New Year’s Resolution: Refinish those Garage Sale Finds

Raise your hand if you made a New Year’s resolution this year!

Making the resolution is the easy part, the hard part is actually following through! Have no fear, the team at Hirshfield’s is here to keep you accountable! All month long we’ll be bringing your tips and advice to help you stick to your home improvement resolutions. We’ll be covering topics such as adding color to your space, getting your home organized and using more green products in your home. Today we want to help you finally tackle those garage sale, antique store and flea market finds and turn them into the beautiful showpieces you imagined them as.

Refinishing old furniture is not only a more environmentally friendly option than buying new, it is also a way to incorporate family heirlooms or sentimental pieces into your current design scheme. Not to mention, refinishing an old piece assures you that you’ll end up with a one-of-a-kind look!

A old side table transformed via DecorHacks
A old side table transformed via DecorHacks

You’ll want to start the refinishing process by wiping down your piece with soapy water so you can get a good look at it. Are there layers of paint or stain that need to be removed? Are there some gouges that could use some sanding or putty? Talk to your local paint professional to determine what steps you need to take to make sure your piece is ready to accept new paint or stain.

The before and after of a project that some Hirshfield's team members worked on
The before and after of a project that some Hirshfield’s team members worked on

Here is a refresher course in Kim Yeager, Minneapolis designer, owner of Lark Nest Design and self-proclaimed “junker”, tips for refinishing furniture:

  • You can paint metal. You can do a paint makeover on metal but the surface should be primed. Pieces with lots of curves lend themselves to a spray-on primer that comes in a can.
  • Primer is not always needed. Depending on the condition of the piece you’re working on, and how you plan to finish it, you may not have to apply a primer.  Sanding or deglossing could be all that’s required. Check out a Hirshfield’s product called Klean-Strip® Sander Deglosser.
  • Get to know your sander. Some people prefer to sand by hand, while others prefer using a small, iron-shaped hand sander that can easily get in to corners. The more you sand, the more you’ll pick up a technique. You don’t want to sand so deeply that you go beyond the top layer of wood.
  • Use a good brush: You don’t want to be fishing stray brush hairs out of your paint finish. Quality brushes will last for years if you clean them well (and promptly) after using.
  • Be patient. Give your paint makeover adequate time to dry between coats. The standard is 24 hours, but honestly, more is better with many paints, especially if there is humidity. The same goes for sealer. Don’t brush on or hand-apply without at least 24 hours of lag time since the last coat dried. If the paint is not totally dry, it will start to come off once you add the polyurethane finish.
A before and after of one of Kim’s projects featured on BobVila.com
A before and after of one of Kim’s projects featured on BobVila.com

Next comes the fun part – picking out the fabric, paint, stain and finishes! There really are no rules when it comes to determining the look of your finished piece, it really comes down to personal taste. Some people prefer to be more historically accurate with their design while others like to go for the unexpected such as pairing a bold, modern fabric with an antique chair.

A chevron dresser makeover via Twice Lovely
A chevron dresser makeover via Twice Lovely

Whatever option you go with, the team at Hirshfield’s wants to hear about your project! Share your tips, thoughts, questions, favorite products, etc… in the comments! And you can always share photos of your refinishing projects over on our Facebook page!

Hirshfield’s is your local Minneapolis-St. Paul paint retailer. The paint experts at Hirshfield’s are here to help you with everything from window-treatments to paint colors. Hirshfield’s manufactures paint right here in Minneapolis.

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