniture and completely transform its look. For instance, if you have an old cabinet that looks dull with all the old polish shaved off by time, a new layer of bright paint can entirely change the look and make the furniture piece belong in your home. You can also strip off the old finish and use a darker or lighter modern finish. 
  1. Change legs, hardware, and reupholster – Another way of refreshing the old piece of furniture is to tweak it just right and change what’s necessary to make it look unique and modern. For instance, you can reupholster the old piece of furniture with modern pastel colors, change the knobs with sleek and slim handles, or just change the legs of a furniture piece. The choices are up to you and your creative imagination.


You may not have asked for that piece of inherited furniture. However, if it has structural strength and the wood hasn’t gone bad, it would be a waste to throw it away. It can also be worth a lot of money if it’s antique furniture that can be restored to its former glory. Either way, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire professionals to refresh it for you.

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