Tag Archives: how to

A Quick Guide for How to Remove Upholstery on Old Furniture

Antique Couch Upholstery

After long enough, even the most elegant, best loved upholstery can wear out. Whether years of heavy use, a change of aesthetics, or an unfortunate incident with the family pet have made removing upholstery a necessity, you’ll be glad to know the process is actually fairly simple.

First you’ll need the right tools. Ideally that’s a dedicated staple puller (tool inventors weren’t always the most creative namers). However, in a pinch, you could use really any thin metal piece, like an ice pick or flathead screwdriver.

Staple Puller

Pliers should come in handy as well – both for pulling out stubborn staples and for getting the job started. Use the pliers to rip up the trimming, and then keep going until you’ve got it all off and made a nice mess of things, possibly including your fingers.

From there, try pulling up the fabric in a continuous piece if the staples allow you to have your way with it. It’s a good idea to keep this to base new fabric on so you don’t have to make a load of measurements or over-purchase.

Reupholstered Couch

The staples are the tedious part. You might be able to alternate between ripping up the upholstery and plucking the metal out, or you may have to do one after the other. Either way, always be careful – you’re dealing with some old, sharp metal that could be rusted. Keep those eyes and hands safe!

Photo Credits (from top): RedsZone, my DIY adventures, and Ideal Upholstery

The Most Essential Tip for Renovating Wooden Furniture

Finished Wooden Table

If you’re looking to get into furniture restoration as a hobbyist or general DIY-er, the process can probably seem intimidating if you don’t have any carpentry experience. But sometimes the quickest touch-ups can be the most useful – which is the case with this week’s #renewit tip!

Un-finishing and Refinishing Wooden Furniture

Unfinished Wooden Furniture

Oftentimes old, salvaged, or thrifted furniture can be structurally sound but just in need of some cosmetic fixes. If you’ve got some wooden furniture for renovating, a quick trip to the hardware store, a little effort, and some patience could be all it takes.

Start by taking the piece outdoors (preferably somewhere covered) and using a wood stripper (which you can find in any hardware store), being sure to wear rubber gloves and keep from inhaling any of it.

With a putty knife or similar tool (if you’ve got one around already), scratch off the old finish until you get down to the duller, porous natural wood beneath – and then wait for it to dry.

Refinish Wooden Furniture

Once it’s dry, use a fine, high-grain sandpaper to smooth it out and prepare the surface for refinishing. From there, the rest is up to you: whether you want a simple protective finish, a rich stain, shellac, or other finish, the final look is totally up to you. Just like that, you’ve mastered one of the most useful, simple skills for renovating wooden furniture!

Photo Credits (from top): Milch House, DecorAdventures, and Yellowpages

How to Remove Water Rings from Wood Tables

Water Ring Wooden Table

Welcome to #FixItFriday, our weekly series of quick tips for making basic fixes to your household furniture!

This week we’re talking about something everybody gets – those whitish circles cold drinks leave behind on polished wood tables. Don’t worry, it’s probably not permanent! Usually you can remove those water rings and restore the wood finish with just a couple things.

Denatured Alcohol for Removing Water Rings

First you’ll need denatured alcohol, which you can pick up at any hardware store or most places where you would buy household cleaners. Second, you’ll need a rag. That’s it!

Dampen the rag very, very lightly with the denatured alcohol and wipe the rings gently. It only takes a little to completely remove water rings, which, so don’t over-do it or you could damage the wood finish (restoring that is a little tougher).

That should be it – no more water rings, and the wood finish restored to its former beauty!

Finished Wooden Table

Photo Credits (from top): Good Housekeeping, Rifleshooter, and Elmwood Reclaimed Timber

A Designer’s Start-to-Finish Restoration Techniques

When designing a space, we always have to start from the very beginning: its concept. This is just as important in restoration, so we take into account aspects like color, design concept, overall trend, and the final look we want to give the item.

