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!