Most of us would hate the idea of having to live with the same colour scheme and furniture for decades, but on the other hand, going out and buying brand new furniture every time we fancy a change isn’t a practical option either. There are several ways to change the look of a piece of furniture without spending lots of money, and it can take just an afternoon to update a bedroom or lounge.
The most obvious way of changing the appearance of an oak chest of drawers or pine table is to paint it. It is an easy task, but as with everything in DIY the key is in the preparation. Lots of old fashioned furniture is very heavily covered in dark varnish and it can take a lot of elbow grease and sandpaper to clean all of the varnish off. Unfortunately there is no short cut to this process, and paint applied on top of varnish will not take properly. Satinwood is a good choice to use for painting the wood as it is durable and has a slight sheen, but is not as slow to dry or difficult to work with as gloss.
If you simply cannot bear to paint granny’s oak chest of drawers, then consider changing the handles and creating a new top for it. Some very modern or brightly coloured handles can instantly drag a piece of furniture into the 21st century and give it an edgy look. Handles do not have to be expensive and can be picked up easily in DIY stores or on the internet. People of a crafty disposition can even get creative and make their own handles out of items such as corkscrews or forks. Get a heavy piece of glass cut and place an attractive piece of fabric or silk handkerchief underneath to make an attractive top for a table or desk.
The ideal craft for anyone who enjoys cutting and sticking is decoupage, which is simply cutting shapes from paper, magazines or wallpaper samples and then sticking them onto the surface of the furniture with glue. Use several layers of paper and different shapes to build up the design, then apply a layer of clear varnish over the top to fix the design in place and make it more durable. Decoupage is an excellent way of customising furniture for a baby or child’s room, and with a little practice and artistic flair, the end results can be impressive.
If all else fails and you are unable or unwilling to spend the time and energy customising furniture, the other cost-free option is to try to swap it for something else. Ask around friends and family and you may be surprised that someone is willing to swap their designer coffee table for the oak chest of drawers which doesn’t fit with your colour scheme. Ask friends to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, and post messages on local forums and websites. Car boot sales and charity shops can be a great place to pick up cheap furniture if a swap is not forthcoming.
If you're looking for a brand new oak chest of drawers instead to give your room the lift it needs check out the National Furniture UK's online store.