Restoring Dull and Faded Wood Furniture

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated October 23, 2023)

Have you ever noticed how wood furniture, no matter how well you protect it, can become dull and faded over time? Don't worry too much, since this is pretty much a natural process that you can't really avoid. Luckily, restoring dull and faded wood furniture is a fairly simple task. All you need to do is follow these simple directions. Be prepared to spend about one weekend doing the work.

  1. Prepare the work area. The first step in restoring dull and faded wood furniture is to actually prepare the area that you will be working in. Since you will more than likely be working with paint, stains, or chemicals, you will want to take proper care to ensure you choose an area that is well-ventilated and that you can easily clean. One area of your home that you may want to work in is the garage. Lay out some drop cloths to help protect both the garage and the furniture.
  2. Clean the wood. Before you can restore any dull and faded wood furniture, you need to clean it first. Clean the wood as well as you can using a moist, soft cloth. You may want to use a nice cleaning agent to help you as well, though you do not need to use any type of polish at this time. You can make a good homemade cleaning agent by mixing three parts water to one part white vinegar. Moisten the cleaning cloth with that, and then begin wiping down the furniture. Allow the furniture to completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Strip the wood. Often times old wood furniture has some type of shellac, sealant, paint, or stain that needs to be stripped off before you can really restore it. This can be done in a variety of ways. Some of the more common methods require a chemical to remove the old paint or stain. Another method is to sand away the old covering, though this method can be particularly labor intensive. If you do use a chemical method, make sure that you carefully read, understand, and follow the directions that came with it.
  4. If necessary, sand. Once you have the wood furniture back to its natural, unstained state, take a good long look at it. Inspect it to make sure that there are no rough patches, cracks, splinters, or other types of damage. If there are, you may need to look at sanding the area to help make the surface as smooth as possible.
  5. Choose and apply the product. If you haven't already chosen a restoration product you want to use, this is the time to pick one out. Your best bet would be to use a product that is specifically suited for the type of wood you are working with. That being said, you can easily get some great advice as to which product will work best for your particular piece of furniture or situation by visiting your local home improvement store and talking to one of the clerks. Carefully read the directions that came with the product, and make sure that you understand them. Follow the directions as you apply the product to make sure that you reduce the chances of any mistakes.
  6. Protect the wood. Once you have restored the wood, it is now time to protect it. The best way to do this is by sealing the wood. This rather simple step (which is done in much the same manner as painting the wood) can help ensure that your wood maintains the restored look for a much longer time. There are a variety of sealants that you can use; it pretty much comes down to personal choice, the type of wood you are working with, or even the purpose of the furniture.

When you have finished your restoration project, it's time to clean everything up. Be careful as you put away the sealant, stains, and other chemical products that you may have used. These items often need special care when being stored, as they can be flammable or toxic and can cause more problems if you aren't careful.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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