Adapting Vintage Furniture With New Wood Elements

Adapting Vintage Furniture With New Wood Elements

Breathing Life Into Old Furniture

I’ll admit, I used to find wood furniture a little intimidating. There was something about those staid, serious-looking pieces that made me feel like they were meant for stuffy old libraries, not my quirky, eclectic home. But over the years, I’ve grown to love the timeless beauty and versatility of wood furnishings.

From the college-friendly pieces I started out with to the family heirlooms I’ve been lucky enough to inherit, I’ve come to appreciate how wood can transform a space. And lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun finding creative ways to breathe new life into vintage furniture using unexpected wood elements.

Mixing the Old and the New

You know what they say – rules are made to be broken. Gone are the days when you had to stick to a single design style and absolutely never, ever mix finishes. Nowadays, the design world embraces the beauty that comes from marrying the old and the new.

As interior designer Katie Laughridge says, “The beauty of design and especially New Traditional design is it takes the old and the new and marries them in a tasteful unique way.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Some of my favorite pieces in my home are the ones that blend vintage and contemporary elements – like that gorgeous antique secretary I scored at an estate sale, paired with a sleek, midcentury-inspired lamp. The contrast creates an interesting dynamic that makes each piece shine.

Customizing With New Wood Finishes

Of course, mixing styles and finishes is only half the battle. Even if you’re working with a tried-and-true wood piece, there are so many ways to customize it and make it your own these days.

Back in the day, your options for wood stains and finishes were pretty limited. But thanks to the rise of DIY culture, there’s a whole world of possibilities when it comes to giving new life to old furniture. As Katie points out, even major retailers like CR Laine now offer their wood accents in a rainbow of Benjamin Moore paint colors.

Whether you’re going for a bold, bright hue or a more subtle, distressed look, the choices are endless. And the best part? You don’t have to be a professional furniture refinisher to pull it off. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can transform even the most tired, dated piece into something fresh and fabulous.

My Vintage Furniture Makeover Journey

I’ve definitely had my fair share of vintage furniture makeovers over the years. Some have been more successful than others, if I’m being honest. But through all the trial and error, I’ve learned a few tricks that I love to put to use.

Take the antique pine dresser I turned into a vanity in our powder room, for example. As the folks at Stonehaven Life documented, it was the perfect height, but I had to do a bit of work to adapt it for its new purpose.

I removed the original wood top and used it to create custom elements like a scribe and faux baseboards to help it fit seamlessly into the space. Then I finished it off with a distressed, chalk paint treatment that played up the piece’s vintage charm. The end result was a truly one-of-a-kind vanity that fit the farmhouse vibe of our old house to a tee.

Or how about the old chair I turned into a towel rack? As the Stonehaven Life team described, I basically just scrapped the seat, glued the legs and stretchers back together, and mounted it on the wall. Easy peasy, but it adds such a fun, quirky touch to the space.

Getting Creative With Repurposed Wood

Of course, sometimes I like to get a little more ambitious with my vintage furniture makeovers. Take that DIY console table my husband and I built, for example. As chronicled on Young House Love, we started with plain old whitewood boards from the hardware store and transformed them into a beautiful, rustic tabletop using all sorts of distressing techniques.

From smacking the boards with a bag of screws to hammering in fake nail holes, we had a blast turning that pristine wood into something with real character and personality. And let me tell you, the satisfaction we felt when we saw the final, beautifully weathered result was unreal.

Of course, not every wood furniture makeover has been a roaring success. Remember that time I tried to use old pallets as the basis for a console table? As Katie mentioned, that ended up being a bit of a bust – the pallets just didn’t hold up the way we’d hoped.

But you know what they say – you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. And boy, have I broken a lot of eggs in pursuit of my vintage furniture makeover dreams! From sanding down sharp corners to hammering in makeshift nail holes, I’ve done it all. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Joy of the Process

At the end of the day, the best part about these furniture makeovers isn’t the end result – it’s the process of bringing new life to old, forgotten pieces. There’s just something so satisfying about taking something that’s seen better days and transforming it into something truly special and unique.

Plus, it’s just plain fun to get a little bit destructive, you know? There’s a reason they say “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – sometimes you just need to channel that pent-up energy into a good, old-fashioned wood distressing session. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the cathartic release of smacking a board with a bag of screws or hammering in some fake nail holes.

Of course, the real joy comes when you step back and see the finished product. Watching those dull, lifeless pieces transform into beautiful, one-of-a-kind furnishings that perfectly reflect your personal style – that’s the real payoff. And it makes all the sanding, hammering, and general mayhem totally worth it.

Bringing it All Together

So if you’re looking to breathe new life into your vintage furniture, don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Whether it’s mixing modern and traditional elements, playing with bold new finishes, or even completely repurposing an old piece, the possibilities are endless.

Sure, it might take a bit of work – and a healthy dose of trial and error. But trust me, the end result is more than worth it. Not only will you end up with a truly unique piece that perfectly captures your style, but you’ll also get to enjoy the immense satisfaction that comes from doing it all yourself.

So why not give it a try? Hop on over to Timber-Building.com for all the inspiration, tips, and resources you need to get started on your very own vintage furniture makeover. Who knows – you might just end up with your new favorite piece of furniture.


Get the latest updates on timber construction trends, sustainable practices, and exclusive offers from Timber Building. Subscribe to our newsletter for insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Stay Informed with Timber Building

Contact Us


Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.