Furniture Renovation: 10 Ways to Freshen Up Your Furniture

Hello everyone! We all know the feeling of walking into a room and growing tired of the look and feel of it. We all know you can paint, put down new floors, or buy all new furniture; BUT, When your money is limited, you may not be able to afford all new floors or furniture. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have great-looking transformed furniture in every room of your home. Here are 10 quick, simple, and inexpensive furniture renovation upgrades and ideas for your current pieces that can transform the look and vibe of any room!

These are all things we have done in our house or our families homes and are items and products we keep around the garage at almost all times just in case. Remember, when you remove hardware, shelves, footers, tops, legs, or anything in between you don’t have to toss them out; you can restore those and swap with your other pieces!

Renovation Tip 1: Upgrade the assembly hardware

The quality of your furniture normally directly correlates to the quality of your assembly hardware, and things like bolts and screws are frequent points of failure. If you want your furniture to last longer, try upgrading the hardware with better-quality screws, nuts, and bolts or even for aesthetics change like window film, new hardware colors (yep, you can use spray-paint!) or screen designs.

renovated cabinet door with new accessories
New knobs, paint, and a peel-n-stick stained class visual

Renovation Tip 2: Apply a fresh coat of stain or varnish

Inexpensive furniture needs even more protection since the initial finishes are often subpar. Adding a fresh coat of wood varnish or stain will protect that inexpensive wood and help it last longer (this will also help cover or fix any scratches or blemishes). You can also change shades by mixing stains to renovate furniture in your own unique way with a personal touch.

Recently, when removing old coats we have been using 2 Minute Remover Advanced and it’s been working great! If you want to learn more about it and how to properly use this product, be sure to check out our review! Oh, one final tip a lot of people forget; make sure to clean your furniture first and then sand and dust between coatings. 

Update: Veneer can’t really be re-stained or coated.  If you must re-use your veneer we would recommend a simple deep clean or painting (which we cover later in this article).

dresser after renovation

Renovation Tip 3: Use care when moving

No matter if you are moving antique, high-end, or inexpensive furniture, you need to use extra care, as thin legs and poor-quality slats could easily give way due to cheaper parts or wear and tear from age. 

Below is a picture of what we always try to keep on hand:

  • Sliders (various sizes)
  • Hooks (various sizes and load capacities)
  • Wrapping tape 
  • Tarps
  • Furniture Dollies
  • Straps
  • Zip-ties
  • Our son (joke but not)

Whether the move is to the next room or another home, handle the pieces gently to make the relocation successful.

furniture renovation moving and care supplied

Renovation Tip 4: Limit sun exposure

Some poor-quality finishes on inexpensive pieces of furniture are particularly susceptible to sun damage, so limit UV exposure as much as possible. Moving the pieces to less sunny parts of the room and keeping the curtains closed during the hottest part of the day are two great ways to keep your cheap furniture looking great. We added vinyl shading to many of the homes in our windows to better insulate the house and to protect the furniture.

renovated front entry way
Deflecting the sun helps preserve all your pieces

Renovation Tip 5: Replace skinny or weak legs

From bed frames to dressers, old furniture tends to have skinny and poor-quality legs. Replacing those skinny legs with better-quality fittings can improve the looks and even extend its useful life and durability. It can also make an outdated piece look renovated and fresh again!

Renovation Tip 6: Keep some wood filler/wood glue on hand

If you want to keep your furniture looking great and make it last longer, wood filler can be your best friend. Keeping a bottle of wood filler on hand will make it easy to repair minor damage before it has a chance to get worse. Scratches, scuffs, small holes, and the like can all be fairly easily fixed with wood filler. Items like wood filler or wood glue are powerful tools when it comes to renovating or restoring furniture, so we make sure to always have some around!

wood filler bottle
Just a quick reminder to check out our other recent posts for more great tips!

Renovation Tip 7: Check the fittings and fasteners regularly

The bolts and screws used to assemble furniture can loosen over time, and cheafurniture suffers from this problem even more often. Checking those fittings and tightening the fasteners will help you avoid breakage and extend the useful life of those inexpensive furniture pieces.

checking hinges on a door

Renovation Tip 8: Fill holes, scratches, and cracks in particleboard

A majority of cheap furniture is constructed using particleboard, an inexpensive substitute that is far less sturdy than traditional wood. You can make that particleboard more sturdy by filling in the cracks and holes with a good-quality polyvinyl acetate, or PVA, glue. This special glue is widely available, inexpensive, versatile, and very easy to use, so keep some on hand and use it as needed.

Renovation Tip 9: Upgrade the upholstery

From couches to chairs, the upholstery on inexpensive furniture is often cheap and shoddy. You can improve your comfort level and make those pieces look better by investing in higher-quality cushions.

reupholstered chairs
Re-upholstered chairs

Renovation Tip 10: Use the appropriate tools and cleaners

If you want your furniture to last as long as possible, keep it clean, but not just any cleaner will do. Knowing what your furniture is made of and who manufactured it will allow you to choose appropriate cleaning products.  Just remember, like sanding, when cleaning with harsher chemicals you will want to go with the grain so not to damage the wood or look. Also be sure to remove any loose or caked dirt, peeling paint, before using cleaning chemicals. This will allow for a smoother application and settling of the cleaners.

This is a great tip for appliances to!  You can use oils, cleaners, and different cloths to clean and restore all of your appliances.  

Wiping off wood surface by hand

Other Helpful Resources


Decorating your home does not have to be expensive! If you know how to shop and how to care for the pieces you can afford, you can make your home look amazing no matter how tight your budget. All it takes is a little creativity, some hard work, some not-so hard work, and a little research and the end result can be a completely fresh look to a room or a specific piece. The cost of doing this can vary so much it’s hard to put a range.  As a reminder, once you are done renovating your furniture you can sell it if it no longer fits your needs, SO, if the end goal is sell the piece, you certainly will want to research price ranges to determine what your return would be based on costs.

Let us know what you think!

-The Olive Road

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