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by Anna Lane

Inheriting (or discovering) a piece of heirloom or antique furniture is great–as long as you love the piece. But even when you don’t, we have a few ideas on how you can make the piece your own, and how you can make it work in your home, just as well as it worked in the home it came from. Better, even!

First up, decoupage–and hear us out. While the term decoupage often brings up images of hideous, floral-patterned tween rooms in the 80’s, there are chic ways to use this age-old crafting technique.  Make a bold statement with a large-scale black and white print, and trim the image to fit the drawers of a bureau.  Bonus points: at an average cost of only $15 to blow up a print, and another $10 for decoupage supplies, this is a budget way to create a statement piece.

If you like the bones of the piece, but feel that it needs a little something, stop by the local craft store to see what they have on hand that has the potential to yield something unique.  A few craft store wood circles artfully glued all over the surface of a midcentury dresser create a conversation piece.  No carpentry skills needed: just some Gorilla Glue, couple coats of paint, and perhaps a Saturday afternoon.

Add legs, or subtract doors.  Granted, this takes some woodworking expertise, but for those so inclined, it’s a great way to dramatically change the look of ugly furniture.  Wooden legs are inexpensive, and available in a wide range of styles and heights.  (The “after” image is waiting for you on the next slide!).

See what we mean?

Paint is one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to transform an outdated piece of furniture.  A few coats of

white paint

in a go-to shade such as Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is a safe bet, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, choose a bright color.  For smaller jobs, spray paint is a good option; be sure to opt for a high quality brand, and pick up a spray attachment to ensure more even coverage.

In addition to paint, this update added mirrors to each drawer face. We could see this working well on a variety of pieces, especially if you live in a smaller space and want to make it feel a bit bigger

And finally, everybody is a fan of nail heads on upholstery, but using them on other furniture pieces is still rather novel.  While this particular technique does require a little bit of artistry for creating the pattern, and a lot of patience to create the look, the finished product has the potential to be a showstopper.