How to Put New Life Into Old Furniture

Whether you buy it at a garage sale or it’s already gathering dust in your home, old furniture can become new again — or, at least, look like it.

How to Put New Life Into Old Furniture

You can customize things to reflect your individual taste for a fraction of what you might spend buying entirely new décor. And what you save in cash could more than make up for the time you spend restoring the furniture, depending on your creativity and tastes.

As with any type of interior design, the more you plan, the better your results will be. Knowing the possibilities and limitations of different decorating tactics will help manage your expectations about redesigning.

With that in mind, here are some of the things you can do to make older furnishings look newer:

Drapery and Pillows

How: Housewares stores sell a wide variety of pillows, curtains, tablecloths, and even sheets that could cover up worn-out seating or — in the case of curtains and sheets — serve as makeshift doors. You could also buy fabric by the yard and make your own.
Pros: This is one of the simplest options you have for dressing up old furniture.
Cons: There’s only so much you can achieve with this type of outer layer. Overdo it and the result can look cluttered.


How: Most slipcover retailing happens via mail-order and websites, which makes comparison shopping a snap.
Pros: It doesn’t get much quicker and easier than this, especially if your furniture conforms to the exact dimensions of the slipcover.
Cons: Sizes and colors are limited, and catalog photos can only go so far in showing how something will look once it’s on your piece of furniture. One-size-fits-most can result in a loose fit that will look like you bought a slipcover instead of completely new décor.

Professional Upholstery

How: An upholsterer may pay you a house call to provide an estimate and save you from having to transport the furniture down to the repair shop.
Pros: The results might turn out better than anything you do yourself. The scope of services provided can include structural repairs, such as refilling stuffing, replacing springs, or strengthening frames.
Cons: It can easily cost as much as new furniture. If your item has sentimental value or qualifies as an heirloom, then hiring a professional upholsterer makes the most sense.

Do Your Own Upholstery

How: Take good measurements of your furniture, including the surfaces that are normally hidden from view — they are where you will be applying the staple gun. Buy upholstery-grade fabric with at least half a yard of excess to give yourself room for some trial and error.
Pro: You really can have a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture for a relatively modest investment of money. How much time it takes is up to you.
Con: This is the most challenging and time consuming of all the options mentioned here. Consult a good how-to guide (a number of them are linked throughout this article) or consider taking an upholstery class. Approach the effort as a learning exercise until you get the hang of it.

Painting or Refinishing

How: Invest in a good drop cloth, mask, gloves, solvent, and sandpaper when embarking on any kind of painting or refinishing job.
Pros: As long as you sand down the object first, and then apply the paint, stain or finish carefully, the end result can look just like new. This will be even more so if you follow it with new fixtures, as described below.
Cons: The odor is substantial, and so is the potential for kids or pets to get in the way or ruin the project if it’s not done in the right location. Plan accordingly.

Knobs and Handles

How: Handles or knobs on armoires, dressers, and entertainment units can wiggle loose or become tarnished. Instead of just replacing one that has fallen off or into disrepair, you could buy a new set in a completely different style and the result could look like a whole new piece of furniture.
Pros: New hardware can dramatically prolong the life of storage furnishings.
Cons: If you don’t measure the original hardware and the corresponding hole before going to the store, you may need to make another trip.


How: Jazz up a plain bedframe by adding a headboard, or make an old one look newer with a fresh coat of paint or new fabric covering. If you’re really ambitious, you could make a footboard too, although that’s a little trickier. Any piece of wood or metal that is about the width of your mattress and at least a foot higher could pass for a headboard.
Pros: This gets you away from looking like you’re sleeping on a futon.
Cons: Beware of headboards that lean against the wall rather than attach to the frame (and good luck trying to make a footboard stay in place without using some tools).

As with any crafts project, go easy on yourself when trying your hand at the more creative tactics mentioned here. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses if the end result isn’t what you had envisioned. That’s one of the benefits of refurbishing something old instead of buying completely new: You can always sell, trade, or give away anything that doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped.

By Jackie Cohen of To see the original article, click here

6 Tips & Tools for Pumpkin Carving

Mix and match these tools to turn your regular pumpkins into Halloween masterpieces.

No. 1: Template transfer



You can easily draw your own template (or find one on the internet) to make sure your “Jack” comes out looking exactly as you planned. Use any sharp object you might already have — an awl, ice pick or even a ball point pen — to trace the pattern onto the pumpkin.



Once the outline of the template has been marked on the pumpkin, the rest is a matter of carving— rather than coloring — in the lines.

No. 2: Pumpkin saw



A pumpkin saw is a short, thin saw blade attached to a small handle that fits nicely in your hand. It’s much easier (and safer) to use than a kitchen knife when carving a pumpkin, and the tool will enable you to tackle far more intricate designs.



A classic saw for a classic “Jack.” The rounded curves and small cuts in these jack-o’-lanterns were made using a pumpkin saw. The compact blade gives you control to make your scariest squash dreams come true!

