Thrift stores and garage sales are full of budget-friendly finds, but those secondhand scores often need a little TLC. Take a look at how we've transformed common thrift-store finds into statement-making furnishings. These before-and-after makeovers use fresh paint, new fabric, and other cosmetic upgrades to give old pieces a whole new look.
Before: Plain Armoire
With its clean lines and simple form, this TV armoire was an ideal candidate for a furniture makeover. The large, open interior could easily be customized for storing dishware, linens, or shoes. We outfitted the piece with organizers and a modern farmhouse look to create a stylish hub for entertaining essentials.
After: Modern Farmhouse Entertaining Station
Black paint, plaid wallpaper backing, and doors retrofitted with glass panels gave this armoire fresh farmhouse appeal. A three-drawer organizer topped with a new shelf provides storage for napkins, bottle openers, party supplies, and glassware. Installing wineglass holders underneath the shelf makes smart use of otherwise unused space. A basket below (similar to the Better Homes & Gardens Braided Rush Round Baskets, $50, Walmart) houses tablecloths.
Before: Nondescript Dresser
Although it had good bones, the dull finish on this dresser was dragging it down. We painted the entire unit and added dowels to the drawer fronts to add dimension. When choosing a dresser for this makeover, check the construction carefully to ensure it'll still function properly after attaching the dowels.
After: Fluted Dresser Makeover
For this dresser makeover, we started with square wood dowels, cut to size and sanded on all edges. They're attached at evenly spaced intervals using a pin nailer, rather than glue, to keep them perfectly vertical and secure. Coating the entire piece in coral paint highlights the fluted design.
Before: Short Side Table
We scored this low-slung side table for just $12. Adding legs and a shelving unit turned it into a living room standout. A fresh coat of paint disguised the imperfections in the original finish.
After: Stylish Shelving Unit
After attaching legs, we built a custom shelving unit to our desired height. L brackets secure the sides of the shelving unit to the cabinet. A bit of prep work, primer, and green paint transformed the chipped wood finish with a fresh look.
Before: Shapely Yet Drab
If the finish isn't your style, but you love the shape of a piece, a coat of paint and easy embellishments can give it your own spin. This piece featured architectural details that made it too pretty to pass up. For extra flair, we added legs along with a splash of color and pattern.
After: Midcentury Furniture Makeover
Blue paint updates the midcentury paneled door design, while Lucite hardware and squared-off metal legs add contemporary touches. Cement tiles on the top provide a durable surface and a pop of pattern. To eliminate the need for grout, we installed the tiles flush with each other using only adhesive.
Paint Furniture Like a Pro
If you're ready to paint a piece of furniture, there are a few tricks you need to know. Our step-by-step will show you how to paint furniture correctly. These tips will help you achieve smooth color and a durable finish.
Before: Boring Bookshelf
This simple shelving unit provided the perfect starting point for a makeover. Its plain wood finish and bare-bones shape left a lot of room for creativity. We used paint and a clever shelf layout to turn it into an entryway catchall.
After: Customized Storage Center
Creating dividers and shorter shelves made room to store tall boots, bags, dog leashes, and other accessories with ease. The key to this bookcase makeover is to ensure the shelves line up with the bookcase's predrilled holes. White paint on the interior stands out against the navy blue exterior.
Before: Stuck in a Timewarp
This wing chair had an interesting shape but unfortunate upholstery. Updating the fabric was a must to make it usable again. See how we reupholstered this chair to put a modern spin on an antique.
After: Reupholstered Cane Chair
Fresh white paint enhanced the cane panels and the chair's wood frame. Gray-and-white ikat fabric replaced the gold velour. When picking fabric for an upholstery project, pay attention to scale. Because this chair is tall, it easily handles a larger print.
Easy Nightstand Makeover
A furniture makeover doesn't need to be a complete overhaul. See how simple and easy can have a major impact. We used paint to update this plain nightstand with added personality.
Before: Dingy Chair
This vintage chair had a gorgeous silhouette and interesting details. However, its icky upholstery and boring brown finish were begging for an update. Bold paint and fabric added eclectic personality in this impressive before-and-after makeover.
After: Bright Perch
A graphic black-and-white chevron fabric on the cushion put a playful twist on the chair's classic style. Lipstick-red paint on the frame emphasizes its shapely curves and pretty details. The customized chair looks right at home in this wallpapered nook.
