The Complete Guide To Refurbishing Found Furniture: Part 3

Put A Bird On It!

When I think of DIY and refurbishing, I am always reminded of the popular Portlandia sketch, Put A Bird On It! I’ve watched it dozens of times and somehow it still always makes me laugh. Refurbishing can be as simple as Putting. A. Bird. On.  It. But it can also include a thorough process of staining, painting, and more. Either way, you’ll reap the benefits of your elbow grease investment when you are able to make a profit on your custom items.


Here are four of my favorite project ideas. There were so many great ideas that we couldn't include them all at one time, so stay tuned for Part 4!


painted stool

One of the most widely used refurbishing tricks is a fresh coat of paint. The great thing about this is, your piece of furniture gets to act as your canvas. You can choose from hundreds of colors and styles of paint to make an ordinary item a one of a kind original! Once you’ve stripped your furniture of any existing paints, stains, or varnishes you can start the process of painting and giving your piece a second life. You can choose to go more traditional and give the item several coats of one color to give it a crisp and fresh appeal or you can choose to create an intricate design with every color of the rainbow. The only limit is your imagination, so before you start your paint job, get creative and decide what the end product should look like. If you are planning on creating an elaborate design, you may want to practice before you start painting on the actual piece.


wood stainingStaining your wood furniture allows the natural beauty of the wood grain to be the focal point of the piece, while still giving your customer a gorgeous finished product.  Before you begin the process of staining, you’ll need to strip any existing paints and stains and repair any other cosmetic damage such as cracks, discolorations, dents, and broken pieces. The staining process can be complicated, and may take a longer amount of time than other refurbishing methods, but you’ll end up with an item that has mass appeal and you can sell almost anywhere.

Adding/Replacing Glass

adding replacing panes of glass

I got this idea while browsing for inspiration on Etsy.  I saw tons of hutches, china cabinets, dressers, armoires, bookcases, and media consoles that contained standard glass as part of the design in one aspect or another. I also saw an abundance of display pieces where there were, or had once been glass display doors. One way to give new life to an item would be to replace missing glass doors such as these. Another option would be to add glass backing to hutches and china cabinets, or to replace the glass currently being used to give the item an updated look. But the fun part of this project is that you so many glass options to choose from. Not only can you add standard glass doors, but etched, beveled, and mirrored glass are very popular display options as well. You can also use tinted or colored glass to create something a bit more unique. Textured glass options are and endless and will help to create something truly one of a kind, my favorite is bubbled glass. For something extra fancy, use stained glass! With the DIY crowd it also popular to repurpose old mirrors, window panes, and medicine cabinets, so don’t overlook these items if you stumble across them in your next locker!

Replacing Hardware

heart handle

Adding new hardware to desks, dressers, end tables, hutches and more is a great way to give these items a quick and affordable makeover. You’ll simply remove the old pulls and other hardware and then pick and add new hardware. Typically all you’ll need to complete this project is a screwdriver. I have an affinity for unique hardware that gives a sense of humor to the proceedings.  Not only will this make your DIY project more fun for you, but hopefully distinctive pulls will help to increase the value of your item when you eventually sell it. Unless you fall in love with it and have to keep it for yourself!

Image Credits:

Painted Furniture:

Stained Wood:

Stained Glass:

Drawer Pull:




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