Fabulous Furniture Makeovers

Uncover the hidden charm of a cast-off piece with just a bit of creative thinking and elbow grease.

By Debra Wittrup


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1/17
Furnish an Entry

    This diamond-in-the-rough chest had a ripped top and rusty casters but a seating area and plenty of storage space beneath the hinged lid that makes it perfect for an entryway.

Furnish an Entry

    Primer, two coats of white paint, a simple cushion, and new casters complete the exterior overhaul. For functional art above, paint an old frame to match the chest, insert a wallpaper sample, and secure branches with Gorilla Glue to create a hat rack.

2/17
Renew an Old Cart

    A dated tea cart was serviceable, but not much to look at.

Renew an Old Cart

    Sand, prime, and paint the cart to make it new again. When dry, use a pencil to sketch a simple design on the cart. Cut scrapbooking paper into small pieces, then use decoupage glue to secure the pieces over the design. Cover the finished motif with two more coats of decoupage glue.

3/17
Slipcover a Tired Ottoman

    This hand-me-down footstool had all the charm of a 1970s rec room. Colorful fabric and furniture feet give the ottoman a new life.

Slipcover a Tired Ottoman

    Revamp a dull ottoman with a fun cover. Cut a circle of fabric for the top and a strip of fabric for the drop (remember to add seam allowances). Stitch covered piping along the top seam of the drop and a gathered ruffle along the bottom. Add five pockets made from contrasting fabric, inserting elastic into the top hem. Slip the cover over the ottoman. Screw painted legs to the bottom of the ottoman.

4/17
Rescue a Beat-Up Dresser

    Nondescript, used, and abused, this dresser was languishing in a thrift store at a rock-bottom price.

Rescue a Beat-Up Dresser

    Give the furniture a dose of character and contemporary styling with paint. Coat the top in a fun color that contrasts with the rest of the piece and add some painted furniture feet. Embellish the drawer fronts with pretty stencils. Remove the small damaged drawers in favor of small lined and labeled baskets. Create shadow boxes from the small drawers, line them with patterned paper, and hang on the wall.

5/17
Refurbish a Chair

    This past-its-prime chair had a scarred finish, dated detail, and lackluster fabric.

Refurbish a Chair

    Fresh paint and fabric give new life to the old chair. Remove fabric, cut away the decorative top, sand, prime, and paint the chair. When dry, add batting to increase loft and recover with updated fabric. Stencil a monogram on the chair back with fabric paint.

6/17
Freshen Up a Bookcase

    Basic and bland, this boring bookcase was functional but hid its potential.

Freshen Up a Bookcase

    Make your bookcase more useful with a drop-down desk and out-of-sight storage. Cut doors to size from Medium Density Fiberboard, then prime and paint the bookcase and doors. When dry, install the bottom door panel with French hinges and add the drop-down panel using hinges and chains. Finish the doors with a new knob and pull.

7/17
New Lamps from Old Stuff

    A used tea tin was ready for the landfill until it got a new lease on life.

New Lamps from Old Stuff

    The tin goes from drab to dynamite when fashioned into a lamp base. Dip a paper towel into crafts paint and dab it all over the tin. Use a dry paper towel to rub off some of the paint, allowing a bit of the original finish to show through. When dry, drill a hole in the center of the lid and another in the back of the tin near the bottom. Install a lamp kit from a home improvement store, following manufacturer's instructions. Top it with a pretty lampshade.

8/17
Salvage a Media Cart

    Unattractive TV carts like this one are cheap thrift shop regulars.

Salvage a Media Cart

    To turn an old castoff into a charming bedside table, start by removing the casters and replacing them with new wooden furniture feet. Prime and paint the cart. Remove the doors and decoupage the fronts with decorative paper. Cut a new back for the cart from -inch plywood and decoupage it with coordinating paper. Add new knobs to the doors and reinstall.

9/17
Repurpose TV Trays

    Dated TV trays -- must-haves in family rooms of the 60s and 70s -- are a dime a dozen at tag sales and thrift stores. The uninspiring printed motifs have little to offer for today's interiors.

Repurpose TV Trays

    Reimagine these former workhorses as modern artwork with trendy silhouettes. After priming and painting the trays to match your decor, print a decorative pattern onto magnetic paper using an ink-jet printer. Trace interesting shapes onto the magnetic paper, cut them out with scissors, and place the designs on the metal trays.

10/17
Remake Your Bed

    A cast-off bed had a decorative silhouette but the finish was dreary and damaged.

Remake Your Bed

    The bed becomes a charming settee when parts are reassembled. Cut the footboard in half vertically to form arms for the settee. Cut a piece of MDF for the seat and a piece for a front rail. Assemble all pieces with wood screws and glue. Sand, prime, and paint the settee. When dry, add nailhead trim. For a cushion, wrap a foam pad cut to size with batting and a throw. Or sew the throw into a cover for a more structured look.

11/17
Convert an Old Vanity

    Deep drawers and charming ornamentation distinguish this vanity, but the finish and form are too dark and dated.

Convert an Old Vanity

    Color and pattern transform the old vanity into a petite desk perfect for a small room. Remove the mirror, sand, prime, and paint the vanity. When dry, cover the drawer fronts and knobs with pretty papers using decoupage glue.

12/17
Transform an Upholstered Chair

    Although this chair was sturdy and well-made, the upholstery and wood finish were worn and shabby.

Transform an Upholstered Chair

    Paint and fabric give this comfy chair a new outlook. First, remove the cushion. Take the chair apart ins this order: inside back, decking, inside arms, outside arms, outside back. Prime and paint the wood parts. Using the old fabric pieces as patterns, cut fabric for each chair part and cover the cushion. Staple fabric to each chair piece and reassemble the chair in reverse order. Add nailhead trim.

13/17
Make Over a Side Table

    This retro table had a nice shape but a not-so-nice finish.

Make Over a Side Table

    With a little paint and fabric, a new character emerges. Prime the table and paint it white. When dry, cut fabric to fit the tabletop plus extra to fold underneath. Set fabric in place and use decoupage medium to adhere it to the surface, smoothing with your fingers to remove air bubbles. Apply several coats of decoupage medium, letting dry between coats. When dry, wrap fabric under table and staple to secure.

14/17
Enliven a Ho-Hum Table

    This table had possibilities, but it was too country for a contemporary interior.

Enliven a Ho-Hum Table

    A simple redo gives the country style a modern edge. Remove the table legs and make a paper pattern for new simple legs. Cut the legs from MDF and attach to the top with screws. Paint the coffee table and, when dry, add an adhesive decal to the top for a flirty finish.

15/17
Dress Up a Side Chair

    An ugly-duckling cane-back chair, separated from its original set, has little potential as is.

Dress Up a Side Chair

    Bring out the chair's inner beauty with a spray of brightly colored paint. Stitch a cheery patterned cushion from two napkins or a tea towel. Embellish the back of the chair with fabric flowers and leaves stitched in place with yarn.

16/17
Remake an Aging Standby

    This old cedar wardrobe had seen better days. Its dark and unadorned facade was bland and featureless.

Remake an Aging Standby

    Get sentimental with your furniture makeover. Create oversize stencils with contact paper by enlarging words or graphics on a computer or trace freehand designs onto contact paper and cut out. Peel off the backing and adhere to furniture base-coated in white. Paint the wardrobe in an earthy tone, let dry, and peel away the contact paper. Drill an oversize allium shape on the doors and fill in the design with backstitched yarn and wool roving.

17/17
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