How to Spruce Up Old Furniture

Unless you have taken the Shabby Chic decor to a new level, you might want to spruce up your old furniture in your home. Evaluate the condition of your furniture to determine if the piece needs a good cleaning, some polishing, refurbishing or a total makeover.

Wood Furniture

Wood furniture which is in decent shape needs to be cleaned. For wood surfaces, Murphy Oil Soap Spray with Orange Oil is useful for cleaning wood trim on furniture, or small tables. For small nicks or scratches, rub in some liquid wax stick made for sprucing up wood furniture.

For wood furniture which as seen better days on its finish, lightly sand it down, fill any holes with wood putty and secure any loose pieces. Some pieces may also need to be stripped with paint stripper. Varnish or paint the piece and when its dry, add new non-scuff adhesive circles to the bottom.

For chairs with removable cushions, remove the cushion and add new fabric, using a staple gun to attach the fabric to the bottom. Adding cushions to wooden chairs is another way to spruce them up. If you cannot find chair cushions you like and you don’t sew, purchase any discount or cheap cushions and place them inside trimmed pillowcases.


Following the upholstery instructions for cleaning your specific fabric, and spot shampoo with a light detergent to remove any stains. Secure or replace any wobbly couch legs. When your upholstery has suffered from pets and kids, or too many cocktail parties, but the furniture is still solid and comfortable, your best solution is a fitted slipcover. The beauty of a slipcover is that it makes it easy to not only spruce up your old furniture, but you can also change the room’s decor. Slipcovers are washable and it’s easy to keep the room looking spiffy and ready for drop-in company.

Metal Furniture

Metal furniture can be spruced up in a jiffy with some metal furniture spray paint. You need an outdoor space, a non-rainy day and a couple of hours of drying time. Turn any metal shelves from drab to fab with pewter or silver paint, and give new life to any metal tables or TV stands.


Spruce up desktops in a home office or the kids room by lining the drawers with a colorful, patterned contact paper. A sheet of contact paper can also be placed on top of the desk. Try a strip first, as some comes off more easily than others.

Kitchen and Dining Tables

Once you’ve cleaned, polished and repaired any tables, particularly dining tables, keep a thick table mat on the table, underneath a tablecloth to keep it from being damaged from water stains or pots and pans if you bring those to the dining table.