Thursday, July 26, 2007

Live Well On Less: Reviving Furniture

Used wooden furniture is the frugal home's best friend. Here are a few easy ways to revive old furniture with a minimum of work and expense:

Clean it well. Try Murphy's Oil soap, Dawn detergent, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for mystery spots. Hose in the yard if necessary!

Wax wood furniture for a subtle glow. Many fine antique shops use Briwax to brighten patina.

Mix one part white paint and one part water and apply with a rag. Rub off as much as you desire for a translucent glaze similar to Swedish furniture.

Use soft greens for a natural look. Consider painting the interior of bookcases or cabinets a contrasting color.
To blend varying wood tones in one room, don't strip and stain all your furniture. Simply wipe a light wood piece with a darker stain like Walnut for a two-toned, French Country effect. This works best on furniture with details, molding, or carving.

Unite mismatched furniture with soft black paint. You will find the "antique black" finish in Pottery Barn catalogs, but the look is timeless.

Rub the edges of a painted finish for a subtle contrast.
Move a tired piece of furniture to a different room or an unexpected function. Cover with vintage linen or a square of burlap.

Add whimsy and color with acrylic craft paints (.97 cents at Walmart) protected with polyurethane.
Good colors for painted furniture include shades of white or cream, antique black, and soft greens.



New to Like Merchant Ships? Here are all the lessons in our Live Well On Less week of study!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith,

I have been following your blog for a few weeks now, and I just had to tell you that I LOVE this series of posts! Usually articles on budget decorating are either ridiculously complicated or they assume you are a college student. But for real families who want a home that is comfortable and inviting without breaking the bank, THIS is something I can follow. Thanks so much for all the helpful suggestions.

Roslyn

Kathleen Grace said...

Love all the suggestions and the links you provide on this blog! Thank you for the time and thought yuo put into what you share. It is a blessing each day :>)

Gena said...

Meredith - would you mind sharing your favorite shade of black paint? I have used Ralph Lauren black, but do you use satin, gloss, flat? I'm about to paint some more furniture and I'd love to know. I need help!

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have used Old English scratch cover furniture oil many many times to help a piece of 2nd hand furniture. It is easy to do and not expensive. I can buy it at Walmart for less than $3.00......I also love to buy older pieces of furnitre and fix them up to be what I want them to be. I have a chair now, the one I am sitting in as I type this, that is going to get it's third re-cover. I love this chair. For more than 30 years I have never found another as comfy for me. Roxie

Donna said...

Sometimes I wish that more people would realize that a single income can be enough for a family to live on...especially when creativity and a diy attitude is involved. You illustrate this lifestyle so well!

Anna said...

Meredith, you rock!

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Just popping in to say what a marvelous job I think you are doing on this series. I know that it's a lot of work to prepare and post, but you are doing a terrific job of sharing your great information.