Before: Easily Overlooked
The beautiful lines of this buffet were overshadowed by a blah finish. Plus, the ornate hardware made it look fussy, not classic. For this furniture makeover, we used an unexpected paint color to achieve a one-of-a-kind look.
After: Painted Furniture Makeover
Eye-catching color and details make this piece stand out. Prep it by sanding, cleaning, and priming, then coat the dresser with enamel semigloss paint. For the freehand outline, use a small paintbrush dipped in white enamel semigloss paint or try a white paint marker. A steady hand is a must, but you can follow a straightedge or apply painter's tape. Choose decorative areas to outline to show off the dresser's curves. We replaced the intricate hardware with sleek metal pulls and knobs for an extra dose of customization. Finish the look with frames (like this Better Homes & Gardens Gallery Wood Picture Frame, $14, Walmart), vases, and lamps in neutral or complementary colors.
Before: Fussy Desk
This fussy French-style desk called for a makeover. The ornate details gave it a much too dated look. A bold paint color helped bring this piece into the current century.
After: Colorful Desk Update
Bright orange paint minimizes the desk's intricate details. To achieve smooth, long-lasting color, don't skimp on the prep work, including sanding and priming. New hardware and silver details add sparkle. Balance a bold color with a neutral lamp (like this Better Homes & Gardens Diamond Weave Ceramic Table Lamp, $30, Walmart) and chair.
Before: So-So Chair
The beautifully carved frame and great shape drew us to this chair. However, boring brown upholstery wasn't doing it any favors. Fresh fabric and paint helped its good looks shine.
After: Updated Dining Chairs
Two complementary fabrics refreshed this set of dining room chairs, as did a fresh coat of white paint. Using durable vinyl or leather on the fronts ensures longevity and easy clean-up. On the back, a less hardy, but fun fabric adds something a little unexpected.
Reupholstering furniture can be challenging. Before you tackle this type of furniture makeover, consider these tips. Our secrets to success will help you navigate your project.
Before: Entertainment Center
With the advent of flat-screen TVs and digital streaming, the need for bulky TVs, stacks of tapes, and DVDs has also gone by the wayside. These innovations have left imposing entertainment centers collecting dust. But with plenty of built-in storage, these gems can find a new purpose elsewhere.
After: Entryway Organizer
Equip an entertainment center for entryway organization. Remove the doors to create open shelves. If the backing looks worn and flimsy, replace it with a new board. For extra style points, paint the unit in a bright color. Hang a 1x4 inside and attach coat hooks to it, then add a boot tray to catch dirt. Equip shelves with baskets for storing seasonal items, such as scarves, flip-flops, and sports gear. Mark them with tags. Transform a side wall into a message center with dry-erase paint, and hang a wall pocket file for important papers.
Before: Basic Wood Armoire
This roomy armoire was ripe with storage potential. We used a few custom additions and tweaks to turn it into something even better. This before-and-after added so much space for organization.
After: Smart Serving Station
Cutting the doors in half and moving hinges made room for a beverage bar with storage cabinets underneath. Crown molding on top and scrolled molding on the bottom add a touch of class. The new light blue color is calm and relaxing. A divided shelf added to the open top provides bonus storage for dishes, wine glasses (Better Homes & Gardens Clear Flared Red Wine Glasses, $10, Walmart), and books. X shelves in the lower cabinet are perfect for bottles and rolled linens.
Before: Tired Design
This iron headboard was ready for an update. Rather than starting from scratch, we opted to cover it up with an upholstered cover. See how this easy makeover turned out.
After: Easy Bedroom Refresh
Get the Full How-To
An upholstered plywood board softens the look of this old iron headboard. The secret to this project's success is using steel straps to fit snugly around the rails of the iron headboard. Typically used for supporting conduit and pipe, these are a common hardware store supply.
Before: All Worn Out
Don't overlook ragged furniture at thrift stores. Many forlorn pieces are just gems, waiting to be rediscovered. Check out how we updated this tired French armchair, for example.
