How to Make Hand-Me-Down Decorations and Furniture Seem New!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Furniture and decorations from past generations are filled with memories. They can be remembrances of yesteryear, a reflection on how one’s grandparents lived or even a direct link to one’s past. Often, these mementos are given from one generation to the next as a hand-me-down. However, no matter how beautiful or personally significant these pieces may be, they usually need a bit of cleaning to bring out the best in them. Other times, they need new life breathed into them by way of a complete makeover. Even for those who are creatively challenged, there are certainly numerous ways to make hand-me-down decorations and furniture seem like new.

Clean It

Sometimes, all that a decoration or piece of furniture needs is a deep cleaning. Depending on the item’s size, age and materials, this may be a project for a professional, or the individual may tackle it. Products typically found in most households make excellent cleaners.

 White vinegar is a cheap and natural cleaning product. It can remove hard water stains, built-up dirt and more. Its acidity is excellent for removing sticky residue from surfaces and for removing food and drink stains from carpeting. In addition, it is non-toxic.
 Baking soda is also non-toxic and is wonderful for removing odors from furniture and rugs. Mixed as a thick paste with water, it can be used to clean tarnish from silver.
 Rubbing alcohol makes glass extremely shiny. It is excellent on mirrors and windows.

Paint or Refinish It

Some hand-me-down furnishings are in great shape, without dents or nicks, but need an updated color or some loving attention where the finish is becoming worn. This is where painting and refinishing can work wonders. One does not have to be a professional to do this sort of project.

Of course, refinishing is a bit more work than painting. Most likely, the piece will need to be stripped and sanded before two coats of varnish and a coat of polyurethane can be applied. Painting is a more forgiving and easier process. Painting can also be a creative process for those who are interested in stenciling a design on the piece. If the piece of furniture to be refinished does have some deeper scratches or gouges, wood putty is the perfect filler. Finally, to make the piece feel truly new, one could add new drawer pulls or other hardware depending on what type of furniture it is.

Reupholster It

Many older furnishing were made in beautiful shapes and sizes. However, the upholstery may be completely outdated or even worn out. This is another project that may be best tackled by a professional, particularly if the chair, sofa, pillow or headboard is quite large or is a unique shape. On the other hand, many individuals feel that with the online tutorials and helpful do-it-yourself books available at libraries today, this is a project that they can tackle themselves.

If this is a project that one chooses to do himself, there are a couple points of which he should be aware. First, he should wear a mask over his mouth and nose to protect his lungs from dust and other fibers as he removes the old upholstery. Second, this is the perfect time to replace the foam padding and batting with new materials as well.

Repurpose It

Some people receive hand-me-down decorations or furnishings that they love but for which they have no use. Repurposing these items can give them new life. The options here are as limitless as one’s imagination; however, a few ideas are listed below.

 A roll-top desk can make a fabulous gardening work station with cubby holes for seed packets and drawers for tools. The surface can be used for potting plants.
 A dresser can be placed in an entryway. The drawers corral hats and gloves while the surface provides a space for mail and keys.
 An old vase can become a candle holder, a receptacle for bath salts or a kitchen utensil holder.

A hand-me-down decoration or furnishing does not have to stay locked into a era. Instead, it can become something new by using one of these techniques. This way, memories can be preserved for years to come.

Author Bio
George Dennis is president of King Shade and Window, a home improvement company that helps customers compare replacement window and roller shade prices for all windows. Find the perfect windows to allow for pot gardening inside your home, apartment, or condo. Don't let a lack of yard space paralyze the learning experience gained with growing your own produce.


Barbara Christensen said...

Love this. It's one of my favorite things to do, and once you've made it - it becomes a part of your family. I had a horrible old dresser and I gave it to a friend. She took the side doors off, sanded, painted it white and added a diaper changing station the top and it was AMAZING in her sons room.

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