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The Home Depot

Unconventional Ideas to Refinish Furniture

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Living Room > Unconventional Ideas to Refinish Furniture
Unconventional Ideas to Refinish Furniture

A paintbrush and a few different colors of paint can help you create imaginative and innovative pieces of furniture. What was once a dull table or chair can come alive with vibrant colors and finishes using simple and elegant painting techniques. Embrace the extraordinary with an eye for the exceptional with fun furniture refinishing projects.


Instead of ho-hum colors and boring finishing techniques, choose unconventional ideas to refinish furniture. The results promise to be captivating and striking – just the showy finish you want for your furniture pieces.

  1. 1.Distressing

    Although it may seem strange or backwards, the art of distressing furniture can turn a bland and boring piece into something with character and personality. Distressing furniture is the art of adding dings, blemishes and artful wear to your pieces, making them look well used and well loved. Start with a base coat of paint over the entire piece, allowing it to dry completely. Add a second coat of paint over the base coat – often a darker or lighter color for contrast.


    Next, the fun begins. Your distressing tools can be a variety of household objects, including a hammer, screwdriver, heavy chain or a block of wood. Make some random and haphazard dings and gouges in the wood to simulate normal wear and tear. Take coarse sandpaper and sand through the top layer of paint so the base coat shows underneath. Concentrate your sanding along edges of the furniture to simulate normal wear. The finished result can be as rough and rustic as you desire.

  2. Although decoupage has traditional Victorian roots, modern materials make it easier than ever to create this unusual refinishing technique.
  3. 2.Easement Requirements

    Another refinishing technique that can add variation and interest to wood furniture – dragging is simple yet eye-catching. The trick is to use two contrasting layers of color – a base coat and a tinted glaze on top. Apply the base coat first and let it dry.


    The next step is to choose a contrasting color for the tinted glaze and apply it in long, careful strokes, dragging it lightly over the base coat. With the right touch, you will create light lines of color that show over the base coat, resembling the grains of wood. The fun part is that we’re not talking boring wood tones – you can make these wood grains in fuschia, teal or even lilac if you want. There are no color rules for this project. When you’re done creating the wood grains, finish with a clear coat of polyurethane to seal in the colors for years to come.

  4. 3.Decoupage

    Although decoupage has traditional Victorian roots, modern materials make it easier than ever to create this unusual refinishing technique. Find photographs, artwork, wrapping paper or even bright fabric with a pretty design. Cut out the paper or fabric to make it fit the area on the furniture you wish to cover.


    Try decoupaging tabletops, the fronts of dresser drawers, dining room chairs or shelves for colorful and unusual flair in your home.


    With clear decoupage medium, you can glue on the decoupage design where you want it and then brush more medium over the paper or fabric to create a transparent layer. Let the first coat of decoupage medium dry and then add another coat for a solid, protective layer.


    Once you start viewing your existing furniture with a new and imaginative perspective, you can fill your home with fun and funky refinished pieces. Who knows what you’ll create with an imagination let loose to conceive and contrive offbeat works of art.

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