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  • Writer's pictureThe Jennifer Jones Team

No Need to Buy New Furniture! Repurpose & Refinish to Create Your Own Beautiful & Unique Pieces!

You are online shopping or scrolling through social media when you come across a stunning piece of furniture that catches your eye. It is high caliber wood, with a timeless design and beautiful colours that fit with your decor perfectly; it would be the perfect addition to your home. You check the advertised price and your mouth drops: not today!

In a market saturated with inferior materials and “fast-fashion” items, having a quality piece of furniture is highly desirable. Unfortunately, the cost of such pieces can be discouraging, and the well-priced ones are not to your taste. So what to do?

Do it yourself of course!

The current trend of repurposing and refinishing older, outdated furniture items is HOT! At first glance, however, this can seem like a daunting and difficult task. The following is a simple 5 step break down so you can create a beautiful and unique piece that will stand the test of time in your home:

1) Source your piece:

○ Your great-grandmother’s table that’s been sitting in your basement for years because you can’t stand the thought of getting rid of it is a great place to start! If you don’t have one of those, looking through social media is a fantastic way to find deals on those sturdy, traditional pieces that people can’t seem to give away. They might even pay you to remove it!

2) Clean:

○ Nothing good ever starts without a thorough scrub! Make sure there isn’t any dirt or sticky substances on the surface. Wipe down with a cloth and a mixture of soap and water. Rinse with a damp sponge and dry with a micro-fibre cloth.

3) Remove Old Finish:

Sandpaper: Sand first with coarse sandpaper to strip the finish off (until surface is smooth and most of the shine is gone); next, use a medium grit to continue working on any patches; finally, use a fine grit to remove any finish that remains and smooth rough patches.

TIP: Sanding by hand can be labour intensive. If your piece is large enough, consider renting a power sander.

Chemical stripper:

Ensure your safety by using a chemical stripper in a well-ventilated area, wearing rubber gloves and eye protection. Apply a thick layer to an area only large enough you can complete before it dries completely, allow to sit for manufacturer recommended time, then test with a putty knife: if it easily cuts through varnish, you’re ready! Scrape off as much as you can with the putty knife, using steel wool soaked in the stripper to remove stubborn spots. Once finish is removed, follow directions for cleaning the stripper off the wood; allow to dry. Sand to smooth wood surface.

4) Seal:

○ Apply a generous amount of wood sealer and wipe away excess with a clean cloth. Once dry, sand again to smooth the surface and wipe away wood dust.

5) Stain or paint:

○ The best part! Select a colour (or colours!) that compliments your decor, your personality, and create a statement piece! Apply with a paintbrush, let dry and apply another layer if desired.

6) Apply finish:

○ Protect your labour of love by applying a wood finish with a paintbrush, let dry and apply another if needed.

TIP: Choose a clear finish if you chose to paint; this will let those colours pop!

Whether you’re looking to refresh a family heirloom to fit your style or want to introduce a unique, lasting piece into your home, refinishing furniture is an amazing way of breathing new life into an otherwise outdated piece on a budget!

Written by Janet Stewart (

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