Once we take all this into consideration and have a vision in mind, we start the restoration by sanding the piece using increasingly soft sandpaper to remove the layer of lacquer, exposing the porous base so it can better absorb a new layer of paint. However, we must be careful not to remove or damage the original color if we’re not planning to change it.

Once we have the surface painted, we let it dry completely, which may take about 3 or 4 hours depending on the materials we’re using. We like to blend the paint for a more fluid transition with the old paint, and have to consider how over time – especially if this is an outdoor piece – the brightness of the lacquer will dull.

In terms of color, vintage style tends to take bright, striking colors and contrast them with black and white fixtures with bright finishes.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): The Bella Cottage, Hudson Goods, and Explore Poverty

How to Improve Circulation in Interior Spaces

Home Circulation

The big question about any interior is how to manage, distribute, and work with space. Don’t let all the possibilities frustrate you, though – once you take some key factors into consideration, it can be really simple.

The rule of thumb for how far apart to space your furniture is 3 feet, but don’t take that as a hard-and-fast law that can’t be broken. The spatial needs for a family with 4 young, energetic children will be very different from an elderly couple, or for a 5000 square-foot home versus a shotgun apartment in Brooklyn.


Always consider how much movement between pieces is necessary. You don’t want your sense of how space is supposed to work in a home to get somebody hurt.

For instance, households with children should banish prominent edges, and homes with older people who may have stiff joints will want to bring in higher furniture.


Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): zoetnet and Urbane Apartments

Tastefully Bringing Nature to Interiors


People have always loved to bring elements of nature into their homes, from flowers to potted plants, but with the modern trend toward minimalism, it seems we’re seeing less and less living nature in our homes these days. However, there are still some great ways to keep these elements in even the most modern home designs.

First, realize what color “nature” tends to mean: green. Plants themselves are part of the color chart, so it’s important to consider how those shades fit into your interior color schemes. Even the shape and texture of flowers and plants have an effect on the overall trend of the room.

Plants Interior Design

For a sleek, modern look, we like to use plants that keep very straight, simple lines. Combined with the right vase or pot, this can add a note of freshness and elegance to a space, using that feeling of controlled wilderness to add a compellingly refined touch.

For more traditional spaces, we also like to use plants and flowers that come in more eccentric forms with more intricate color accents. If you do this, be careful to follow the same line of color throughout the rest of the space so it feels like a necessary fixture, not a distraction.


Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)
Photo Credits (from top): Thomas D , Adriana Reyes Gonzalez , and Wicker Paradise

Interior Design Tips for Using the Color Wheel

While picking the right colors for your home design might seem like a complicated matter of opinion and taste, in reality, it can actually be as simple and straightforward as elementary school geometry.

It all starts with a basic understanding of the color wheel and an idea for a starting color. Here’s a step by step process for getting interior color ideas into practice.

Pick a Color
It all starts with your accent color. Think of this like you would a person’s accent: that bit of flavor that calls your attention immediately. This is where the you is, where your personal taste shines through the most. This should reflect your concept for the room, the central impression you want to hold strong.

Consult the Wheel

Notice how the wheel is geometrically perfect, mathematically symmetrical. You’ll start with your accent color and from there, pick the other one or two contrasting colors, and voila, you’ve got your interior paint color combinations lined up!

One way to do that is to draw a straight line to the opposite portion of the wheel: your basic contrast.

Another way to do it is with an equilateral triangle. If you remember your geometry, that means each side has equal spacing, which in this case means an equal number of color units. This means that you’ll calculate the 3 perfectly opposite points on the triangle.

One more way to do it is to adjust the triangle. If you remember, this is called an isosceles, meaning two sides are equal. You’ll still start with your accent, but from there you’ll adjust the other two points so that they’re equally spaced away from the accent, widening or narrowing the triangle as you move away from those perfect opposites.

Note: this all works for the grayscale, too.

What’s Your Temperature?

Finally, consider what “temperature” you want to go for. Different colors make people feel different things, so consider what tone you want that popping accent color to convey, how you want those neutrals to frame the space you’re creating.

Writing Credits: Juan Martinez (Interior Designer)