old furniture

Turn old furniture into modern masterpieces! 3 style problems and how to fix them

You can change the style of old furniture to fit your needs!

Even if it’s free, you might pass on that old piece of furniture because of its style. Maybe it sits too low, it’s too chunky, or it has too much decorative hardware. Today’s old furniture makeovers might require more than a coat of paint. You can fix second-hand style problems that others would get stuck on.

Furniture refinisher Sheila Carroll arms you with vision and confidence to flip old furniture.

Find more inspiration from Sheila on Instagram, @thefurnituresisters.


3 Old Furniture Style Problems and How to Fix Them

Style Problem One: Simplify

Many older pieces of furniture can be very ornate…they can have heavy trim work on drawers and cupboards, carvings, metal or wood accents, dated hardware.


With a highboy dresser project we simplified the design of this piece by:

  • Splitting it into two pieces of furniture, adding legs to top piece to create a new dresser
  • Removing heavy ornamentation and trim
  • Replacing hardware


Style Problem Two: Elevate

Many older dressers and nightstands lie flat on the ground. Most bedroom furniture nowadays is taller than the vintage styles.


With our cedar chest project, just elevating, or raising up the piece off the ground gives the piece a lighter, more open feel.

You can elevate by:

  • Removing the base and adding new, modern legs. Buy new legs at hardware stores or on Amazon.
  • We also simplified it by popping off the decorative layer on the drawer fronts, repairing the damage with wood putty. We finished by painting the piece and adding new hardware.


Style Problem Three: Color

A lot of outdated pieces will have an out of date color. You can update stained surfaces, or painted surfaces, or do a combination of both!


In our nightstand project, we simplified by removing gold accents hardware. We elevated it by removing base trim and adding new legs. Then we changed color with a two-tone finish. We stained the top with a beige wash and painted the bottom.


The Furniture Sisters, Sheila and Janelle, have been flipping furniture for 5 years. They are frequent shoppers at Saver’s and Deseret Industries hoping to find the most unique pieces to makeover. Sheila is most proud of her grandmother title to three grand-cuties and Janelle is busy with her three children. Teaching and inspiring others to makeover their furniture is what they love most about their Instagram and YouTube platforms. You may find them frequently sharing recipes, decorating tips, and budget friendly home improvements. Happy Painting! 

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