8 Before & After Ideas to Restore Your Old Furniture

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A collection of carefully chosen 8 before & after furniture makeover projects from around the world to inspire you before you stash that old cabinet. Go repaint.
8 Before & After Ideas to Restore Your Old Furniture
The genesis of this post is a wooden cabinet/dresser lying outside in my garage. This was among the first purchases for our first home. It goes without saying that the cabinet has withstood several moves across cities. With the best times behind it, I wanted to sell the cabinet when we were moving in to this new place. And I did sell it two times on Quikr. Each time they returned it due to some technical glitch of not being able to deliver to the buyer.
I took it as Universe’s way of telling me, this piece was meant to be with me. So I used the cabinet to store auto cleaning supplies in the garage. But, honestly, it is an eyesore at the entrance of the house and some kind of face lift can do it a world of good.
That’s when I started collating ideas of how to give a new lease of life to this piece of old furniture. I’m so glad I’m doing this. The ideas on Pinterest of before/after furniture makeover projects are overwhelming me. How creative are people. This is how the cabinet looks after getting a fresh lease of paint and decoupaging.
I am sure you all have some chair, cabinet, stool, sitting in a corner that has scratches, broken hardware, and signs of wear and tear. Spare some thought to what you can do with it. Here are a handful of ideas from hundreds out there to restore old furniture : stenciling, painting, geometric patterns, decoupaging, inlay. In this post, I present just 8 ideas that appealed to me the most.


Painted dresser: Before picture of a dresser facelift / makeover

after picture: dramatic facelift of a chest of drawers

The Painted Hive is a goldmine of refurbished furniture projects. Their face lifts are dramatic with the after bearing no semblance to its before counterpart. But, this one is my favorite of all their projects. As you can see the chest of drawers not only got a fresh coat of paint, but the elevation details are mind blowing.


Before picture of a mid century dresser before its gets a complete makeover

the after picture of a mid century dresser

Yet another project from the Painted Hive that promises to leave you spellbound.


Geometric patterns on a dresser. Before and after picture of a painted dresser.

Source: unknown

The intersection of triangles in an array of blues makes for a scintillating transformation of this dresser. I couldn’t find more details of this project. But, it is clear from a comparison of the before-after that the renovator went to great lengths to add legs leaving no traces of its humble, drab past. Retaining stains of wood was a clever thing to do. the modern appeal comes from the geometric patterns.

If you are not great at drawing free hand, like me, stick to geometric patterns. These are easy to achieve and require little skill. All you need is good tape to cover the areas so that the areas you are filling with one color does not bleed into the adjacent areas.


painted cabinet

I couldn’t find the before picture for this one. Seeing this cabinet in its earlier avatar would have truly elevated its present beauty to another level. I’ve had this picture saved on my Instagram feed for months now making a mental note if I ever paint a cabinet, I would refer to this one. Now, when the day has come, my hands are trembling. But, for those of you who are good at free hand, do give this one a try. It’s a stunner for many reasons: the perfect white backdrop makes the vivid flowers and leaves stand out.


Ikea dresser gets a neon makeover

Every room deserves one accent piece in that eye-popping colour. When done right, it can be a winner. This makeover project on How to Nest for Less demonstrates that neons need not be an intimidating choice. Infact, the flash of pink adds a nice feminine touch to the dull IKEA dresser. By replacing the knobs with fancy pulls that look like drop earrings, it reinforces the feminine touch. Love it.


 a geometric makeover to a dresser

Like The Painted Hive, The Weathered Door is another great resource for ideas to refurbish furniture. What I like about this piece is the appreciation of the wood stains. When you are working elm, teak, or oak, it would be wonderful to show of the original stains of these great quality wood. After all, we are not talking about laminate or ply here. By bringing in hints of completing colors, while retaining a majority of the original wood color, the transformation is nothing short of brilliant.


This is another exemplary illustration of how to keep it simple from The Weathered Door. The one thing I notice often is white is a preferred color for repainting furniture, perhaps because it is safe with less room for going wrong. In this case, too, there are no enhancements to the structure or the hardware. By painting the front face in white, the after ensures it bears no resemblance to its previous version.



the before picture of a dresserfree hand painting This piece hits closer home because this is the colour I had shortlisted at the paint shop. But I doubted if the blue would do it, or if I needed another colour to offset the monotony. a few ideas I was toying with where some hand written notes on the top, decal, geometric patterns, or decoupage of posters on the sides. But the simplicity of what Gilly of Colour Saturated Life  has done to this dresser convinces me to go with a decal. The talented Gilly free handed the patterns to make it a stunner. I will, however, buy a simple wall decal, and emboss the design on the top.

Here is another pattern you may like.

furniture stenciling

I’m positive you will be surprised what a can of paint and new hardware can do to a cabinet. Time to get inspired by these before/after projects. I will do a post next week of how my cabinet looks after the repainting. In the meantime, tell me which one among these 8 is your favorite. 
Cover IC: Steve Johnson

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