We’ve all been there: You unload the furniture and get it arranged, cart out all the empty boxes, and notice… well, that your stuff, which looked great in your old home, suddenly looks a little shabby. Moving into a new place lets us see our possessions with a new eye, and a new frame for reference, magnifying the flaws. Whether its threadbare upholstery, scuffed and scratched furniture, or just that the look is uncoordinated, here are tips for making the most of existing furnishings in your new home.
If you’re handy with a staple gun and know how to sew, you may be able to reupholster your entire sofa; if not, you’ll definitely want a professional. Or, go the slipcover route: Adjustable slipcovers are readily available for a variety of pieces; look for slipcovers that will need as little adjustment as possible, so they fit closely to provide a tailored look. If the issue is just the pads on dining room or kitchen chairs, these are easy to fix with fabric squares and a staple gun.
If wooden furniture looks dingy or dull, a crisp new coat of paint will brighten it up without a lot of effort. Buy some paint and grab a brush. Just give the furniture a light sanding to remove any peeling paint, and wash away the dust with mineral spirits before you start to paint. If you’re more ambitious, you can strip, sand and stain the furniture to give it a new look.
IF you’re a little more crafty, you can use fabric, paper and peel-and-stick wallpaper to give new life to dresser drawer fronts and shelving units. Pick fun colors and patterns that will pop. Just cut out panels all at once and work at lining up patterns for a uniform look.
Emphasize Something Other than Furniture
Part of the reason old furniture can suddenly look worn when you move it into a new home is that you see it for the first time with nothing else around it. Create visual interest that will draw your eye to other items by creating an accent wall, either with paint or wallpaper. Gallery walls are another good way to create visual interest. If you have a variety art and frame styles, painting all the frames the same color can bring a unified and intentional look your gallery wall.
Another way to de-emphasize a piece of furniture is to layer items on top of it. For sofas and chairs, think pillows and throws; for table tops, use plants, vases, candles and other décor to create a vignette that will get all the attention. If you’re suddenly noticing stains or threadbare spots on a rug, you can layer a smaller complimentary or contrasting rug over the offending areas. Or, rotate the rug so the worst parts are covered by furniture.
Embrace the Lived in Look
Perhaps the best strategy is to embrace the imperfections so they look intentional. Go for a shabby chic or vintage look.