After: Colorful Chair Makeover
New paint and an upholstery job transformed this chair from blah to beautiful, and strategic trims hide the striped fabric's raw edges. After painting the chair, staple an oval of fabric to the chairback and trim excess fabric. Hot-glue flat braided trim around the fabric oval to hide the staples. Cover the seat with the same fabric, and hot-glue the braided trim around it. Finish with by-the-yard nailhead trim from a fabrics store; it's easier to work with than decorative nails and ensures perfect spacing.
Before: Dismal Dining Chair
Dining room chairs abound at thrift stores. As you shop, don't overlook a piece with a nice structure but unsightly upholstery. Often, the seats can be removed for easy reupholstering.
After: Sunny Furniture Makeover
Learn How to Reupholster Dining Chairs
Yellow paint and fabric brighten this thrifted find. We used a pillow cover with a pretty pattern for the new seat covering. Choose a sturdy-fabric pillow cover slightly larger than the seat. (Ours is a 22-inch cotton twill square.) Remove the seat and wrap the pillow cover around it, then staple it underneath. Reattach the seat to the chair.
- #1. Strip Old Painted Finishes. ...
- #2. Clean Stain from Your Chairs, Dresser or Tables. ...
- #3. Add a Fresh Coat of Spray Paint. ...
- #4. Re-Cover Dining Chairs with a New Cushion. ...
- #5. Refinishing Furniture. ...
- #6. Go For Milk Paint.
Even with the right protective finish, it will eventually become necessary to refinish a wood furniture piece. Over time and with daily use, the finish can wear away in some areas. The good news is you can make old furniture look brand new again with furniture refinishing.How to make old furniture look mid-century modern? ›
To affordably achieve a mid-century modern look, swap out furniture legs with hairpin or peg ones. Shop for reproductions of mid-century pieces at more affordable retailers like Ikea and Target. Use small accents like pillows, blankets, lights, and clocks to get the look.What color bedroom furniture is timeless? ›
A neutral color scheme is the most timeless color palette. I can't think of a more classic and sophisticated color combination than black, charcoal, linen, and white. But some combinations of shades with more color are just as timeless. Blue and white is so trendy right now but it will always be timeless.How do you make old decor look modern? ›
- Set the Design Style and Color Palette. ...
- Replace a Major Focal Point of a Room. ...
- Repaint Just One Wall. ...
- Swap Out Hardware. ...
- Rethink the Fireplace. ...
- Add Temporary Wallpaper. ...
- Switch Out Soft Goods. ...
- Implement Peel-and-Stick Tiles.
For furniture, it's best to use a satin or semigloss finish in either a latex or an oil-based paint. Never leave primer unpainted. If you choose a latex paint, a latex primer is an excellent choice for most uses. It goes on easily and blocks most stains, and it doesn't have the odor of an oil-based primer.What color furniture makes space look bigger? ›
'A light-toned sofa in neutral colors, such as beige, cream, light gray, or white, can create a sense of openness in any room. These soft hues reflect the natural and artificial light that enters the room, making the space look brighter, airier, and more spacious.How can I make my house look expensive decor? ›
- Paint a feature wall. ...
- Go big with wall art. ...
- Redecorate / paint. ...
- Use colour cleverly. ...
- Declutter. ...
- Decorate with candles and mirrors. ...
- Add house plants and flowers.
“Just add a few oversized, overstuffed pillows with different prints, colors and textures to give it some depth and coziness. Think leather, linen, and fur. Also, try draping a lightweight neutral throw blanket over the arm of the sofa.”What is a modern style of furniture called? ›
Contemporary: Contemporary style furniture refers to furniture that is popular today.
