Fast furniture fixes

These quick and thrifty tricks will help make your budget buys look better, last longer by restoring furniture bought second-hand.

Fast furniture fixes

Firm up a saggy sofa

Make an old sofa more comfy by fitting a piece of plywood beneath cushions for under $20. Or replace foam in cushions for about $20 for each cushion.

Create the look of a headboard

  • Give a plain bed an instant headboard with a length of fabric, a throw or a lightweight rug hung from wooden dowelling.
  • Or, try a broom handle fixed to the wall behind the bed.

Prevent table legs from wobbling

Tables usually wobble because one leg is shorter than the others. Lengthen the leg by cutting a piece of cork to the right size and gluing it on with wood adhesive. This is a lot easier than shortening the other legs.

Strengthen a chest of drawers

  • Take out flimsy hardboard drawer bases and back panels, and substitute particleboard to make them more solid. A large sheet costs about $15 from a lumber yard — half the price of plywood.
  • Alternatively, use wood from old furniture.

Transform wood with paint

  • The finish will look more professional if you sand first or remove old paint with paint stripper.
  • Streamlined tables and chairs are much easier to strip than ones with elaborate mouldings. Ornate chairs may require professional stripping (from around $70), so bear this in mind when buying.
  • Coordinate mismatched wooden kitchen and dining chairs by painting them all the same colour.

Use up leftover paints

If you have any leftover paints and are decorating a child's bedroom, try painting each drawer in a chest of drawers a different shade. Or paint wardrobe doors a contrasting colour to the frame.

New handles for old cupboards

Replace plastic knobs or handles on furniture with smart metal or chrome ones, from as little as two dollars each.

Brand new furniture is expensive, but second-hand stuff is easy to fix up if you have the time. With the right materials and know-how, you can save money and create some new looks with used pieces.

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