6 Quick Tips for DIY Vintage Restoration

6 Quick Tips for DIY Vintage Restoration


This month, we’re sharing vintage inspired projects with you. Vintage and shabby chic restoration is one of the hottest trends at the moment, so we want to equip you with the tools to get started on your own projects! When you have step-by-step instructions, it makes the project a little less daunting. But what if you want to restore some old furniture? Or an old, musty and smelly cabinet? Restoring old pieces can be tricky, so we’ve got a few quick tips from our contributors and a few DIY sites to help you become a master at home!


  1. Determine a Budget. How much are you willing to spend to restore the antique piece you’ve chosen to work with? Do a little research to determine what supplies the project will require. Will you need to rent a sanding tool from your local hardware store? How much paint will you use? Will you need to replace any parts? Determine how much you’re willing to spend up front so that you can plan accordingly.  
  2. Take pictures. You may need to take apart your original antique piece. If you’re like me, you don’t have a photographic memory. Make sure you take before pictures so that you have a reference when piecing the item back together. Plus, then you can show off your before and after work! We found this tip- as well as a few others below- at TLC How Stuff Works.
  3. Dedicate a good amount of space for the restoration. Remember that you most likely will not finish the restoration process in one sitting, so make sure it’s in a place that is out of the way of your normal house activities. Your project could take anywhere between a week to a few weeks. Depending on the size of your project, make sure you have enough space to move around and use potentially large tools.
  4. Reduce smells and clean. Make sure you wipe down your antique piece with a cloth before you start working. There may be wood shavings, dust…who knows! For odors, you can use kitty litter or baking soda to get rid of musty smells. Just pour either powder inside areas like drawers. Then, leave it to sit for several days.
  5. Take your time! Restoration projects can be tedious, but doing them accurately is very important. Tasks can include prepping the item through stripping and sanding techniques. You also may need to allow appropriate drying times for painting. Taking shortcuts might you save you a few minutes in the short term, but in the long run, it could lead to an inaccurate finished product.
  6. Use common tools. These are a few common tools you’ll want on hand for any restoration project. Check them out so you’re prepared!


Want more tips on restoring furniture? DIY Network has quite a few on how to stain, restore old metal, what wood refinishing tools to use and more.


The rest is up to you and your imagination. Be sure to stay safe and wear goggles while you’re working. Plus, you may want a face mask on hand. If you’ve restored an antique piece before or are planning to do one now, we’d love to see it! Please share it in our Idea Exchange. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below, and we’ll respond!

Labels: Editorial| Medium
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