How to Revamp Old Furniture

Updated April 17, 2017

Old furniture can be revamped with a few simple structural and cosmetic repairs. Some old furniture is made from wood, some leather or vinyl, and some old furniture is fully upholstered. Whatever the material, it is easy to revamp old furniture to make it look like new or to give the furniture an updated look for aesthetic appeal.

Put old newspaper around wood furniture on the floor. Open up windows for proper ventilation. Put on cotton garden gloves, to protect hands from splinters, and a dust mask. Take 80 grit sandpaper and sand wood furniture. Remove wood dust with a clean paint brush.

Take wood glue and repair any chips or damaged sections of the old wood furniture. Use wood filler to seal in large gouges or splits. Let both the glue and filler dry. Take 20 grit sandpaper and go over the repaired sections lightly, sanding in the direction of the grain. Remove wood dust.

Take a wood stain or latex enamel paint and paint the furniture with a clean paint brush. Paint two coats, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. Seal with a clear, waterproof varnish.

Clean leather furniture with leather furniture cleaner. Take a dry cloth and place a generous amount of leather cleaner onto the cloth. Rub the cloth onto the leather furniture in a circular motion. Make sure to remove all the cleaner with a second cloth or clean rag.

Check the leather for rips or holes. Take a leather patch kit and follow directions within the kit for making repairs to leather.

Use leather conditioner and a soft clean cloth after repairs have been made. Wipe in a circular motion. Remove excess conditioner with a clean rag.

Clean vinyl furniture in the same way as leather, only use a vinyl cleaner and conditioner. Vinyl is a porous material, just like leather, but a form of plastic and will need a cleaner and conditioner made specifically for vinyl. Use a vinyl repair patch kit and follow directions.

Revamp upholstered furniture by replacing old fabric with new fabric. Take a tape measure and measure the furniture. Write down measurements. Go to a fabric supply store and pick out several yards of fabric in the pattern of your choice. Bring measurements with you and the total number of furniture pieces that will be reupholstered. Ask a sales assistant for help in determining the amount of yards needed of fabric.

Remove the old fabric and old staples with needle nose pliers. Use the old upholstery fabric as a blueprint for the new fabric. Lay the old fabric on top of the new fabric and cut the new fabric in the same size as the old fabric. Use upholstery scissors.

Lay the new fabric over the furniture and use a staple gun to connect the fabric to the frame of the furniture. For chairs and sofas, start at the back and pull up tight on the fabric. Bring fabric over and staple as you work down and into the corners. Do the arms last. Trim off excess material and staple the remainder in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Old newspaper
  • Cotton garden gloves
  • Dust mask
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Wood glue
  • Wood filler
  • 20 grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Latex enamel paint
  • Varnish
  • Leather furniture cleaner
  • Dry cloth
  • Leather patch kit
  • Leather conditioner
  • Soft clean cloth
  • Vinyl cleaner
  • Vinyl conditioner
  • Vinyl repair patch kit
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Upholstery scissors
  • Staple gun
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About the Author

Linda Stamberger began writing professionally in 1994, as an entertainment reporter for "Good Times Magazine." She has written online copy for The Volusia Community website and is the author of "Antiquing in Florida." Stamberger studied creative writing at Southampton College, where she won a partial writing scholarship.