Most antique dealers consider an item to be vintage if it is at least 40 years old. So, in the context of this blog date, a vintage item would be made between 1918 and 1978. Even though many vintage items are nostalgic, they are sought after for many reasons besides their age. This includes decorating and collecting.Is vintage furniture making a comeback? ›
The antique furniture market has already been booming in 2023, with homeowners sifting through catalogs, online auction bids, and even TikTok to get their vintage fix.Why do people like mid century modern furniture? ›
Mid-century design combines natural materials with industrial manmade materials. So you can expect to see wood, metal, marble, and glass mixed with plastic, lucite, fiberglass, and vinyl. This combination of materials helps keep the retro style feeling contemporary even today.What makes a piece of furniture mid-century? ›
Mid-Century Modern furniture is characterized by its clean lines, gentle curves, and organic shapes. This style originated mid-20th century, hence its name but thanks to its elegant simplicity and timeless aesthetic, Mid-Century Modern MCM furniture is still highly popular in contemporary interior design.What makes up mid century modern style? ›
Midcentury modern style (also referred to as midmod and MCM) flourished during the mid-20th century when newly affluent post-War families began expanding into America's suburbs. “Midcentury homes are characterized by minimal fuss and ornamentation, along with sleek lines juxtaposed by organic shapes.What makes a vintage look? ›
Low contrast – Over time, prints lose contrast, structure, and details. Their edges become blurred and faded. To make a photo look vintage, you have to decrease the contrast while slightly increasing the brightness to create a haze effect. Noise – All old photos have a high level of noise due to bad cameras and lenses.What style is vintage modern? ›
To put it simply, vintage modern mixes old and new. But the devil is in the details. As for old, patina plays a big role. These rusty industrial pendant lights as well as the metal counter stools and wood ladder bring the vintage; the crisp contemporary kitchen amenities bring the modern.Can you mix furniture colors in living room? ›
While you can easily mix and match the furniture in your living room, everything must have the proper scale to ensure good visual balance. The term scale refers to the proportion of each piece of furniture in relation to the space as a whole.Is it OK to mix and match furniture colors? ›
Mixing and matching furniture styles not only allows you to create a look that is uniquely yours, but also gives you a freedom to constantly evolve and update your look!What is the happiest color for a bedroom? ›
Gremillion explains: Happy colors are bright, warm colors like yellow, orange, pink and red. Pastel colors like peach, light pink or lilac can also have an uplifting effect on your mood. The brighter and lighter a color, the more happy and optimistic it will make you feel.
Choose a color palette.
Traditionally, rooms that go for an elegant look are painted beige or light gray. Cozier rooms opt for darker shades, such as browns or grays leaning towards the darker side of the spectrum. Modern looks are more often than not made of brighter colors.
Shaker doors are a truly classic style, emphasizing craftsmanship and simplicity… making them a timeless choice for your home.How can I make my room look amazing? ›
- 01 of 09. Focus on Color. ...
- 02 of 09. Use Mirrors. ...
- 03 of 09. Add Accessories to Every Room. ...
- 04 of 09. Sprinkle in Some Greenery. ...
- 05 of 09. Embrace Natural Light. ...
- 06 of 09. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment. ...
- 07 of 09. Update Your Tile. ...
- 08 of 09. Add Texture.
- Add paneling to your walls. ...
- Focus on balance in your design. ...
- Add oversized artwork or a gallery wall. ...
- Invest in a marble fireplace. ...
- Maximize the amount of natural light. ...
- Install statement chandeliers. ...
- Don't forget styling. ...
- Don't be afraid of color.
Rugs, pillows, baskets, blankets, furniture, & more. For example mixing a wood coffee table, with a wicker basket, a few different texture pillows, some greenery, a chalkboard, & cozy throw adds so much texture which in turn makes the space so cozy.How do you make a cluttered bedroom look nice? ›
Float any furniture you can: a pair of nightstands or even a series of shelves that make up a bookshelf. "Wall-mounted nightstands or floating shelves have a cleaner, more streamlined feel," the Laurel & Wolf team says, "and they make your space look less cluttered if you do keep a few items on the floor."What will you apply to make the furniture to look better and shinier? ›
Oiling wooden furniture can help to make it shine and enhance its look. By oiling your furniture, you can put off polishing the furniture for a long time.How do you make wood furniture look good? ›
Mix 4 parts water with 1 part vinegar and one part olive oil in a spray bottle and spritz all over your wood furniture. Dry with a clean cloth.How do you make old furniture look shabby chic? ›
You simply dab streaks of clear furniture wax where you want the wood to look distressed. You can use a paintbrush to apply the wax, or cloth, or a small sponge – a kitchen sponge will do – or even your fingers. The wax repels the second layer of paint, letting the base colour show through.How can I modernize my home look? ›
- Keep the essential accessories. ...
- Invest in a smart home device. ...
- Choose natural materials. ...
- Use glass to create space. ...
- Embrace open plan living. ...
- Bring in smart lighting. ...
- Use statement colours. ...
