How to Restore Old Furniture

Updated July 20, 2017

If you want to save time and money, don't shop for new furniture. Instead, give your old wood furniture a face lift. Once you learn how to restore old furniture, you'll wonder why you didn't attempt it sooner. With the right tools and a little elbow grease, your old furniture will look as good as new in no time. Read on to learn how to restore old furniture.

Choose a location where the restoration will take place. If you can't take your old furniture outdoors, a room with proper ventilation will suffice.

Apply a dust sheet or old newspapers on the ground and place the furniture on top.

Put on rubber gloves and pour the semi-paste stripper into an aluminium can.

Dip the paint brush into the stripper and apply it to the furniture. Work in small sections, as not to get overwhelmed.

Wait approximately 10 minutes, then remove the old finish with a putty knife. Continue with this method until you can see clean wood.

Allow the furniture to dry for several hours, otherwise, the sandpaper will get gunked up from the semi-paste stripper.

Sand the entire surface of your old furniture with the sandpaper. Go with the grain; not against it. Once it has been sanded, wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove dust.

Use a new paint brush to apply gel stain. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for five minutes, then wipe off excess stain with a clean cloth. Allow the furniture to dry for 24 hours.

Apply a finishing top coat to protect your furniture and make it shine.


Many people find that gel stain is easier to use, as it reduces the risk of drips and splashes.


Always use caution when working with chemical stripper. Do not place contents near a heat source; do not smoke. Work in an area that is well-ventilated.

Things You'll Need

  • Old piece of furniture
  • Dust sheet or old newspapers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Semi-paste stripper
  • Aluminum can
  • Two paint brushes
  • Putty knife
  • 100-Grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Gel stain
  • Clean cloth
  • Finishing top coat
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About the Author

Ris Lexington, a New York-based editor, has more than a decade of experience in newspaper, magazine and book publishing. Before becoming a professional writer online in 2007, she served as the editor of a Canadian health and wellness magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in English.