Furniture Remakes

by Kathy Wilson


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One of the biggest problems budget decorators face is having attractive furniture even when the budget doesn't allow for new. Sometimes, we just have to make do with what we have. Here are some great ways to transform what you already own, or can cheaply buy to fill your furniture needs, and make it look great!

Upholstered Furniture

Generally, when you think of your sofa and chairs, you figure the only way to remake them is to slipcover or re-upholster. While I am a big fan of slip covering (could be 'cause I have 8 kids!), there are easier ways to dress up your couch or chair.

  • Cover just the bottom cushions with a fabric that coordinates with both the piece and the room. The bottom cushions are usually the ones with the most wear, and this technique appears very custom. Choose your fabric in the same intensity as the couch fabric. For example, if your couch is a muted green, choose muted gold or muted blues or the like for the cushion covers. However, if you have a bright white couch, feel free to go with clearer, brighter colors. Also, use a color that is seen in the rest of the room, to pull it all together.

  • Distract. Now that you have the cushion covers in place, add pretty distractions in the form of throw pillows and throw blankets. Again, use colors from the room.

  • Paint the wall behind the piece a similar shade and intensity of the couch. This will take focus away from the couch, and it will appear to disappear into the wall.

  • Lastly, be sure to spend some time creating other focal points around the room to draw the eye away form the piece. Make a pretty display on your coffee table, drape a piece of lace over your mantle and fill with candlesticks. Just remember to keep that eye moving, and it will forget all about the tired sofa, and see it as a well-worn friend of the room instead!

Case Goods

You have several choices when it comes to the case goods such as tables, bookcases, and armoires.

  • One of the cheapest and highly recommended is paint. You can paint almost anything these days, even that cheap laminate furniture! If you have a non-porous piece such as a photo laminate bookcase, prime it first with a specialty primer such as BIN or KILZ. Your paint technique of choice will now adhere properly, and you can transform it in anyway you like!

  • Need a cheap table? You can disguise even an inexpensive card table with my techniques. I needed a small breakfast table in my kitchen for the little ones, but couldn't put out a couple hundred dollars, and most tables were too big for the area anyway. I bought a small card table at my local Wal-Mart for just a few dollars and disguised it. I used tubes of fabric shirred onto the table legs to hide those hideous things, then layered tablecloths and place mats over the tabletop. The layering adds a sumptuousness to distract from the meager proportions of the table. I used accessories to further distract, and voila! A sweet little breakfast table for less than $45 dollars!

  • You can get even more creative with used wood furniture by covering drawer fronts with fabric and a staple gun, gluing broken tiles or dishes on in a mosaic, or decoupaging images cut from gift-wrap onto the surface. (Plain white glue works fine for this, and remember the dollar shop when searching for gift wrap!)

I hope you got some great ideas to remake your furniture in style, and on even the tightest budget.


Kathy Wilson is an author, national columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For hundreds of free ideas and to sign up for her free online newsletter, please visit her at TheBudgetDecorator.com

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