Small Furniture Make-over: Easy steps to a simple, timeless look

Hi there and welcome to Novo Decor Furniture Series!  I'm excited to be back sharing the stories behind your pieces!  Today I am sharing with you a piece of furniture that never thought it would see a paint brush!  But this isn't just any piece of furniture (as none of the pieces in the Novo series ever are!). It's a piece of furniture with a long history behind it, and after many years (60+ years!) it received its first make-over.

THE PIECE:    wood stool

This stool belonged to my Grandpa.  But before that, it was used (probably by many) in the "shop" section of a pattern company that my grandpa worked at.  The company closed its doors many years ago, but when my grandpa retired, he took the stool with him.  Refurbishing this stool was not only easy to do, but it was fun.  I love to work on old pieces that have so much history behind them!   From a long, quiet life in storage. to a full make-over, this little stool looks like new and will get plenty of use. 

THE PLAN:  Simple & Timeless

This stool was "unleashed" from storage when my sister began looking for a stool for a built-in desk area in their kitchen.  It had been stored for years at my parents' house, so it was time to haul it out and seek the services of Novo Decor!   I was happy to paint this piece!  My sister desired a simple design, requesting a dark wood finish on the seat, and a cream paint on the legs.  Simple and timeless. 

THE TRANSFORMATION: turning an old piece new again

Transforming a small piece of furniture doesn't have to take hours and hours.  And stripping and staining a small area is easier than you think!  See how I achieved a fresh new look on this stool below:   

1. First sand your piece:  The goal is to smooth over any bumps or imperfections on the surface.  

2. Wipe the piece down with a clean, dry cloth (or tack cloth)

3.  Apply Citri-strip to the wood seat to remove old stain.  This is a safer way to strip furniture. Just paint it on, let it sit for about 30 minutes, and strip off using a stripping tool. It is very messy. Have paper toweling on hand to get rid the stuff as you strip. 

Allow time for the seat to dry completely.  Re-apply Citri-strip if needed, to remove all the darker (old) wood stain.     

4.  Clean the seat you just stripped.  This removes additional stain, and particles left over from stripping.  You can use paint thinner and soft/fine grade steel wood to do this.  Paint thinner examples are Mineral Spirits, or the "green" version of it (smells better, supposedly safer on the environment). Do this part outside so the smell doesn't permeate your house!  Wear gloves to protect your hands, dip the steel wool into the product and scrub gently in the direction of the wood grain.  Wipe dry with paper towel once all the old stain is removed.  (the paint thinner and the steel wool will be brown, from the stain you just removed). 

5.  Allow seat to dry completely, then sand it down.  You want your surface to be smooth to the touch. 

6.  Paint the legs.  I used a cream chalk paint, so no priming was necessary.  Two layers of paint were applied for best coverage.  Then I sanded it for a mildly distressed appearance. 

7.  Apply stain to the seat (Minwax stains work great).  I used a stain in "Dark Walnut".  You can use a cheap sponge brush for this part.   These brushes are disposable, so no clean-up!   Old T-shirts also work well.  Allow to dry completely (at least 6 hours)

8.  The last step is to apply topcoat to protect the surface.  I used Minwax Polycrylic in a clear stain finish. This is a good route for surfaces that receive a lot of traffic.  There are different sheens/shines (like satin, glossy) in topcoat products, but the main thing is you want a "clear" finish.  

Here is the stool now: 

And a little unexpected surprise underneath....

I left the original finish on the bottom of the seat, and lightly sanded the surface before painting on a flower in gold....an unexpected surprise for a simple piece of furniture (and a fun sister!)

From a dull and worn piece of furniture hidden in storage,  to a simple update with paint, stain, and a little whimsy underneath, it now sits in a high-traffic zone in a beautiful home, boasting its new status in the world.   And even better than that?  It holds meaning.  Now, every time my sister sees that stool, she'll be reminded of our grandpa, and all the hard work that happened on that stool, and in that pattern shop many years ago.  

Have you ever refurbished an old piece of furniture that held meaning to you?  Where do you display it now?   

Novo Decor is busy in the "shop" planning, prepping, and painting custom orders!  Stay tuned for more furniture make-over stories and re-purposed finds! 

Thank you for checking in!

Click the button below, then scroll down to see my entire blog collection