- Remove carpet and opt for floorboards.
Modern home design emphasizes clean lines and geometric shapes. No more are features such as arches, ornate columns, window shutters, or any outlandish ornamentation. In place of these features that at one point spoke of luxury and wealth are simple shapes and intentional asymmetry. The opulence of the past is no more.Should furniture be painted gloss or satin? ›
As a general rule, use satin for interior walls and furniture and semi-gloss for small areas that need highlighting such as cabinets, mantels, stair rails, door and window frames.What paint is best on furniture? ›
What kind of paint is best for furniture? It's always best to use a satin or semi-gloss paint sheen, and you can use a latex or an oil-based paint. With a latex paint like Pro Classic from Sherwin Williams, you can use a latex primer too.What finish looks best on furniture? ›
Lacquer, specifically pre-catalyzed lacquer, is considered by many professional woodworkers to be the best finish for hardwood furniture, in terms of balance between beauty, protective qualities and ease of application and care.How do you make a traditional dresser look modern? ›
- Taper the legs and add white paint for a mid-century look. ...
- Highlight unique shapes with two different stains. ...
- Leverage “faults” (and add a bright color) ...
- Paint it, then add extra sparkle to the drawers. ...
- Do a “make-under” by removing shiny varnish and re-staining natural wood grain. ...
- Combine a bold color with natural wood.
Lay a brightly patterned runner across a wood dresser or table. Opt for bold bedding or wall art in a bedroom outfitted with wood furniture. Table lamps, vases, and planters in a rainbow of colors can also help cheer up dark wood furniture.What makes up mid-century modern style? ›
Midcentury modern style (also referred to as midmod and MCM) flourished during the mid-20th century when newly affluent post-War families began expanding into America's suburbs. “Midcentury homes are characterized by minimal fuss and ornamentation, along with sleek lines juxtaposed by organic shapes.What does modern mid-century furniture look like? ›
Mid-Century Modern furniture is characterized by its clean lines, gentle curves, and organic shapes. This style originated mid-20th century, hence its name but thanks to its elegant simplicity and timeless aesthetic, Mid-Century Modern MCM furniture is still highly popular in contemporary interior design.What is the best color to flip furniture? ›
Beige is a safe color to use when flipping furniture to sell. That is because it goes with so many styles so you aren't ruling anyone out when doing a piece in a beige color. Some other colors like yellow, blue, green, etc. might be more specific and may take a bit longer to sell. What is this?What is the most popular color for bedroom furniture? ›
The most popular color to paint furniture is white. White painted furniture offers a timeless, classic look that will brighten up any room in your home and pairs well with virtually any color scheme. It also looks great with other lighter shades such as cream and beige for an elegant touch.
Forks are placed to the left of the plate, knives and spoons to the right. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate; bread-and-butter plates sit above the forks, to the left of the place setting.How do you modernize an old table and chairs? ›
- Paint. ...
- Change the Light Fixture. ...
- Re-upholster Your Chairs. ...
- Add Upholstered Host Chairs To Your Traditional Dining Room Set. ...
- Purchase A Textured Table Runner. ...
- Put Something Fresh, Like Plants, In Your Dining Space.
- Pick a theme, and commit to it. ...
- Accessorise with trendy stationery and office supplies.
- Add a touch of greenery to bring life to the table. ...
- Make use of empty wall spaces to hang some decor.
- Organise your desk regularly for a clutter-free space.
One way to style your dark wood furniture is to contrast it with light colours. This doesn't have to be a stark black-and-white contrast, but making use of lighter-coloured neutrals is a good way to go. Warm neutrals such as soft greys, stone and beige variants will pair very nicely with dark wood.How can I brighten my house with dark furniture? ›
- Enhance with drapery or accessories. ...
- Let your wall color speak. ...
- Focus on your ceiling color. ...
- Ambient lighting. ...
- Illuminate with natural light. ...
- Embellish the space with artificial foliage. ...
- Dress your shelves to bring some contrast. ...
- Coloring room accessories with bright shades.
Brighten up a dark brown couch.
First, paint walls a pale neutral, then choose artwork, accessories, and accent furniture in lighter or colorful hues to balance the darkness of the furniture. Light gray walls, white trim, and cream-colored accents keep the couch from feeling too heavy.