How to Update Old Furniture

Today I am sharing how to update old furniture.  There are so many cheap easy ways to update older furniture.  It just takes a little work and creativity.

How to Update Old Furniture Video:

Why Choose Old Furniture

First I want to explain why older furniture is usually the better choice.  We had been searching for a buffet table for our dining room. 

Just a simple cupboard to store our table cloths and cookbooks.  The trouble was all of the affordable brand-new furniture was very flimsy and lightweight.

Mostly made of particleboard! 

It seemed the price for the new furniture did not meet the quality I expected.  In the end, the obvious choice was a second-hand buffet table that we could update.

This article may include affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” You can find my full disclosure at the bottom of this page. 


The Buffet Table

By using Facebook market place we were able to find a quality second-hand buffet table in a few days.  This buffet was very unique in the fact that the top extends out and gives you more room to serve. 

Those are the type of details that are rarely found in new cheap furniture these days.  The only problem is we like light-colored furniture.

So we decided to give it an update with some sanding and staining. 

This buffet table also had a lot of damage from years of use that were easily erased once we started sanding. 


Buffet table before


Update Old Furniture:

Start by removing all of the hardware and sanding the table.  We used our Bosch orbital sander, this is great for the large flat areas.

With a sander, you will be able to get your furniture down to bare wood in a few minutes.

Start sanding with 80 grit then move up to 100, then 120, 150, and finish with 220 grit sandpaper.


The doors to the buffet were more intricate which involved hand sanding.

This will take a little longer but makes a huge difference to the finished product.

Hand sand the doors

I decided the hardware would look more modern in a matte black color.

Rust-Oleum is my go-to spray paint!  It gives you great coverage and works on almost any surface.

Just be sure to read the can and pick what type of surface you are going to spray it on.

Spray paint the hardware – I used a can of Rust-Oleum in matte black, which was surprisingly cheap. 

One tip I have for spray painting hardware is to put it in a large box so there isn’t any overspray. 

Only spray a little at a time and let it dry before spraying another coat. 

A trick for spraying the tops of screws is to jam them into the cardboard so they are standing up.

This makes it much easier to paint with no smudges. 

Spray paint screws

Spraying many coats is better than having drips!

spray paint hardware


Stain the furniture

I used the lightest stain I could find in Home Depot.  I didn’t want to paint this project because I think it looks nice when the wood grain can show through.

Varathane wood stain in antique white was an excellent choice, updating the buffet from dark brown to a vintage white.

Our home decor is mostly bright and white so it is nice to have the wood grain showing a little.  You can find this stain on amazon to see all of the directions, but I just applied the stain and let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Then wipe it off completely with a dry cloth.


Finishing Touch

For the final update, I added some new knobs to the doors.

I decided on something with a little more interest than the plain wood from before.

Finished Buffet Updated furniture


Where to Buy Second Hand Furniture

There are a ton of places to buy used furniture, but I have had a lot of success at these places.

  • Offer Up – This is an app where you can buy and sell things online.  I have found a used stroller and my son’s bike on this app. We also sold our retro dining table, some bar stools, and a vintage side table. 

    My recommendation is to check this app often because the good things go quickly and ask a lot of questions before you waste your time. 

    If you are selling something make sure you write that your price is firm or people always ask for less.


  • Facebook marketplace – This is an amazing place to find great local deals.  We bought our son’s dresser and we bought the buffet table using FB marketplace. The nice thing about using the marketplace is people seem to get back to you fast. 

    It also seems to be first come first served, if you make an offer usually the seller will work with you before giving the next person the deal. 

    Again check often because there are great deals coming up all the time.


  • Goodwill and Thrift Stores – Second-hand stores are great for finding a good discount, but there are a lot of drawbacks. For instance, you have no idea what they will have when you get there, so you might waste a trip driving there. 

    I have found certain stores are off on their pricing.  They are charging what you would pay for a new item!  Just be aware of the pricing and go with an open mind.

5 Reasons to Update Old Furniture

  1. You will save so much money!
  2. Your home will look more original because you can’t buy this at the store.
  3. Older furniture is usually made better, and people usually sell their expensive used furniture.  That means it is high quality in most cases.
  4. Get creative.  Updating old furniture can be a lot of fun.
  5. Actually, make money.  If you can find a good deal on a piece of furniture, update it, then sell it!

Updating old furniture can be fun and save you a lot of money.  What have you updated lately? 



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1 thought on “How to Update Old Furniture”

  1. The part where you mentioned that the older furniture pieces are usually better got me thinking about our antique ones. My husband asked me if he could get rid of them but I haven’t given him an answer yet. Maybe we should consider taking them to a shop and get the upholstery fixed to see if they can still be used.

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