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DIY Furniture Makeovers

These 10 DIY projects for breathing new life into old furniture are easy and inexpensive.

By Emily Lugg, Cheapism


Sticker shock is likely to assault anyone who wanders into a furniture showroom these days. Relax. There's really no need to replace the tired-looking pieces scattered around your home. With a few simple and inexpensive supplies, you can create a whole new look that will give the illusion of having spent a fortune.


Transform a dresser, desk, nightstand, or bookshelf into something unrecognizable with a few pieces of fabric. She Knows shows how to use fabric and the glue/sealer Mod Podge to cover the blemishes as well as add color to a scratched or faded dresser. Prep the surface, cut and apply the fabric, and layer on the Mod Podge. You now have a fresh-looking dresser with a wipeable surface for little effort or cost.


Maybe there's half of a can of paint leftover from a recent bathroom redo or some spray paint sitting in the hall closet. Use these supplies to recoat just about anything -- a bed frame, coffee table, picture frame, side table. If you prefer a different color or don't have any paint sitting around, spray paint runs about $7 a can. If you need just a small amount of brush-on paint, pick up a custom-color sample at the hardware store for about the same price.


Professional reupholstering can be expensive, what with the price of upholstery fabric and the labor involved. If you take on a small job yourself, however, you'll save on the labor costs. Doing so may even let you splurge on the fabric. Figure on spending a minimum of $20 to $30 a yard.


For a chair or bench that needs a pick-me-up, a new cushion works wonders. To make a custom pillow, carefully measure the length and width and choose foam or filling that is thick enough for comfort, not just for the visual effect. You can save some cash by reusing old pillows or cushions and adding new coverings that match the room.


Much like wallpaper in appearance, contact paper is easier to apply and significantly cheaper. It's also easier to remove -- no need for the chemicals and tools required to take down wallpaper. A 5-foot roll costs less than $6. Curbly posts a video that shows how contact paper can give an old, outdated nightstand a contemporary and jazzy look.


Putting feet (or legs) on a bookshelf or cabinet can completely change the look of the piece. This project is easy as pie and doable for less than $40. And as the blog Redoux Interiors shows, no skill is required to screw feet into the bottom of a boring bookshelf. The style of the feet you choose -- bulky, claw, straight -- makes a big statement.


It may seem counterintuitive to make something look old in order for it to look new again, but shabby chic is "in" right now. Sand paper, Vaseline, and a streaky paint job can give the finish on a piece of furniture that sought-after weathered air.


If you want to add character to a cupboard, say, or coffee table, scour local antique and thrift stores for old knobs, hooks, and embellishments that can get you a one-of-a-kind piece. Also check out garage sales for cheap furniture you can cart home and strip of the adornments to be used on the piece you're fixing up.


Mirrored furniture is a unique look that you pay for, big time. Instead, spend $20 on a mirror and $15 for handles, and presto -- a high-end looking dresser for a low-end price. Remodelaholic tells you how.


Before you deposit that old piece of furniture at the thrift store or at the curb, think outside the box. It may have outlived its intended purpose, but you can assign it a different task. A bar stool, for example, just needs a fresh coat of paint to serve as a plant stand or small table for knick-knacks.

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Lifestyle Magazine: DIY Furniture Makeovers
DIY Furniture Makeovers
These 10 DIY projects for breathing new life into old furniture are easy and inexpensive.
Lifestyle Magazine
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