We buy our furniture for the space we have, not the rooms we move into.
Dealing with the transition to a new home can be an interesting experience on many levels, but incorporating our old furniture into a new decor can be a particular challenge.
Your sofa might be too big or too small or too old-fashioned, your dining room set might look too old-fashioned or too weathered, your armchairs might be the wrong color. The mismatch with your newly furnished space can be incredibly disruptive and uncomfortable.
Image source: Jeanette Lunde
Most people don’t have the time or money to buy new furniture for a new room – plus, this is the best couch you’ve ever napped on, and this table brings back some fond memories of Thanksgiving dinner.
Image source: Studio Morton
The best and easiest way to meet this new challenge is to repurpose old furniture. No need to throw away your old furniture or hide it in a back room. There are many ways to give old furniture a modern twist, whether it’s about space, color, or style. Here are some tips on how to make old furniture look modern:
Image source: Eskuche Design
Dissolve furniture sets
Furniture sets can also narrow down your design choices in practical circumstances. For example, if a chair in a set of four should break and you had to replace it with what was just on hand, the strange chair is noticeable, almost painful to spot, especially when the rest of the furniture in the room fits the set perfectly .
Image source: Martha O’Hara Interiors
If you already have furniture sets in your house, you can make old furniture look new by dividing parts of those sets into separate rooms. Not only can this make combining furniture easier, but it can also breathe new life into these spaces.
The rooms have a touch of personality and you can add more freely. Think about it. Do the rooms in the furniture catalogs really look like comfortable places to live?
Image source: SF Girl By Bay
Don’t think about your furniture in the box. Many of us buy furniture with a specific theme or color palette. If that theme or colors change, it’s easy to wonder what on earth you are going to do with your old furniture.
Image source: Kathy Corbet Interiors
Just remember, there are no rules what you can do with your furniture! Think different. Do you have a brown armchair that you bought for your beach-themed living room? The tan should remind you of sand, to match the light coffee table and shell-pattern pillows.
Image source: Studio V interior design
Use a little imagination and drag the armchair from its beach to a new one. Accentuate it with zigzag patterns in pink and light blue. Get a sturdy looking coffee table and put a cow hide on the floor underneath. You now have a southwest room with an armchair that fits perfectly.
Do you want to shake off the sand completely? Try surrounding the armchair in dark woods and deep reds for a more stately feel. You are not tied to the room for which you bought the furniture.
Image source: Smith & Vansant Architects PC
Reuse is also an option. Use old dressers to store dishes. Table can make excellent computer tables or other work areas.
Mix it up
Add new furniture with your old one. This can help revitalize the furniture and space. It also gives you even more options to create a truly personalized atmosphere.
Pull everything together
A room is more than the sum of its parts. Sometimes you just need a piece of furniture, a work of art, a rug to bring all of your furniture together into a single space.
Image source: Michael Abrams Limited
Pull all the cements in your mismatched furniture and space into one piece, and suddenly what is harrowing seems magically harmonized.
Treat yourself to this and buy the treasure that you have been keeping your eye on. It can really save you money in the long run as you may not need as much new furniture as you thought you would.
Image source: Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.
Accents can make all the difference. New pillows, carpets, and curtains can change the overall look of the room. They also cost a lot less than new furniture. This option also makes it even easier to make changes if you think you might want to in the future.
Image source: Heather Garrett Design
Rejuvenate your furniture
Sometimes all you need to do is redesign your old furniture. A torn or worn sofa or chair can be upholstered to look brand new and completely different. New legs can be added to tables and chairs.
A table can look completely different with a new stain. You may find that an old piece of furniture is not as out of place as you thought after some tender loving care.
You can also add some covers to make it look like new IKEA covers.
Image source: Corynne Pless
Repairs are just the beginning of what you can do with old furniture. When you’re ready to sweat a little, you can recycle old furniture into something new, creative and unique. Add shorter legs to a dining table that is too small for a new coffee table.
Image source: Element Studios
Add door to bookcases. For something completely different, remove the back of a sofa to create a daybed, or even pull your arms off a chair to change the footprint. Be creative. Mix repairs with changes and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Update what needs to be updated
Some furniture is just a thorn in the side. Too big, wrong color, wrong pattern, weird style. Nothing you do can make it fit. Your best option is to bite the bullet and replace such items.
Image source: Paul Moon Design
If it’s big enough, this can upgrade and unify the entire space. The little things that seem out of place may not look like them anymore. I’m not going overboard, I’m slowly replacing things and only changing what really matters.
If you can’t afford a new table but really want to lose the one you have, put it up for sale on Craigslist. While you’re there, see what others are up for sale. Some websites, like Move Loot, will come to you and collect your things and help sell. You know what they’re saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Image source: Teddy Edwards
Leave some things behind
Only take what is important with you when you move. If it means something to you, bring it with you. Otherwise, if it is out of date, sell it or donate it to charity. If you keep old furniture, you may not have an opportunity to update your decor. Leaving some of it behind creates space for new items and new styles for a new home.