old furniture made new

THINK LIKE A PRO. 3 Steps to making an odd piece of furniture shine in your room

(Picture via homegirllondon.com)

I was at a friend’s the other day. In the corner of her entrance and in part of the living room were cramped together some odd pieces of furniture that didn’t look like they were very happy there.

They belonged to her mother, and she wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

Does she just add it to her own already-odd mix of furniture? Maybe someone in the family will take them. She was actually quite torn about it – there was an emotional attachment, but they didn’t really go with her style or the house.

What should she do?

Now, for me – if something doesn’t make you happy, why sit with it? Let it find a happy home somewhere else. But that can be hard when there are all sorts of emotions and other issues at play.

Before we get totally emotional, here’s what I think. It’s not the end of the world – you can turn it around. That sore point can become an area of marvellous delight in your home.

Every room needs a bit of drama

And sometimes that odd piece of furniture is exactly what is needed to add the spark to perk you up.

Here are the steps to make it happen.


Transform it – change it in a way to give it a fresh look, to make it stand proud again. And I know what you’re thinking – but I can’t, it’s a family heirloom, it’s been cherished and loved for years, how can I just change it? Well, think of it this way – you’re giving it a chance to be loved and cherished again. Much better than hiding it in the basement and resenting the space it takes up.

Just open your mind for a moment and imagine the unthinkable – no sin in that, right?

Imagine painting it in a striking colour. Just look at this darling piece.

Secretaire painted in bright orange colour brightens the raditional setting

The bright orange colour in which this vintage secretaire was painted catches the eye and adds a bit of humor to the traditional setting.  (Picture via Jill Sorensen)


What about a dazzling fabric, colourful and bright, or something gutsy like zebra print or glossy vinyl. A contemporary fabric on an old piece can be striking.

Dining room with the antique style chairs upholstered in different coloured fabrics.

This diningroom is brought to life with the antique style chairs upholstered in different coloured fabrics. Repeating the colours in the contemporary area rug confirms the tone of the room.  (Picture via Horchow)


Vintage chair upholstered in bright turquoise fabric against the backdrop of grey wainscoting and contemporary wallpaper

The vintage chair upholstered in bright turquoise fabric makes a bold statement against the backdrop of grey wainscoting and contemporary wallpaper. The green and patterned throw cushions brightens and completes the picture.  (Picture via 79ideas)


Change the hardware. That must be the most cost effective way to change the look add a bit of spunk to any old piece. There are so many options to choose from, glass, and brass, ceramic and leather and metal.



new glass knob on old door

New glass knobs for old furniture source


Dresser restored with a silvery grey paint and funky knobs

Restored with a silvery grey paint and funky knobs, this dresser is given a voguish flair.  (Picture via Lafactoriaplastica)


What about a new top? Here you can think of contrast – marble, stone, stainless steel, painted wood. Don’t try to match it.

An old table gets a new top with a mixture of traditional and industrial chairs

An old table gets a new top, and together with a mixture of traditional and industrial chairs create an interesting mix. The dark wall in the background and repeated colour in the ceiling frames the space beautifully.  (Picture via Desiretoinspire)


Add something outrageous in the room . Here you can break the rules a bit to play with scale, contrast and colour, adding an element that makes you want to look again and hover for a while. Something like an oversized pendant light, or glamorous chandelier to hang above your precious piece.

The red painted chairs in this kitchen adds a vibrant twist to the traditional style. The over-sized pendant lights and other large scale decorative items balances the bright colour of the chairs.  (Picture via House Beautiful)


Adding other textures – a comfy sheepskin, large cushions, a colourful throw to compliment and bring your piece to life.

Wooden bench in a current setting with a grey sheep skin and contemporary cushion

This timber bench fits right in with a current setting with a cuddly grey sheep skin, a contemporary cushion, and something green.  (Picture via Lottaslutan)


Repeat an element elsewhere in the room, like a colour from a piece of artwork repeated in a scatter cushion, or something as delightfully simple as a flower.

Blue painted dresser with throw cushion and fresh flowers in same colour with muted neutral tones

Repeating the blue of the painted dresser in the cushion and fresh flowers make this renovated dresser feel right at home in the muted neutral tones of the rest of the room.  (Picture via Kate Riley)


Add another item with a different style for balance.

A pair of lorldly end chairs in red to the dining table with period chairs

Adding a pair of lorldly end chairs to this dining table with period chairs, together with a row of contemporary framed prints and pendant light fitting changes the mood completely to a quirky and up-beat room.  (Picture via Blulabel Bungalo)


Give it some solid stability – now it’s time to pull the room together with a solid element that wraps the room and gives it stability. Think of the large areas of the space that are not always prominent, but that forms a backdrop for the space – the ceiling, the floor, that walls. These vast surfaces silently hover in the background, but subconsciously form a crucial part in completing the picture.

Paint the ceiling in a colour other than white. Just see how this painted ceiling swings the room from OK to striking.

Ceiling painted in a striking purple colour and mixed furniture pieces

Painting the ceiling in a striking colour completes this room with its mixed pieces, and creates an overall sense of balance.  (Picture via Thisoldhouse)


Use a  strong colour on the walls that wraps the entire room and bring it together.

This mix and match of furniture pieces in different styles, colour and scale live happily together in this livingroom

This mix and match selection of furniture pieces in different styles, colour and scale live happily together in this living room. The monotone wall in prominent colour ties the entire room together.  (Picture via Freshome)


Add large area rug in a to define the space and bring it together.

Living room with mix of furniture in different styles, colour and finishes and large area rug in bold stripes

In this living room the wonderful mix of furniture in different styles, colour and finishes is pulled together with the large area rug in bold pattern.  (Picture via Popsugar)


In the end, if your odd piece of furniture still doesn’t do anything for you – perhaps it time to let it go.

If you want to make the right choices form the start AND love your space, contact me for an online or in-person consultation


So tell me…

Have you found a smart way to make an odd piece of furniture work for your space? Please share your story here or write a comment – we’d love to hear your story.

What are you stuck with that makes your heart heavy? Do tell

Here’s a this simple test: When you walk into the room and see that odd piece, do you:

  1. Pretend it’s not there and just avoid it
  2. Try to convince yourself that you actually like it.
  3. Remind yourself that one day you WILL do something with it
  4. Sometimes look at it with a smile and feel glad that you have it

If numbers 1 to 3 – do something about it NOW. Every day that it just sits there, is a happy emotion stolen. Imagine the unthinkable.

If you enjoyed this article, or learned even the smallest something – let me know and share it with a friend.


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If you have a question that’s nagging at you about your space , send it to me right away. I love those questions.

If you’ve fallen out of love with your space and want to make it yours again, but do not know where to start, let’s chat.


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