I recently completed my first furniture refinishing project and now I can’t stop. I’ve refinished an old sewing table, a freestanding cabinet, and was inspired to create a shelf out of old shutters. Not only has it been rewarding and cool, I’ve saved a lot of money. Learn from my mistakes.
- Look for fixable pieces for cheap at your local thrift stores. Weigh how much you’ll have to put into it when you’re considering the price. My mom found the old sewing table at Goodwill for $10, so I knew if I ruined it it’d be no big deal.
- Check your thrift stores regularly. Things come and go daily, so finding something you like can be a search process. Visualize how it would look stained or painted, and where in your house it would go. If you see something you like but you aren’t sure what to do with it, do a google image search for “upcycled” “refinished” or “repurposed” and then the item’s name. Pinterest is also a gold mine for ideas.
- Make sure it’s structurally sound. Unless you’re a carpenter and know how to do serious furniture repair, stick with something basic that doesn’t require a lot to start with. The less intricate the design the easier it will be to transform. Once you’ve got the hang of it you can branch out into bigger and more complicated projects.
- Factor your time into the cost. If you can refinish or update a project for only $20 but it might take you 100 hours to finish it, it may not be worth it. I learned too late that it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into instead of learning along the way.
- Finally, research what the finished product would be worth if you bought it. I wasn’t sure if the cabinet I bought was worth the $25 thrift store price plus the paint and my time involved, but then I saw a similar cabinet that was finished for $125. Suddenly my $25 price tag looked better and better.
- In the coming weeks we’ll explore more about the Athens Thrift Store scene. Happy savings!