Being in the furniture painting business, it's no surprise that I think about furniture, its quality, and potential. At Novo Decor Co., a before/after furniture story is usually on the agenda from week to week. But, it's actually less about the final reveal, and more about how a piece of furniture arrived at its final destination (its final destination is a functional accent piece for the home!)
So how does furniture get there? Does your furniture have what it takes?
Here are 4 things you might not know about the furniture you own, but that you could benefit from. The information might surprise you, give you new perspective, or change your mind about throwing those old pieces to the curb. In any case, I think you'll agree that it's worth knowing......
1. The quality of your older furniture is probably better than you will find in your average furniture store today.
Years ago, hand-crafted furniture was a more common scene in the world of furniture-making. While there still exists hand-made furniture and a number of hand-made options, a number of average furniture stores today carry furniture that was mass-produced. Mass production is driven by quantity, and more quantity means more sales. Unfortunately we know this compromises quality. While this isn't happening with all furniture out there, knowing what to look for in your own furniture can result in outcomes you didn't realize were possible.
Here's what you can do:
Take a look around your house, basement, attic, garage, or storage unit. I would bet you will find at least one piece of old furniture. It's hidden away for a number of reasons that differ for us all, but, it may be a hidden gem in the rough. I would venture to guess that your old piece might just withstand traffic better than a number of new furniture pieces on the market today. Something to ponder.....
Examine your piece. For example, if it's a dresser, are the drawers separated by a thin board on the inside? This is a sign of quality. The maker thought about protecting the contents in your drawers. Do the drawers slide easily on built-in tracks? These are signs of better built piece.
If you answered "yes" to these questions, your piece is a keeper. It's a diamond in the rough. And it has potential.
2. Your older, quality piece of furniture can be a game-changer in your home
If a piece has good bones, meaning, it is sturdy, this is the biggest indicator of the appropriateness of restoration. Restoring a piece, an older piece that is well-made, WILL, hands down, save you money in the end. The same holds true with built-in pieces like bookshelves, or cabinetry. Take this for example: 3 bathroom vanities in a "factory finish" distressed paint, with an antiqued-appearing finish- purchased at Home Depot: $2,000 minimum. Now, consider this scenario: Three vanities of similar size to the above example, hand-painted and distressed, with an antiqued wax finish: $1,000 minimum. You've just cut your cost in half, and you would still be getting the look you desire, in a hand-painted finish, customized for you. Not bad!
Here's what you can do:
Try and avoid thinking about the current "like-able" factor of your piece of furniture, or built-in cabinets. Look at what you have, and determine whether it's in good shape. I've seen some of the ugliest, well-constructed pieces, that when transformed become the centerpiece of a room. Like they always say, "Don't judge a book by its cover". Our old furniture is no exception.
Consider refurbishing what you already own. This is particularly a great option if you like the general structure and shape of what you own, and it is in decent condition. Restoration is more than painting too. It can also involve re-purposing an old piece of furniture into something more useful for the home. In the end, you will obtain a hand-painted piece of furniture customized to your own home aesthetic and preferences....and save a few dollars too.
3. The hardware on your furniture can be painted
Did you know that your outdated hardware can be spray painted, and even painted with a brush? It sure can. Here is a good example of the benefit of painting hardware: New, oil-rubbed bronze hardware for a large, master bathroom (everything from toilet tissue holder, to bath faucet): Purchased new: $993.72. If your old hardware isn't keeping you up at night because of your strong aversion to it, and you're OK with the style, then your hardware is meant to stay....and be painted. That simple. With painted hardware, you are looking at a total cost of $15-20 for that same master bathroom. The downside to this is the time investment and hassle of painting all that hardware. Additionally, if it isn't done correctly, there will be problems, which involves more time.....
Here's what you can do:
Think about your current hardware. Do you hate the color? Do you hate the sheen? Is it all different (like shiny silver, and matte silver)? Do you wish it "matched" better with your room? Do you like the shape of it? Is it functioning well for you? If you answered "yes" to any of these.....your hardware is fair game for a spray painting fest.
4. Your glossy, laminate or veneer surfaced pieces are paint-able and do not necessarily mean poor quality, or a cheap piece of furniture!
If you think because your dining table or end tables have a laminate or veneer surface they aren't worth the time and investment of restoration, you might want to reconsider! These surfaces both provide durability, and do cut manufacturing costs, but here's a look at how they differ:
Laminate is usually a plastic layer that is "printed" onto something else, to make it look like it has wood grain. It cannot be stained because it is not real wood. It CAN, however, be painted. Laminate surfaces are smooth and durable, making them great surfaces to be painted.
Veneer is different. It is a thin layer of wood that is bonded to a less expensive surface below, and is usually used for its appearance. I'm sure you've seen tables with elaborate designs in the wood, or mid-century modern piece like the photo below. Those pieces often have a veneer surface. Veneer CAN be painted, but it can also be stained, because it is real wood.
Laminates and veneers are used on a wide variety of furniture, from low-cost pieces that have poor construction and materials below their surface, to very expensive pieces that consist of solid wood underneath. From what I've read on the topic, price range and quality isn't so much related to what's on the surface, as it is related to what's underneath.
So, the take-away? Don't underestimate the potential of a piece of furniture because of it's laminate or veneer surface! Your old piece with that glossy surface is likely to be a gem in the refurbishing process!
And there you have it! Four things about your own furniture that you might not have known, or realized! Next time you look at your furniture, consider these points. They may change how you view what you already own, and help you see the full potential in your old, ugly, stained hardware covered, laminate surfaced end table!
Have an enjoyable and safe Labor Day Weekend!