Refurbishing Furniture

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 172 Posts
July 26, 2010

An old dresser fixed up with rope drawer handles.This is a chest of drawers I painted and stenciled for my sewing room.

Approximate Time: 4 hours not counting drying time



  1. First I washed the chest well and then I sanded lightly to remove the shine. I then primed the whole chest with a latex primer. At this point you might want to number your drawers because sometimes even though they look the same size, they are not. I found out that the hard way.
  2. After thoroughly drying, paint the chest the color of your choice. I painted mine a grassy green to go with the rest of the room. You might need two coats if your coverage is not good with the first one.
  3. Next, I did the stencil in the middle of the drawer. You can either use paint for this or if you have a thicker stencil, you can use the joint compound or Spackle to apply over the stencil. This raises it, and gives dimension to your project. When using this stencil, after applying the compound, immediately lift the stencil and wash it off so it is clean for the next drawer.

    After allowing to dry, about 4 hours, you are ready to paint it. Place stencil back on the dried compound and paint it, being careful not to get any under the stencil. Do each drawer and allow to dry. If you have a hard time getting the paint off your stencil, use denatured alcohol.
  4. For top coat: Mix 2 parts ivory paint with 2 parts glaze OR you can use water instead of glaze, but you have longer working time with the glaze. To glaze, dip just the tip of your brush in the ivory mixture and brush some off on newspaper. Then lightly brush over the grass green paint and over the stencil. Remember that you do not need much paint, you just want to lightly touch and glide across. Let the glaze application dry.
  5. Make handles by using clothesline rope. Cut off a length that is long enough to make a square knot in the middle and long enough to insert through both holes where the former handles were.
  6. A drawer handle made out of rope.


  7. NOTE: Before cutting, put Scotch tape around where you will cut or it will fray out. You will be tying them together in the back of the face of the drawer so you will need a good length. Test one out for length before cutting all of them. I bought this rope at the $1 store so needless to say, it was a very economical way to replace the handles. This was a fun project. I had the paint already so I just paid $15 for the chest and $1 for the rope, very economical project.
  8. By Elaine from IA

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December 28, 2010

A glass top coffee table can be changed to match the seasons. Every few months. I gather leaves from either my cedar or oak tree and lay them atop the glass.


I give it a light coat of spray paint, remove the leaves and once dried, flip the glass over.

Leaf Patterned Glass Table Top


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 107 Feedbacks
April 3, 2007

When we were younger we bought our kids dresser at a garage sale, but the handles were missing. We couldn't afford to buy any. So, my husband strung rope through the holes and tied a knot inside to hold it in place.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
July 6, 2012

I was not liking the way my kitchen chairs were looking; they are 20 years old. I didn't want to buy new ones, so I gave them a coat of white paint and bought a new chair pad for them.


They look so much better.

Painted chair with new pad.


December 29, 2007

These two items were being tossed by a friend. So, of course I had to bring them home. The legs on the TV tray were tarnished and the top was pretty beat up. Some paint, some decoupage and a new tray.

Salvage Chair and TV Tray


March 23, 2005

Quick ideas for touching up scratches and dings on furniture. Post your ideas.


February 22, 2012

Take all mismatched furniture and create a entertainment center. You can purchase spray cans of Stone at Wal-Mart, Home Depot or any place they sell spray paint.


It gives a ceramic looking finish.

Use "Stone" Spray Paint To Refurbish Furniture



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

September 30, 2022

My trunks appear to be junk...
My chests arent the best...
That being said...
I'm motivated to take these styles & slates & turn them into something great!A light colored trunk with wood bands.


-Thanks for staying long enough to hear me say/rap/poem all of this. I just gave you guys some entertainment, therefore cough it up boys, I need some answers.

  1. I need to know what year or at least decade each trunk was manufactured in. (Close as you can get to its actual age)

  2. Style and what levels of society back then would of had say a Steamer or Camel Top, etc.

  3. Dammed if I do and Damned if I don't! Should I try and do any and every modifier I see to helping my opinion raise trunks value?

  4. I'm going to send over photos of the pieces that haven't been able to sell and please give me honest opinion and feedback here. I promise not to get mad but I need to know from professionals in here what they would of or wouldn't of done.

  5. Last but not least give me the value now and value fixed

A steamer trunk painted white.
An old steamer trunk.
A label on a trunk that says "Henry's Treasures."
A decorated steamer trunk.
What Am I Doing Wrong With These Trunks?
Colorful steamer trunk panels.
A painted steamer trunk.
A decorated steamer trunk.
A decorated steamer trunk.
A painted steamer trunk.
What Am I Doing Wrong With These Trunks?
A painted steamer trunk.
A decorated steamer trunk.
A painted steamer trunk.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 30, 20220 found this helpful

You have both flat-topped trunks and domed trunks. Some have been altered decoratively, which may take away from their value.

The value of trunks can vary from less than $100 to over $1000, depending upon condition.

If I were you, I would make an appointment with a dealer.

September 30, 20220 found this helpful

You trunks are from early 20th century.

You have Flat top and Camelback trunks, one trunk is a mix of flat and dome top.

