DIY Furniture Facelift

DIY Furniture Facelift

Your furniture can take a beating while raising your family. Years of nicks, scratches and water stains will make a once beautiful piece of furniture look “tired”. Before you decide to replace your furniture try giving it a facelift. Here are some economical and handy tips to keep your looking in great shape.

General cleaning – Don’t waste money on expensive furniture polishes. These polishes will clean and polish your furniture but the polish will quickly fade. Additionally, dust will instantly stick to the fresh polish. All that is needed to keep your furniture clean and looking great is to occasionally wipe the surface with a lint free rag or feather duster. If you need a moist cleaner then use mild soapy water and rag to wipe the surface clean. If you must use a cleaning agent then try using Murphy’s Oil Soap. It is specially formulated to clean and condition wood furniture.

Watermarks – Water marks are caused when hot or cold items are placed on a wooden surface. The moisture from these objects penetrates through the protective finish and is trapped resulting in a white mark. To remove these white marks try using a hot iron and a smoothly textured lint free cloth. To use this method place the cloth over the ring. Then preheat your iron and BRIEFLY (a few seconds) place the iron on the cloth. Repeat this process until the discoloring disappears. The heat from the iron will evaporate the trapped moisture.

Small nicks and scrapes – You can purchase color matching sticks, matching markers and colored wood putty from your local home improvement center. However you probably have common items around the house which will serve the same purpose. For darker woods a sharpie or felt tip pen can fill in and disguise nicks. Other common items to try on nicks are crayons, eyebrow pencils, shoe dye or polish. Once you fill in the nicks give them a quick buff with a clean rag. The nick should blend in with the furniture surface. Once buffed the nicks should be indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Bring back your finish – The years of stains, spills and fading from the sun can damage your furniture’s protective topcoat. The topcoat is a clear finish that is usually a varnish or polyurethane product. To save you the time, mess and expense of stripping and reapplying the topcoat try using 0000 steel wool and a furniture paste wax. Use the steel wool to rub the paste wax over the furniture’s surface. The steel wool will “level” your current topcoat and the wax will produce an even sheen. When dried, the wax will form a haze. Buff the haze with a lint free rag to bring back an even fish. If you desire a glossier look then try using an automotive polishing compound instead of the steel wool and paste wax.

Before attempting any of these repairs, experiment on a small inconspicuous area before fixing more visible areas. Doing your own furniture facelift will not cost you an arm or leg and will keep your furniture looking great for generations.

Richard Bourland is the Owner and Lead Craftsman at Mid South Bunk Beds makers of bunk beds and other woodworking creations.

He can be contacted at

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