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Reclaiming old furniture is a great way to embrace something a bit retro and breathe some new life into it, and best of all, it can be quite cost effective.
Reviving your furniture

A big part of the newstalgia trend is reviving elements of design from older eras to incorporate them in a modern setting. So reclaiming old furniture is a great way to embrace something a bit retro and breathe some new life into it. Best of all, it can be quite cost effective when compared to buying brand new furniture. You can use old pieces that belong to relatives or something you’ve recently thrifted. Whether you're looking to restore an heirloom or add a touch of vintage to your home, it helps to reduce waste by giving them a second life.

Give it a clean

Before you do anything else, it’s worth giving your piece a good clean as it probably hasn’t had one in some time. There are probably some layers of dirt and grime that have built up over the years, and you might end up finding a nice finish underneath. You should be able to get some off just using a damp microfiber cloth, but applying some white spirit to a clean, dry cloth will help with more stubborn areas. If you’re cleaning wood, make sure to wipe in the direction of the grain and make sure not to soak or saturate it.

General repairs

Keep an eye out for any areas that require some touch-ups, repairs or TLC. When you’re dealing with old furniture, it’s likely that it’ll be showing signs of age at the very least. That means you need to do your best to get it back to looking its best. It can involve everything from replacing table or chair legs to resurfacing, which includes stripping or using a sander on the old surface. You might need some wood filler to deal with any cracks or holes. If you have dust left over from sanding, a bit of white spirit will quickly get rid of it.


Refinishing means getting rid of the old one and applying a new one, so you might find that you’re happy with the original after cleaning and repairing. If you want to do something completely new, you’ll need to use a combination of chemical strippers like paint stripper and sanding. This will get you right back to the original material, and then after that you’ve got a few options. It’s all about what kind of finish you fancy. If you really want to embrace the newstalgia style, make sure you get the right stain for your wood and bring it back to life by restoring its former glory with a natural grain finish.


If you want to take an old piece and bring it more into a modern aesthetic, then painting is probably way to go. You still keep the original design elements in terms of the shape and style, but the finish can be something you make completely your own. There’s room to experiment with colours and geometric shapes, which means you can still incorporate some more retro patterns and design elements. Whatever you decide, give it a coat of primer first and then apply a couple coats of your wood paint of choice.

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