DIY Techniques to Restore Your Old Wooden Furniture

Updated on January 16, 2020

Are you tired of looking at the broken and old mess that is your furniture? Thanks to some talented and helpful people, you can restore and refurbish old goods into new ones without having to hire anybody. 

Although this article will only talk about how you can transform your old wooden furniture pieces into new ones, the truth is that DIY techniques have shaped the way we take care of our home and environment. 

If you have been neglecting your wooden furniture for a long time, you may have to put more effort into the process than those who have been taking care of them. However, there is a satisfaction in being able to create something new from the old without spending much! 

Want to know more about what we are talking about? Keep reading till the end to find out. 

Things You Will Need

Before you get to work, you need to have certain items at your disposal. Below is a list of items that you will need to restore your old wooden furniture. 

  • Gloves
  • Paint brushes
  • Wood dye
  • Wax polish
  • Steel wool pad
  • Chemical stripper and stripping tool 
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Finishing oil
  • Wax and polish remover
  • Mask 
  • Glasspaper and sanding block 

Step-by-step Guide to Restoring Old Wooden Furniture

Now that you have all the tools required to get to work, it is time to get into action. Follow the instructions provided below to transform old furniture items into new ones. 

Strip the Table Top

It is better to take the furniture outside because it can get real messy indoors. Even when you are working outdoors, make sure that the plants and other furniture are covered and protected. 

You should also work where there is plenty of sunlight and good ventilation. To protect the finish on the body of the table, cover the table leaving only the top exposed. Then apply the stripper evenly all over the top with a paint brush. 

You have to wait at least 30 minutes for the finish to dissolve. However, it may take you less time as well, since some coating is thicker than others. If the layer does not come off after 30 minutes, apply the stripper again, and wait. 

Strip the Other Parts

Now read the user manual before applying the chemical stripper, as different products have different usage. Then take a pack of steel wool submerged in polish remover or white spirit. Use this to neutralize the surface of the wood. A word of caution – if you don’t neutralize the stripper, it will reactivate. 

Now wipe away the sediment and leave the top of the table that way for about a day. In the meantime, you can clean away the old polish and dirt from other parts of the table. Use a steel wool pad and wax remover to do so. 

Once you are done removing the old paint and grime, leave the surface for a few minutes. Then wipe everything away with a piece of clean cloth. 

You may find holes and cracks in some parts of the furniture. Use exterior white wood putty to fill up the gaps. Lastly, wipe away the mess with a cloth. 

Back to the Table Top

After a day, your table top should be ready for refinement. Use a sanding block and fine glass paper to smooth over the surface. This process will flatten all the wooden fibers that were raised during the stripping. 

You can use a vacuum to remove dust from the protective sheet. After that, wipe the table top to clean the residue. 

Apply the Dye

You should apply the dye to give the table a new appearance. Choose any color you like that will go with the rest of the furniture in your house. 

You should have your gloves on as you apply the dye all over the table top. Make sure you have enough sunlight and ventilation when you are at work. 

Once the main dye has been applied, put on some finishing oil using a lint-free cloth or a paint brush. Then you should give at least 10 minutes for the oil to soak in. Wipe away the surface afterward. 

To make the paint on your furniture last longer, apply several coats. But you have to wait 5 hours before re-applying. All you have to do is repeat the same procedure as above. 

Finishing Touch

The last step of restoring your old wooden furniture is to apply good furniture wax. Apply all over the furniture and leave for about an hour to dry and set. 

You should prevent warping when the wood is getting dry by moving the furniture away from fire and radiators. In this case, though, you have to avoid the sunlight to prevent warping and unwanted bleaching. 

How to Maintain Restored Wooden Furniture

If you ignore your wooden furniture after restoring it, then it will deteriorate again quickly. So, you have to ensure that you are giving it the proper care that it deserves. 

In the beginning, you must use a mild cleaning solution to clean dirt and grime every week. You should make it a part of your weekly routine to clean all the furniture in your house. 

But you should check on a small area if the cleaning solution is compatible with the wooden surface that you are going to clean. Give it at least 5 minutes for the solution to soak on the wood. If you see any problems, don’t use that solution for cleaning. 

Some people use just water, while others use a vinegar-water solution to clean wooden furniture. Part water and part vinegar is a natural cleaning solution that you can use on any surface, even wood. 

Once you have cleaned the surface with the solution of your choice, make sure that the surface is dry before you leave it alone. Use a piece of cloth to do all the cleaning. 

To clean narrow corners, use a toothbrush to brush off dirt and grime. Don’t use anything harsh to scrub off dirt from the furniture. 

Furthermore, you can use 0.95 liter of water and 2 black tea bag solution to restore the shine of old wooden furniture. The water has to be boiled with the tea bag. Then you can immerse a piece of cloth, with which you can wipe the furniture. 

Lemon oil applied evenly with a piece of cloth can also restore lost shine of furniture. So, you can check that out as well. 


Wooden furniture doesn’t waste away unless it has been a long time since you have purchased it. Not being able to take care of it on a weekly or monthly basis can also erode it to a great extent. 

The best solution to the problem of wooden furniture wearing off is to clean them routinely. Although you can find different commercial products in the market, some chemicals do more harm than good. 

Therefore, just like many people who have switched to natural cleaning products, you can use natural cleansers to maintain the health of your furniture. 

Vinegar and water solution is an all-purpose cleaning solution. You may also find other natural cleaning solutions containing baking soda, lemon, and essential oil. Do check them out and apply them for long-lasting and beautiful wooden furniture. 


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