Guide to Restoring Furniture

Restoring worn-out or damaged furniture to its former glory is a satisfying endeavor that results in an attractive addition to your home decor. Keep the following beginners' tips in mind for rejuvenating furniture. 

Determine value
Before you take the time to restore a piece of furniture, it’s advisable to find out how much the piece is worth, which will help you determine if it’s worth saving. Have an accredited, certified antique appraiser look at the piece or consult with an online appraisal service that enables you to research the value of furniture.
Set a budget
Keeping in mind how much the piece of furniture is worth, set a budget as to how much money and time you’ll invest in restoring it. While you want to do your best with the restoration, you don’t want to overdo it and spend more money than it is worth. If you really like the piece and simply want to restore it, however, then go ahead and do so without concerning yourself with the cost.
CleanYour first task is to do a thorough cleaning of the piece of furniture. Tools you will need for this task include a soft cloth or bristled brush and a small amount of oil-based commercial wood cleaner scrub. Give the furniture a thorough cleaning, making sure to clean out every crack and crevice.

If you must strip away paint or varnish, you can sand it off or use a stripper and solvents. Do these tasks in a well-ventilated area, and wear a protective mask, rubber gloves and long sleeves. When removing paint, keep in mind that it may contain lead. If you suspect that a piece of furniture contains lead, protect yourself by having the piece professionally stripped.
Check the furniture for stability. Are there loose handles on drawers? Loose legs? Secure all of the unstable parts by screwing, nailing or gluing them. If you use glue, let it dry thoroughly before working on the piece of furniture. If there are rough sections in the wood, sand them with a 100- to 120-grit sandpaper, cleaning the surface well with tack cloth afterward.
• Refinish
Apply a thin coating of stain to a section of the furniture in your desired color and see how it looks. If you’re pleased with the look, apply the stain to the entire piece of furniture, letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping off excess. Repeat the process until you have the color and shade that you desire. Next, apply a sanding sealer, and sand the piece with a 220-grit sandpaper. Finish by applying polyurethane, lacquer or varnish to seal in the color and make the piece of furniture look brand new.

Restoring old furniture for your home is a fun and rewarding activity that brings with it the added benefit of producing eye-catching focal points for your d├ęcor.