Vintage WOOD STEAMER TRUNK w Key chest coffee table storage box luggage antique is listed at $149.99

Panted Antique Baby Blue Humpback Trunk +Tray Doll Chest Footlocker Camelback Storage is listed at $209.99

Antique Victorian Steamer Camel back Trunk Chest Painted White With Flowers sold on Sep 11, 2022 for $200

I would recommend you these great resources:
Antique trunks -- identification & price guide by Linda Edelstein & Paul Pat Morse. ISBN 0-87349-646-9

Antique trunks "a time line of trunks 1770-1930" evaluation & price guide by Linda Edelstein & Paul Pat Morse. ISBN 0-9709883-03

Antique trunks - refinish - repair - restore by Linda Edelstein & Paul Pat Morse. ISBN 0-9709883-1-1


Bronze Tip Medal for All Time! 59 Tips
September 30, 20220 found this helpful

This has a lot of good information for trunks:
I think some people may like refurbished trunks...while others prefer them in their original condition.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 30, 20220 found this helpful

I'm sorry but you're asking for a lot of information on how many different trunks??
Your pictures are confusing to me (maybe not others) as I cannot tell what you have or what you have redone or even the number of trunks.
You cannot compare different trunks when comparing values as each one is an individual item in style, condition, location, and more. Location is very important to the final value as most of these will be too costly to ship.

This trunk has been listed for sale for over a year and has not sold. It is a good example of what type of pictures are necessary when posting an item like this.
Check out location and cost of shipping.

I cannot help you with your questions but I will provide a few links that may be of help:

September 30, 20220 found this helpful

The first chest is Slightly Curved Top Trunk, then Flat Top Trunk, Camelback/Humpback Trunk.

The pink/white/decal chest is from 1911-1940, flat top trunk from 19th.

"A true steamer trunk is a low profile trunk, no more than about 14" high, but can be small or large in length. The size requirement was one the steamship company's imposed. Some makers also advertised that their trunk would fit under any berth on any ship. Trunks that were brought into your cabin were referred to as "On Voyage". Here is a quote from the R.M.S. Aquitania,
"Baggage wanted on the voyage must be limited in size to 14 inches in height, 2 feet in width; and 3 feet 8 inches in length."

This vintage trunks chests Edwardian wood antique white used leather handle large is very similar to your pink chest
Bidding has ended (Aug 21, 2022) with 1 bid - $50.

This Antique Steamer Trunk was sold for $100, 1 bid (Jul 14, 2022)

I found a Painted Blue/Flowers Chic Shabby Country Cottage Vintage Trunk with starting bid $69.99, 0 bids

Antique American Pink Painted Wood Steamer Trunk or Blanket Chest, 19th Century was sold for $1500

September 30, 20220 found this helpful

Search patent numbers and the locksmith's name, they will help date the trunks.

I found a Painted Blue/Flowers Chic Shabby Country Cottage Vintage Trunk with starting bid $69.99, 0 bids

Vintage STEAMER TRUNK storage chest camelback humpback is listed at $89.99

I think it is easier to sell a restored vintage trunk than a repainted/decorated trunk.

Here is a step by step instruction 'Restoring a Vintage Steamer Trunk':

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November 11, 2013

Our cedar swing looks old. What is the best way to make it look new again?

By D Phillip


November 14, 20130 found this helpful

Sand the rough spots, then 'paint' it with linseed oil. You'll need multiple coats of the oil and it will be beautiful. Linseed oil also protects from rain. Remember to give it another coat each year. If it's exposed to the sun it will eventually darken and look even better!

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January 22, 2012

I have a plain glass table top. I would like it better crackled. Is crackled a word? Does anyone know how to do this? The table is about 58 inches round. Thanks.

By Hedy P


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 679 Feedbacks
January 30, 20120 found this helpful

I think there might be a spray product that you can use to give the table a crackled effect - yes crackled is the right word. I don't think you really want to actually try altering the glass itself - you might have a mess of broken glass on your hands. It would involve heating it & suddenly cooling it. We used to do that with marbles in a frying pan, but I don't recommend doing it to something as large as a table top.

Another alternative would be to cover it with contact plastic that has a crackle pattern in it, or perhaps with a piece of plastic lens in a crackle pattern, that they use for covers over long fluorescent ceiling lights; this would have to be cut carefully but could possibly work. Good luck with your project, but be careful with the glass.

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Check out these photos.

July 9, 2005

I'm the type that likes to use what I got. In this case what I got was two side chairs that didn't match my living room. I decided to make it match with my carpet.

Refurbished chairs in a zebra print.


May 7, 2021

This project cost me $1 to do! All I had to buy was the $1 decal from Dollar Tree. I got the cabinet from "loose trash" from the next door neighbor. It was in good condition but in need of some exterior improvement to "doll it up" a little!

A white dresser with sticker designs on the front of the drawers.

December 13, 2016

This is a page about refurbishing goodwill patio chairs. Over time exposure to the elements can damage patio chairs. Refurbishing them is a great way to give new life to your patio chairs.

Refurbishing Goodwill Patio Chairs

June 22, 2016

This is a page about refurbishing a dresser. Save money on furniture with some time and paint, by giving an old chest of drawers a new look.

Dresser in the process of being painted black

July 6, 2013

This is a page about refinishing wood furniture. Refinishing wood furniture is a great way to recycle an older piece or repair damage to the surface finish of furniture.

Refinishing Wood Furniture

January 7, 2022

I saw this idea in a magazine.

The finished Upcycled Chair Bench

May 25, 2021

This cupboard makeover takes it from boring to amazing! Find a cupboard with a straight sided recessed part. It could be a jelly cupboard or armoire type of cupboard or anything else that works.

A cupboard with decoupaged pages on the panels.

Home and Garden Home Improvement Furniture RefinishingMarch 29, 2012
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