Easy ways to bring your furniture back to life

The phrase ‘becoming part of the furniture’ has been around for many years, indicating that furniture is something that is just there in the background. However, the problem with this kind of thinking is that the furniture will become neglected over time and will start to look tattered and tired. When this happens, most people will think about upgrading their furniture rather than taking the time see if they can do something about it.

Not for a moment am I trying to suggest that people are neglecting to polish or clean their furniture. What I am talking about goes much further than this. I am talking about that sideboard in your hallway which has been sitting there for years, only receiving the occasional polish. You may think that it is time to replace it as it’s looking a bit tired and dated, however you may just be able to salvage a few more years of usage out of it after nothing more than a thorough clean.

A good old fashioned buff up

Any wood furniture that has a varnished finish may only need a thorough cleaning to make them look like new again. For example, mahogany furniture from the 70-80s usually has a lot of carved detailing which is where many years of dust and grime builds up. To remove this, all you need is a small paint brush and a lot of patience. Using the brush, carefully go over the carved detailing. If the dust isn’t moving much then consider using a brush with firmer bristles and stabbing them right down into the cracks. You will be surprised at how much difference this will make to your furniture.

If you have solid wood furniture which is not varnished and has a waxed finish then the cleaning process becomes a little more difficult. This is because unless the furniture has had a regular top up waxing then the underlying wood will have had very little protection. Although some furniture is designed to have a distressed look, like the Mexican pine furniture range which has become very popular in recent years, natural wax furniture does tend to look tattered very quickly. However, fixing the problem is pretty easy as all you really need is sand paper and a good quality furniture wax.

Start by sanding down anywhere that has been water damaged or stained. If you find that the area you are sanding ends up a different colour than the rest of the furniture it is likely that the wood has been stained. To fix this you will need to buy a matching wood stain which can then be waxed to seal it in.

Can I fix it?

Before getting out the solvent and sandpaper, it is a good idea to ask yourself whether or not you are going to be able to undertake the task ahead of you. Once you have started stripping the varnish or paint off your furniture there really is no turning back. It is a good idea to first practice on a piece of furniture that you would not be too upset about ruining. There are plenty of businesses out there who can restore your furniture professionally and if you are not very handy then I would suggest you contact them.


One of the easiest and quickest things you can do to breathe new life into a chair or stool is to reupholster them. All you need is enough fabric and a staple gun, both of which can be picked up for less than £10 if you shop around. If the chair or stool has foam padding that is looking a little flat then this is the perfect time to replace it.

The hardest part of reupholstering a chair is ensuring that there are no creases around the edges of the fabric. To do this, make sure you pull the fabric pretty tight before you staple it down. Once finished you will find that your chair will be just as good as the day you bought it, maybe even better if you follow my tips on cleaning your furniture as well.


Tom Hudson has worked in the furniture industry for over 6 years and has built up a sound knowledge of all things to do with interior design, home improvement and furniture trends.

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