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You did it!  You found your perfect house.  It has everything you wanted and you are filled to the brim with excitement to move in and start making it your own.  But soon your excitement turns to anxiety.  Now that you have this new home, you need to fill it with stuff.  And stuff can be expensive!   Your new home, which was such an exciting moment in your life, has now turned to a source of stress.

There is a way to fill that beautiful new home of yours without breaking the bank or going into debt.  It might take a little time and sweat equity on your part, but it will save you money and give you a sense of pride.  It’s call REFURBISHING!  Refurbishing is when you take something old, like a piece of furniture, and fixing it up to make it look updated and new.  It’s simple.  It’s fun.  And the best part about it is it is CHEAP!

Thrift Stores – the Mecca of Refurbishing

The best part about refurbishing furniture is searching for the perfect piece.  When looking for furniture to refurbish, you want to look for pieces that are made of real wood, are sturdy and heavy, have dovetail drawers (if there are drawers at all), and need minimal repair.  You also want to find pieces that are inexpensive because remember the goal for your new house is to furnish it without spending a lot of additional money..

In Raleigh, there are some great thrift stores.  My favorite is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  The Habitat for Humanity ReStores are located throughout the Triangle and have items such as furniture, doors, light fixtures, houseware, wood, tile, and much more.  Some other great places to find furniture to refurbish are the Raleigh Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army’s Family Store, and ReTails Thrift Store.

You have to keep in mind, when shopping at thrift stores, it’s a feast or famine type of place.  You might walk into five different stores in a day and find absolutely nothing that you like.  Or you might walk into one store and find five pieces you want to purchase.  When refurbishing furniture, patience is the key.

You are the next furniture Picasso!

After you find a great piece, now it’s time to get your paint.  There are lots of options out there for refurbishing furniture.  My favorite is the Valspar Chalky Paint.  The reason I like Valspar Chalky Paint (keep in mind this is NOT chalkboard paint, but chalky paint) is that it is relatively inexpensive, can be found at any Lowes store, and can be tinted into a variety of colors.  Another great brand is Annie Sloan.  I have read many reviews from people who have used it and loved it.  Annie Sloan Chalk paint is available at smaller hardware stores.

Once you have found your furniture and picked your paint, it’s time to get down to work.  The first thing you need to do is clean the furniture with a wet rag.  You can also lightly sand down the surface, though I don’t always feel that it is necessary.  After the piece is clean it’s time to paint.  Typically, you will need to apply two coats of paint, waiting 4-6 hours in between the first and second coat.  However, if you have a dark wood piece of furniture and a light paint color you may need to apply more than two coats in order to not see the wood below.  The beauty about chalk paint is you can slap it on any old way and in any old direction and it doesn’t matter.  Once the second coat dries the two coats of paint will look smooth and cohesive.

This 1950’s cabinet now makes a perfect accent to any room.

If only all waxing was this painless

After you have painted, you need to wax.  What I like about the Valspar chalky paint wax is you can use a paint brush to apply it and it goes on very smoothly.  What I like about the Annie Sloan wax is it is a bit thicker, but you have to use an Annie Sloan Wax Brush to apply the wax making sure to work in small areas at a time, wiping off any excess with a clean cloth.  To me the Valspar paint wax seems to be a little easier to apply and a little more fool proof.

These two nightstands look updated and contemporary.

Now don’t you feel good about yourself?

Once you have distressed the furniture, wipe it down and voila you are done!  You now have taken an old, outdated piece of furniture and transformed it into a beautiful and purposeful piece for your new home.  All for the fraction of the cost of something from a furniture store.

Decorating your new home can be exciting and overwhelming.  But remember when doing so you don’t need to spend a fortune filling that new, larger home with expensive furniture.  It’s time to get creative.  It’s time to roll up your sleeves and put in a little sweat equity.  It’s time to hit the town looking for furniture that needs a face lift.  It’s time to refurbish!

From 70’s drab to shabby chic!

Want to learn more about refurbishing furniture?

Contact me today!

About Katie Humphries

Katie Humphries is a full-time sales associate of the Fonville Morisey Realty Stonehenege office.

Hank is a member of the Raleigh Association of REALTORS®, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Fonville Morisey Realty has 11 sales offices, with over 850 associates and employees throughout the Greater Triangle region.  FM offers mortgage, insurance, property management, title services, real estate education courses and relocation services through its divisions and partners. For more information about Fonville Morisey Realty, visit