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    By: Finish Pros

    Is My Furniture Even Worth Refinishing?

    furniture refinishing professional

    At Finish Pros, we often hear the question: “Is my furniture even worth refinishing?” The answer ultimately depends on the owner and their connection to the piece. In most cases, it’s worth weighing your options. Can the piece or a similar one be purchased new with comparable quality? Is there sentimental value attached? Can design aesthetics be altered to give it a new look, such as adding length to the legs, changing the stain color, or painting it for a more contemporary feel? Our design team at Finish Pros helps clients navigate these decisions, often leaving them thrilled with the end results.

    The Role of Our Designers

    Our interior designers at Finish Pros have a passion for helping you achieve your desired looks. They work hand in hand with our craftsmen and share a passion for quality furniture. Best of all, we are able to offer consultations at no cost in hopes of earning your business and referrals once your pieces are returned. Our design team begins by understanding your project and goals, discussing options, and often providing insights into the history and craftsmanship of your furniture. You may learn when an antique was made, the wood species used, and other fascinating facts about your piece.

    The refinishing process is thoroughly reviewed, including any necessary furniture repairs, followed by a discussion of wood stain options and lacquer paint color choices. Whether you’re looking to preserve the classic beauty of your furniture or give it a modern twist, our team is here to guide you every step of the way.

    Our designers are experts in blending the old with the new, ensuring that your refinished piece will not only retain its original charm but also fit seamlessly into your current decor. They stay updated with the latest trends and techniques in furniture design, allowing them to offer innovative solutions that enhance the value and aesthetic appeal of your furniture. From selecting the right finish to choosing complementary fabrics for reupholstery, our designers provide personalized guidance to ensure your vision becomes a reality.

    white dresser refinished

    Assessing the Quality

    Each day as I guide clients on shop tours, the most common comment is, “That’s veneer? It looks so real!” or “You can refinish veneer?” The answer is typically the same. I explain that some of the most incredible furniture ever made features veneered surfaces ranging from burlwood chests to banded inlay dining tables, and nearly all can be refinished. The process for refinishing veneer is the exact same as solid wood. We carefully chemically strip the old finish and then prep sand as needed, making repairs along the way. Stain is applied, followed by a multi-step finishing process. In cases where lacquer paint is selected, the finish is still properly prepped, and sealer coats are applied, followed by the desired tone of painted lacquer that ranges in various sheen tones.

    True classic furniture is typically constructed from solid wood and may even have decorative veneers. Veneered pieces can be refinished beautifully, often looking fantastic after the process. Any veneer chips or loose veneer can be repaired during refinishing. In some cases, we fill the veneer chips, making them virtually unnoticeable.

    Few modern manufacturers create furniture built to last due to the high cost of raw materials and the misconception that everything needs to be perfect. The natural variations in wood grain and tone, which make each piece unique, are often lost in mass production. Instead, modern furniture is often made from man-made products like fiberboard, laminate, and digitally produced wood grain, or features monotone finishes.

    The quality of older furniture often surpasses that of new, mass-produced pieces. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and use of high-quality materials in older furniture are rarely found in today’s market. When assessing whether your furniture is worth refinishing, consider the following factors:

    Construction Quality: Examine the joints and overall construction of the piece. Solid wood construction, dovetail joints, and sturdy frames indicate high-quality craftsmanship that can withstand the refinishing process and continue to serve you for many more years.

    Historical Value: Some furniture pieces hold historical significance, either as family heirlooms or antiques. Refinishing these pieces preserves their history while allowing them to fit into modern settings.

    Material Quality: Solid wood and high-quality veneers are durable and can be restored to their original beauty. Unlike particleboard or MDF, these materials can be sanded, stained, and refinished multiple times.

    The Unique Value of Older Furniture

    Beautiful houses are scattered across the Triangle, but what makes a beautiful home? I undoubtedly say it’s the unique aspects, including the furniture that the family who lives in the home can truly enjoy both in function and form. For the past 200 years, tables and chairs have been made in more or less the same consistent styles, with finishes and wood species being the major difference. In the past 25 years, this has changed, with a primary driver of furniture construction focusing on whether it can be shipped flat in a box and then assembled either at a store or by the homeowner. Ultimately, the quality of joints and durability have been sacrificed. Traditionally built furniture constructed with dowels and glued joints is much more costly to ship, taking up excessive space in shipping containers. And once assembled, it looks adequate. However, older furniture that may even have some special meaning can be a unique decorative design element in your home. Who wants their home to look like a hotel?

