This article was first published in Cromly. I’ve been talking to several people about refurbishing really old (and dilapidated) pieces of furniture lately, and even have some DIY projects waiting on the wings for me, so I decided to dig up this piece I wrote some time back (and even added several new items on the list) to inspire myself—and you guys, of course—to roll up my sleeves and finally pretty up some of our old stuff. 

Don’t throw out that old piece of furniture just yet! Let these DIY makeovers inspire you to breathe new life into your hand-me-down/thrift-store find.

1. Old midcentury desk turned ombre maestro

old desk turned into ombre desk

A contemporary take on a modern piece: ombré (ohm-brey)-painted furniture is still a trend you can capitalize on. Perfect for work desks or cabinet with multiple drawers, or even shelves and bookcases.

2. Store-bought bookcase turned custom kids’ shelf

before and after painted cabinet

Kate the Centsational Girl repainted the outside shell of this drab bookcase with white, and spiced things up a bit with interior shelves painted in a shade called “New Orleans”. Crown moulding transformed the bookcase into a truly custom piece.

3. Ikea Rast drawers into standout coral-pink nightstand


4. Ikea Rast drawers into travel-inspired side table


Now I just love how inventive and creative and ingenious people get when it comes to Ikea’s classic pieces. The Rast drawer is one such piece that has been reinvented time and again—and it’s so cheap too! That’s why the two DIY Rast projects above are such standouts because they’ve turned the basic three-drawer piece into truly unique and jaw-dropping nightstands. No one else will have such a piece—and no one else will be the wiser as to how much less it costs than everyone else’s nightstands.

5. TV tray turned trendy acrylic table

With the help of materials bought from the crafts store, Diane of In My Style blog spruced up this ordinary TV tray into a stunning acrylic table with gold legs and decorative corners.

6. Old art deco bureau turned vintage-romantic bureau

art deco bureau BEFORE
handpainted art deco bureau AFTER

Miss Mustard Seed used her decorative painting skills into reviving an old Art Deco-style bureau into this charming vintage-romantic piece—perfect in any country or shabby-chic home.

7. Basic (but dilapidated) table turned industrial-chic concrete tabletop

Laying concrete over a tabletop is not as easy as it looks, but the results of the Crazy Craft Lady’s hard work pays off with a good-looking concrete tabletop.

8. Thrifted chairs turned pretty colonial-style seats

makeover dining chair

Serena of Thrift Diving found a pair of these sad old chairs at the local thrift shop, painted them white, and changed their upholstery.

9. Dated drawers turned brightly colored console

outdated chest of drawers

When wood-stained furnishings and hardware look old and dated, a simple repainting job will do the trick (plus updating of drawer pulls) of making a drawer console look as good as new in no time.

10. Turning a side table into something else entirely

hexagonal DIY ottoman

A popular ’70s piece, the hexagonal side table has seen better days. By painting it a bright green colour and adding batting and pretty upholstery over it, it’s repurposed into an ottoman for the living room.

11. Blah work desk turned brilliant silver-leafed table

silver leafed mirrored vanity

When Virginia of Live Love DIY realised she couldn’t DIY her own mirror-plated vanity, she took a risk by silver-leafing the tabletop and drawers of this old work desk to get the look for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

12. Utility table turned eye-catching accent table

Who would have thought that the beautiful blue table above used to be a common utility table? With the help of custom-cut MDF boards and paint, it’s now used as a dining-cum-accent table.

13. French-style vanity turned brilliant orange work desk

old french vanity dresser
DIY repainted orange vanity

Again, paint and new hardware make this often-overlooked vanity table at the thrift shop a show-stopping superstar in someone’s home office.