Home Decorating Tips

New Year, Old Treasures: Restoring Antique Wood Furniture

Learn how to expertly restore wooden antiques.

Home Decorating Tips

New Year, Old Treasures: Restoring Antique Wood Furniture

Posted on February 14, 2024

This 2024, make your personal spaces feel brand new with restorations to existing furniture. If you have wooden furniture at home, you may want to start restoring these pieces, so they look better and last longer.

Restoring wood furniture, especially among beginners, may seem daunting, but this can be doable with the right products and process. Channel your inner DIY-er and learn how to clean and restore antique wood furniture with this guide.

Take Note: Top 2 Ways to Restore Antique Wooden Furniture

Throughout the years, DIY experts have tried many different ways to restore antique wooden surfaces and give them a new lease on life. Here are two of the most popular techniques you can try when it comes to refurbishing these kinds of surfaces:

  1. Painting: Applying a new coat of paint is one of the most recommended techniques for beginners, given how straightforward and simple the process is. Painting is also recommended for surfaces that are still in good condition.

    Choose from oil-based, water-based, latex, acrylic, and chalk paints. Each of these paints has its own pros and cons that you may want to take note of. 

    If you’re willing to paint wooden furniture, you’ll also need good-quality paintbrushes, a clean wooden surface, paint primer, and a finishing coat, aside from the paint itself. 

  2. Staining: In the context of furniture restoration, staining refers to the application of a wood stain onto the surface. This is a good choice if maintaining and showcasing the wood’s natural grain is your goal, but you feel like the surface needs a little switching up.

    Wood stains are usually semi-transparent or fully transparent, although there are opaque options you can choose as well. The staining process usually entails sanding the wooden surface first before priming and applying the product.  

How to Restore Antique Wooden Furniture With the Right Prep

As highlighted in the previous section, you can expect different outcomes if you’ll be using either paint or stain for a wooden surface. 

However, before even using any of these, it is important to prepare the surface adequately so the product you choose adheres to it well. Keep these preparation tips in mind:

  1. Protect the floor from paint or stain spills by placing a plastic sheet on the floor or on the work surface. Afterward, put a canvas cloth or a contractor’s paper over the plastic. This helps lessen the risk of paint soaking or spilling into the floor while providing you with a non-slip surface.

  2. Clean the wood using a damp cloth. Wipe the surface to remove dirt, dust, grime, and oils. Afterward, rinse the wood using clean and warm water, and wipe with another clean cloth. Wait for the wood to dry completely.

  3. Once the wood is dry, check for holes, dents, or scratches. If there are any, fill them up with a high-quality wood filler or putty using a putty knife. Follow product instructions and wait for it to dry before moving on to the next step.

  4. Use 180-grit sandpaper to sand the wooden surface. This step helps remove previous coatings and stains on the wood, smoothen the surface, and allow the wood pores to be exposed so paint or stains can adhere better.

  5. Use a tack cloth or a slightly damp microfiber towel to remove traces of wood dust left on the sanded surface. 

  6. Once the area is clean, apply a high-quality primer that prepares the surface for paint and allows subsequent products to adhere to the wood better. Make sure to read the package instructions for the primer to know how it should be applied. Consider applying one coat of wood primer first, letting the layer dry first before applying other products. 

  7. If you choose to apply wood stain, make sure to apply one layer of the former first before applying a wood primer. Make sure to let the initial layer of wood stain dry first before applying another product. 

  8. Apply wood paint using a brush or a roller, alcohol-based stain using a spray gun, and oil-based stain using a brush or rug. Just like with the primer, follow package instructions and take note of drying times to prevent mess. Afterwards, decide if you want to apply another coat of paint or stain. Some experts recommend applying another layer of either product after the first layer dries.

  9. If you are satisfied with the outcome of the paint or stain on the surface and have let the wood dry, you can apply a finishing coat. These can come in either flat or glossy finishes and ultimately aim to “lock” the paint or stain to the wooden surface and protect it from elements of nature or wear and tear. 

Take Note of These Must-Haves for Restoring Wooden Antiques

Once you’re certain of the wooden furniture you would like to refurbish, make sure you are ready with these reliable products from Island Paints:

  • Island Wood Primer & Sealer 801 White: This alkyd-type primer offers a flat finish that can be used for internal or external application on wood, plywood, wallboard, and particle boards. This primer, apart from delivering good filling and sealing properties, helps lessen surface absorption and serves as an ideal “foundation” for subsequent coats of alkyd-based paint.

  • Natura Oil Wood Stain or Natura NGR Stain: If you have decided to use wood stains, choose from any of these two products. Natura Oil Wood Stain is an oil-based product that contains finely ground and dissolved pigmented stains. It can be used to improve the color of raw or unfinished wood and highlight the natural wood grains.

    On the other hand, Natura NGR Stain is a solvent-based product that can be applied as a stain on the wooden surface without covering the grain.

    Both these products can be used on interior wood or plywood that can be used in furniture or flooring. However, Natura Oil Wood Stain can also be used on particle boards, while Natura NGR Stain can be utilized on veneer surfaces.

  • Natura Wood Filler: This can come in handy if you have holes or nicks in the wood that need to be filled up. This high consistency paste can fill in wood grain joints or nail heads.

  • Finishing coats like Island ColorQuick or Island INT Enamel Semi-Gloss 800SG White: If you decide to paint wooden surfaces, apply any of these high-quality finishing coats. Island ColorQuick is an alkyd-based coating that can be used on wooden and metal surfaces, and delivers good gloss and adhesion.

    On the other hand, Island INT Enamel Semi-Gloss 800SG White is an alkyd enamel that can help provide protection against wear and tear, and act as a decorative finishing coat on interior wooden surfaces, whether old, new, or previously painted. 

Before using any of these Island Paints products for restoring antique wood furniture, read the respective items’ Technical Data Sheets. These contain important guidelines regarding proper usage and storage of said products.

Lastly, don’t forget to wear safety gear such as gloves, face masks, and goggles if you will be working with any of the mentioned substances. Remember that these products contain chemicals that can be harmful to the body if you are exposed to them often. 

If you have additional questions about working with antique wooden furniture or have surfaces that may need a little more TLC, ask an industry expert for guidance.

For more home restoration and renovation ideas you can try in 2024, visit the Island Paints website today! With Island Paints, you can get a headstart on your home renovation projects and achieve your goals this year!


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