Save money by making old things look new again
Are you looking to save money on furniture and décor for your home? Refurbishing old items can be a great way to outfit your home without spending a fortune on new furnishings.
I’ve never been wealthy, so over the years I have found ways to outfit the places I’ve lived without spending a lot of money. I found that refurbishing older items was a great way to get what I needed without spending a lot of money. If you have the time, you can try refurbishing furniture for your own home.
Check yard sales, FreeCycle and your local classifieds and you will find that there are almost always people offering up their old items for sale at low prices, or even for free. They’re often priced low not because there are any structural defects, but because they’re ugly. Paint chips, wood gets scratched, metal gets dinged. Over years of use things stop looking fresh and new. Unfortunately, a lot of people are missing out on great deals because it never occurs to them that they can give the items a simple facelift.
Many items like tables, bed frames (both wood and metal), lamps and other items can be given a new life just by painting them. Even plastic items like yard furniture can be repainted with the new spray paints that have been put on the market. When you’re shopping for budget furniture, don’t let the color stop you from buying. Imagine what it might look like with a fresh coat of paint, and you might realize you’re looking at a potential treasure.
For items that have already been painted one or more times, chipping paint might make the item look less than wonderful. If this is the case, there’s still hope. Metal items can usually be cleaned with a hand scraper or a wire brush attached to a drill. It takes time and can be a bit messy, but once you remove the old paint, you may be able to simply polish the item and be done, or add a fresh coat of paint to get a new look.
Painted wood items can be a bit harder to refurbish, as they may require paint remover and will probably need to be sanded and refinished after the paint is gone. While this may be a time-consuming project, it can be well worth the effort. I have grabbed a few night stands and end tables over the years that were quite beautiful after they had been stripped to the bare wood and given a coat of polyurethane.
For items that have dings or scratches, sometimes a coat of paint or polyurethane can hide the marks and make the item look great again. Perhaps you will have to do some sanding first. However, in some cases the damage can actually add to the appeal of the furniture. I have seen plenty of shows on the DIY Network teaching people how to “distress” furniture, which basically means taking something new and abusing it to the point that it looks antique. If you get something that’s already been well used, you can have that “distressed” look without any of the cost or effort.
It’s also possible to get furnishings that are mildly damaged for little or no cost. Some time back we picked up a great end table that was being thrown away because the boards across the top had come unglued. All it took to fix it was a bit of wood glue and some straps to hold it until it dried. Now you’d never know it was ever broken. Broken can even be a good thing sometimes. Dresser and end table tops can be turned into shelves, and drawers can be turned into wall boxes for storing knick-knacks.
If you’re going to be refurbishing old items to aid you in furnishing on a budget, there are a few things you should have on hand. Make sure you have at least one metal scraper, a rough wire brush (with a handle or one that can be used in a drill), sandpaper, paint remover, paints, wood glue and polyurethane, as well as working gloves and masks to keep you from inhaling dust and fumes. If you plan ahead, you may be able to pick up many of these items on sale to further reduce costs.
When you look at items as something that can be given a new look, you will find that many items have the capacity to be refurbished. You’ll be amazed at the amount of money you can save by refinishing older furniture and decorative items. You can even make these items look really great by learning how to use techniques like sponge marbling, stenciling and crackle painting. Have an open mind and you’ll find that refurbishing old items gives you a great looking home without emptying your wallet.