Affordable Ways to Modernize Old Furniture


Have you ever had old furniture that you just can’t get rid of? Maybe your grandparents gave it to you as a gift and it has sentimental value to you. Maybe you’ve found some awesome antique pieces at your local thrift shop that you’d like to incorporate into your modern home design.

The problem with having old furniture sitting around is that sometimes those items do not fit into the modern design of your home. So what do you do with outdated furniture that you can’t part with?

Simple, you modernize it. By making a few updates to your existing furniture, you’ll be able to fit classic pieces into your home. Modernizing and making use of old furniture saves money and it’s also helps you to be eco-friendly.  Here’s a few affordable tips to help you modernize your old furniture.


Refinishing old furniture is the easiest way to update old furniture. By refinishing old wood furniture, you give the piece a fresh new look. Also refinishing repairs scratches and other damage. By refinishing you add value to the piece. Sometimes it can be a lot of work but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.


Reupholstering antique dining room chairs or a couch requires a little bit of craftiness. It may take some practice but it’s definitely not impossible to learn. Reupholster your old furniture with vibrant fabrics that will bring life to your room. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and fabrics. Use different designs like zigzags poca dots, or damask to give your chairs a modern look. If you find reupholstering to be too difficult, you can always opt for some inexpensive slipcovers instead.

Use Stencils

Using stencils to modernize old furniture really can make an old piece fun and funky. You can find cheap stencils on websites like amazon and ebay. Stencils come in all sorts of very neat patterns. You can use stencils on table tops, table legs, old dressers, ottomans, or even an antique armoire. A great stencil design can turn any boring piece of furniture into something gorgeous.

Add Some Fancy Pillows

If you have a plain couch that could use a little bit of modernization, a simple solution is to add some fun pillows. Pillows can be a very inexpensive fix. You can usually find great pillows at discount stores like Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, or Marshalls. Don’t be afraid to play with some colors and designs. Try brightening up your couch by adding a fun gold or platinum colored pillow to the couch.

Change Out Hardware

A simple change of a knob can make a piece of furniture look brand new. Trade out old hardware for a more contemporary look. There are plenty of affordable options for hardware at your local hardware store. Replace old brass knobs and handles with something more whimsical and contemporary. Try going with a simple silver colored knob or handle to give your furniture an instant upgrade.


Some of you probably never heard of this word before in your life. Decoupage is the art of decorating by which you decorate a furniture with decorative paper. You basically paste cut outs to the furniture and then cover with lacquer. Decoupaging can be easy and fun to do. It will definitely give any antique piece a modern and creative look. The best part about doing this is that you can find paper for next to nothing at any store or can use paper from around your house.


Last but not least one of the easiest and simplest way to modernize old furniture is to paint. You’d be amazed at how a fresh coat of paint can make furniture look brand new. By taking an antique piece and painting it something bright and fun, not only gives the furniture a modern look but it also can brighten up a room.

Even if you’re not into bright colors, painting something as simple as a table, a nice clean white can give your room a very fresh modern look. If white is not your taste, try painting your furniture a black for a crisp modern look. The great thing about painting is that you can always find paint on sale at almost any store and even the least crafty person can paint something and make it look amazing.

What are some ways that you modernize old furniture? Would you use any of these techniques make your furniture more contemporary?

Author Bio

Romona Bradham is the owner of, a lifestyle blog which helps millenials achieve financial stability. Romona’s work has been featured on various sites. When she’s not blogging, she enjoys writing fiction novels. You can connect with Romona at, Google+, and Twitter.


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  1. Great post! My wife and I did a lot of this kind of thing while we were trying to sell our stuff and pay off our debt.

    We found a couple of worn down looking folding bookshelves sitting outside of our community garbage area, (not the norm for us) and took them home, sanded them down and gave them a new coat of paint. Took us 2 evening to do and we turned around and sold them for $100 on Craigslist.

    Getting creative and doing these kinds of things allowed us to pay off $30K in debt in about a year or so. More of the same please!

  2. I love decoupage! I had an elementary school teacher who turned me on to Mod Podge and I haven’t turned back!

    I really want to move out of the urban environment so I can have space to modernize furniture and paint it. How I miss having a garage to do fun stuff like that in!

  3. Over the years, I have bought and restored antique furniture. I only restore it to the original condition. There are some oak pieces that required stripping off various dark stains because oak went out of fashion.

  4. I recently stripped, sanded, and refinished our coffee table. It was actually kinda fun and breathing some of the fumes from the stripper make it even more enjoyable…but seriously, it wasn’t that hard and the table looks brand spanking new.

  5. My father is a master of buying cheap antiques and refinishing them. I’m working on a post right now about one of his best projects ever. My parents furnished our home with many pieces he fixed up. He saved the family a tremendous amount of money utilizing his skills. Sadly, I haven’t picked up on the skill to the extent he has it.

    1. I can definitely understand where your coming from. My grandparents used to refurbish furniture and I didn’t know how to do it either until I just started googling and researching how to do things. So it’s never too late to learn.Thanks for commenting!

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