Quick Tips for Repairing or Restoring Furniture Rather Than Replacing It

Furniture that is old and worn or that has some nicks, scratches and stains may not be ready for the trash just yet. Very often there are things you can do to repair or restore those pieces to make them look like new and which can be much less expensive than if you actually bought new pieces. If your furniture still has good "bones" or a sturdy frame but is suffering slight damage, note a few tips for repairing or restoring it.

1. Wood

Sometimes oil can work wonders on restoring wood furniture. You might try cleaning your wood furniture with an oil soap to remove mildew or mold that has formed, or you could try an oil-based furniture polish to remove nicks and scratches. Even some olive oil on a soft, lint-free cloth can go a long way toward hiding nicks and scratches and restoring the appearance of wood.

For very deep scratches, you might simply sand over the wood and then repaint or stain it again. Sanding down the surface can remove most small nicks. You can also fill a deeper nick with wood putty and then sand over that to make the surface smooth and ready for a new coat of paint or stain.

2. Leather

As with wood, sometimes you simply need a leather cleaner to remove mold and mildew that has formed on the material. If the leather looks a little cracked, try some oil to make it supple again. Leather patching kits can also fill in tears and holes and make the leather look brand new.

3. Fabric

A steam cleaning or shampooing of your furniture can mean restoring the fabric to its original appearance, and this can also remove mold and mildew. Steam cleaning can also restore the nap of fabric if it's worn down in the seat or back area. You might also be able to simply replace the foam in the seats or back to make the surfaces level and even and more comfortable.

For more extensive damage, a professional furniture restorer or tailor can do upholstery repairs. They can usually sew up any rips or tears and do so from underneath the fabric so the seam isn't visible. If the upholstery itself just isn't salvageable or you don't like its overall look, you can usually have the piece reupholstered. By having new fabric put on the outside of the furniture, it may seem like an entirely new piece for a fraction of the cost of new furniture.