    The nostalgic item left from your first home or the hand-me-down from your parents—can you find a replacement kitchen table that will look great for years to come? The classic Ethan Allen table or bedroom set that has lasted for decades can be refinished, restored, and even updated to complement modern designs. Best of all, you can have furniture that is unique, has a story, and will be admired by friends, neighbors, and family.

    Refinishing allows you to blend the past with current design trends. For instance, mahogany dining sets that might be discarded, sent to thrift stores, or placed in storage because of guilt over getting rid of a parent’s “heirloom” can be made to look amazing with your own spin. Countless clients have chosen to refinish these sets and repurpose them. Since many of us no longer have traditional dining rooms, these sets are often repurposed for different areas.

    refinished furniture

    Creative Repurposing Ideas

    Of course, the table and chairs may stay in the dining room or serve as the main kitchen table, but the finish color can be updated to a lighter wood tone. You can even lacquer paint the chairs. The server or buffet may find new life in the family room as an entertainment cabinet beneath a wall-hung television, and the china cabinet can be transformed into an incredible liquor cabinet.

    Being creative with furniture repurposing not only extends the life of the piece but also makes it unique and tailored to your lifestyle. The craftsmanship and quality of older furniture pieces are often unmatched by today’s standards, and refinishing them ensures they remain functional and beautiful for years to come.

    Here are some creative repurposing ideas for your old furniture:

    1. Dining Tables: Refinish a large dining table and use it as a spacious desk in a home office. The ample surface area is perfect for spreading out work materials, and the sturdy construction can support heavy equipment.
    2. Dressers: Convert an old dresser into a bathroom vanity. With some minor modifications, such as cutting out sections for plumbing, you can create a unique and stylish vanity that adds character to your bathroom.
    3. Armoires: Repurpose an armoire as a media center. Remove some shelves and add holes for cables to transform it into a stylish storage solution for your TV, gaming consoles, and other media equipment.
    4. Chairs: Refresh old wooden chairs with new upholstery and paint. Use them as accent chairs in various rooms, adding a pop of color and personality to your decor.
    5. China Cabinets: Transform a china cabinet into a chic bar cabinet. The glass doors and shelves are perfect for displaying your collection of glasses and spirits, while the lower cabinets provide storage for bar accessories.

    Sentimental Value and Customization

    Furniture often holds sentimental value, making it even more worthwhile to refinish. A piece that has been part of your family for generations can be given new life, ensuring it continues to be cherished by future generations. Additionally, refinishing allows for customization to suit your current tastes and décor.

    For example, a client recently brought in a family heirloom—a beautifully carved chair with intricate details that had seen better days. By refinishing the wood and updating the upholstery, the chair was transformed into a stunning centerpiece that blended seamlessly with the client’s modern home decor.

    Another client had an old dresser that was a staple in their parents’ home. They wanted to keep it but felt it didn’t match their contemporary style. After consulting with our design team, they decided on a sleek, white lacquer finish with updated hardware, turning the piece into a chic addition to their bedroom.

    Customization options are virtually limitless. Whether you want to match the color scheme of your current decor or introduce new elements to reflect your style, our team can help you achieve your vision. We offer a range of finishes, from traditional stains to modern lacquers, and a variety of hardware options to complete the look. Our goal is to create a piece that not only meets your needs but also exceeds your expectations.

    The Craftsmanship of Classic Furniture

    The craftsmanship of classic furniture pieces is something to be admired. Many of these items were handmade with attention to detail that is rarely found in modern manufacturing. Refinishing these pieces not only preserves this craftsmanship but also allows it to shine through.

    Furniture manufacturers today often use cost-effective materials and processes to keep prices low, resulting in pieces that lack the durability and character of older furniture. By choosing to refinish, you are investing in quality and sustainability, reducing the need for new resources and minimizing waste.

    At Finish Pros, our skilled craftsmen take pride in restoring the beauty and functionality of classic furniture. We use traditional techniques combined with modern tools to achieve the best results. From repairing loose joints to applying the final coat of finish, every step is performed with meticulous care and attention to detail.

    kitchen table refinished


    At Finish Pros, we are passionate about furniture, the history it holds, and the incredible craftsmanship of pieces treasured by those before us. Refinishing is not just about making old furniture look new; it’s about preserving stories, craftsmanship, and creating something unique that fits into today’s world.

    So, is your furniture worth refinishing? In many cases, the answer is a resounding yes. Whether it’s for sentimental reasons, quality, or the desire to have something unique, refinishing offers endless possibilities to breathe new life into your cherished pieces. Let our team at Finish Pros help you explore these options and turn your furniture into something you will continue to love for years to come.

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