No. 3: Power drill



A power drill will make quick work of a jack-o’-lantern’s eyes, or you can attempt a more ambitious design by combining your drill with a variety of bits and attachments.



This freehand design of circles demonstrates the detail and precision afforded by a power drill. The look is crisp, and it’s quick and easy to produce.

No. 4: Dremel



A classic woodworking rotary tool, the Dremel can bring your pumpkin carving to the next level. In combination with different attachments (from drill bits to blades to sanders), the tool is able to cut, carve and even etch or engrave.



This intricate Celtic-knot design was achieved with a 1/32-inch drill bit and a Dremel, which is capable of far more detail than a regular power drill.

No. 5: Linoleum cutter


Linoleum cutters are used by artists in block printing, but they can also help you carve details into the surface of your jack-o’-lantern that “glow” once the pumpkin is lit.



The floral motifs on these pumpkins were carved with a linoleum cutter. The range of depth in the carving creates a shaded effect, enhancing the design’s 3-D quality.

No. 6: Cookie cutters



Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies anymore. Pick a theme, get out a mallet and start pounding — you’ll have a truly original pumpkin before you know it. (And, they’re great for carving with kids!)



This jack-o’-lantern was created using just a few cookie cutters. Although it’s not the spookiest of themes, it is a magical lantern to light the night and amuse any child’s fancy.

This post was originally published by Jennifer Noonan on Zillow Blog. See the original post here

9 Simple DIY Weekend Decorating Projects

As you look around your home, you’re probably wishing you had some extra time on your hands to make a few renovations or to handle a few extra redecorating projects. But, you already have the time – it’s called the weekend!

ImageIn that short 48-hour time span, there’s a lot of work you can get done. Even if you pick one task per weekend, that’s four decorating projects completed a month!

Don’t think it can be done? Well just check out these nine simple weekend decorating projects that can each be started Friday evening and wrapped up before you go to bed Sunday night.

1. Organize and Beautify Your Bookcases

If you have a lot of books, videos and collectibles clambering for space on your bookcases, taking a Saturday afternoon to remove, sort and organize everything will instantly make the room look cleaner and tidier. Sometimes successful redecorating isn’t about changing the way things are but more about cleaning up and organizing what you already have.

This is also a good time to de-clutter your bookcase. Tossing out old magazines or storing books you no longer want in the garage can go a long way towards making the most of your bookcase’s capacity.

2. Tile the Kitchen’s Backsplash

If you really want to give your kitchen an updated look but you can’t afford a complete renovation, install ceramic tile to the backsplash for an instant update. It may take some time to get up and running, but once you find your swing, you’ll discover this job moves along at a smooth pace. Both weekend days will be required for this job, and you might have to extend the finishing touches over to next weekend, but you’ll be able to get the bulk of the heavy lifting done in one weekend.

3. Transform the Fireplace

The fireplace is the focus of the room during the cold, winter months but what do you do with it for the other eight months out of the year? Once winter’s chill has left, clean out the fireplace and decorate the hearth with a variety of low-maintenance plants and add a touch of vibrancy to the room. Succulents work nicely because they don’t require a lot of watering or sunlight. Use tiered plant pot holders for a truly beautiful look that will also cover up the unsightly cinder stains on the inside of the fireplace. Or, for a complete re-do, you can even consider painting the fireplace!

4. Install Some Molding

Crown molding makes a room feel and look larger than it really is, and it’s not really that difficult to install, especially when you use specially-made corner pieces that eliminate the need for cutting perfect mitered edges. In fact, once you get the hang of it, you might be able to install it in all of your rooms before the weekend is over.

While you’re at it, you can also install chair railing or update your baseboards with a newer, more modern style.

5. Unify Your Picture Frames

Odds are the picture frames that adorn your walls have been purchased over a long period of time, so no two probably look alike. But, if you take them all down and paint the frames all the same color, they will suddenly look as if they all belong together. In addition, this will help give your room the color accent it’s been missing.

6. Update the Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Forget about the old brushed nickel cabinet knobs. Today, hardware stores have a ton of different varieties to choose from. Pick a style that best reflects your home and replace the knobs in your kitchen for a quick and easy kitchen makeover.

7. Makeover Your Lamp Shades

Adding some fabric, beads or ribbons to your lamp shades will turn them from drab to fab. Choose a color scheme that compliments the room and your friends won’t stop asking you, “Where did you purchase those beautiful lamp shades and how much did they cost?”

8. Redecorate the Bedroom

All you need to redecorate your bedroom is some fresh paint, some new curtains and a new comforter and voila – you have a freshly redecorated bedroom. The bulk of your time will be spent re-painting the bedroom and that won’t take that long at all, so go ahead and start planning your bedroom’s new look.

9. Add Some Fresh Flooring

If you have hard surface floors, add some color and style to the room by incorporating a few area rugs and/or carpet runners. This is an especially good idea come winter time as the carpet will help keep your feet off the cold floor and help insulate the room.

This article was originally published by  on