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Easy DIY furniture upgrades to transform your home

By: Nicole Harris

There are many quick and easy DIYs that you can do to transform your furniture. By taking the time to slightly modify what you already have, you can save money on new furniture while bringing new life to your beloved (or hand-me-down) pieces. These DIYs range in price, depending on how big a change you hope to make with your decor.


Change the legs

TONS of legs are available online and in hardware stores. Most furniture legs are simply screwed on, making it easy to change them once you flip the piece on its top. This upgrade can even be done to your dining table, completely changing the look instantly. If the legs are not screwed on, but instead a part of the base, you can use a scroll saw to either cut off the base entirely, or change its shape to look more modern by cutting straight lines.



When choosing new legs, consider what home style you'd like your piece to look like. Find inspiration pictures on Pinterest or visit local furniture stores to find pieces you'd like to emulate. For more of a modern, MCM look, you can choose a pin leg or hairpin leg. For a more traditional or farmhouse look, you can choose bun feet. Regardless of style, choose legs that you are drawn to.


Change the knobs

Knobs can make a huge impact on the look of your furniture. It can take a dated piece and make it trendy and modern, or even bring out some of the vintage character that made you fall in love with it in the first place.


When you choose knobs, there are a few things to consider: what other hardware do you have in the space (cabinet knobs/pulls and other furniture knobs), what style do you want to incorporate in the piece, how often will you use the drawers or doors, and what size is the original hardware?


If your furniture has pulls, it may be more difficult for you to find hardware that fits perfectly. If this is the case for you, you could redrill your hardware holes after filling them with wood putty. You can even be creative here and choose hardware that covers the previous holes.


Hardware can also help you blend styles throughout your space. Let's say you have a more modern nightstand, but you want to blend it in a bedroom with boho styled decor. You could choose hardware made from natural fibers or with brighter colors that tie in the other colors of your space. Keep in mind that if you use a piece often, you'll want to choose hardware that doesn't hinder that usage. If a pull is difficult to use, it doesn't work for a well-used piece regardless of how well it may fit your style.


Blogger Ashley has a great article with advice on how to narrow down your hardware choices. I definitely recommend checking her out as well!


Repaint wood furniture

This might be the first thing you think of when you think about updating old furniture, and for good reason!



Painting furniture, whether or not it has already been painted, can be a great way to instantly change the way a piece feels. Going from a bright white dresser to a moody dark green colored dresser can completely change the mood of your bedroom. Similarly, painting a stained oak table a beautiful neutral taupe can be a great way to modernize your dining room.


When considering painting furniture, think about your color scheme and how this piece will blend into it. It is also good to consider how much traffic this piece will see. Is it a dining table you plan to sit at every meal? Or is it a dresser that will sit in your guest bedroom? For high traffic pieces, it could be prudent to keep the top a natural color, making it easier to wipe down messes. High traffic pieces are also best finished with a satin or semi-gloss. The higher the gloss, the more protection the piece will have from stains and liquids.


Paint is also a great way to just have fun with furniture! You can paint it funky colors, add a design, or use multiple colors. Pinterest can be a wonderful tool for choosing paint colors! You can even follow The Bohemian on Pinterest to see what we are currently working on.



Add peel & stick wallpaper to the back of glass cabinets

One of our favorite trick at The Bohemian is adding wallpaper to the back of china hutches and cabinets. We often opt for floral patterns, but really, you could choose anything! I'd suggest choosing a pattern that fits into your color scheme to really customize the piece to your space.


Peel and stick wallpaper is easy to apply. You just need to clean the surface before removing the backing and sticking to your piece. To make it easier, you can usually remove the back of your hutch or cabinet without completely dismantling your piece.



Use a paint pen to touch up scratches or buy a leather kit to repair worn out leather

Regardless of whether or not you have a painted or stained piece, touch-up pens are a wonderful tool for a quick fix. Dents, scratches, and scuffs can blend back into your furniture materials by applying color to them that matches your finish. This works especially well for small surface damage toward the bottom of your piece.


For custom paint pens, you can purchase empty paint markers to fill with matching leftover paint you have. Working with pens is simple. Just apply a small amount to the affected part, let dry, and then reapply as needed. While touch-up pens may not fill the holes and scratches, they will significantly lessen their appearance.


Similarly, you can purchase leather conditioner to lessen the appearance of cracks and worn patches. It will also help prevent further damage to your real leather pieces. If there is more significant damage, you can use a leather repair kit and patch areas.


Deep clean your furniture

Sometimes all a beautiful piece needs is a good deep clean to make it feel fresh and new. To deep clean your solid wood furniture, remove any decor. I usually like to start with dusting and vacuuming out any drawers or cabinet spaces before using soap and water to gently clean. Using soap and water helps pull any stubborn stains out of the top layer of the wood, while also getting any hard to remove dirt off. I find it best to work with a small amount of water and focus my attention on one space at a time, wiping away soap residue before moving to the next section.



To get an even deeper clean, you can remove drawers and doors and boil your hardware to remove patina or discoloration.


Once you clean your piece, you will instantly notice a difference in its color and quality. Even if you've only owned a piece for a few years, dust and dirt can quickly build-up.


Oil antique wood

Along with methods like touch-up pens and deep cleaning, oiling your antique wood can breathe new life into it. If you have stains, blemishes, and scratches, use a product like Restor-a-Finish. This product easily wipes onto a piece to fill in those blemishes and oil the finish. It will leave a glossy new look.


This product can be purchased online or at almost any hardware store.



Change your decor

If you love your furniture, but you fear it is beginning to feel a little outdated, you can always change your decor! Changing how you decorate a piece and the area surrounding it can help modernize your furniture. Vintage furniture can be stunning when it is blended into your space with the right decor and supporting furniture pieces.


If you need help choosing decor, check out our sister company, Feathers Home Staging & Design. They have wonderful tips & tricks on their blog, as well as a wide range of design services.


Have fun!

Updating your furniture shouldn't feel like a hassle. The time spent completing these minor improvements can drastically change your space and even how you feel in it. Best of luck!

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