Refresh Your Furnishings for Fall

Colorful pillows on a sofa with brick wall in background.

Summer’s over, and everyone is spending more time indoors. That makes it a perfect time of year to revamp and refresh your furnishings, and give your home a whole new look for the new season. You don’t need a lot of money to give your furnishings a brand-new look.

Paint the Pieces

Paint is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to make furniture look like new again. Some pieces may need to be prepped first, so the paint will go on smooth and the finished product will look better.

Prep - First, use a scraper or sandpaper to smooth any existing paint or wood stain that’s already on the piece. You don't have to remove it all, just work it down to the point where the surface is even, and there are no loose flakes or chips of old paint ready to come off.

Repair - Small cracks and dents can be repaired before you paint. First, use a razor blade to make very small cuts into the dented area. Cut with the wood grain. Fill the dent up with water, and wait. Water makes wood swell, and the tiny cuts allow the wood to absorb the moisture. The treatment will potentially fill in those small dents. Cracks are repairable with colored wax (no water needed).

Prime and Paint - Apply a primer before you paint, or choose a primer-and-paint formula. Choose color and type of paint carefully. Glossy or semi-gloss paint will be shiny, but will highlight any flaws in the piece. Matte paint will have no shine to it at all, and will not reflect light, but can hid irregularities in the finish. Get paint samples of colors you like, and carry them into your rooms to see if the shades will work with existing decor.

Accent - Get creative with paint to give furnishings that “wow” effect. Choose a secondary paint color to highlight details of the piece. A book shelf with a different-colored backing, a dresser with vibrant drawers, or a table with painted accents can really make a room pop. Have fun with your colors and be fearless with your paint. Remember, you can always re-paint if the look needs to be changed.

Add Fabric

Slip Covers - Changing the fabric of the furnishings can completely change any room. Cover pillows and fabric furniture with slipcovers, which can be affordably made from fabric. Since this isn't a permanent change, it's a good option for seasonal decor.

Pillows - Another changeable and seasonal option is throw pillows. A few brand-new throw pillows can do wonders for couches, love seats and bench seats. Add ribbon and button details to give pillows a custom look (and more color).

Re-Upholstery - A more permanent solution for worn or damaged furniture is to completely change out the upholstery. Dining room chairs are easy to reupholster. Pop the chair cushion out of the frame, add new foam padding if you like, and staple the new fabric into place. If you really want to get into the DIY spirit, get more fabric to give yourself new window treatments. Brand-new fabrics make rooms look fresher, and completely change the style and feel of the space.


Want to make old furnishings really feel like brand-new pieces? Repurpose them. A small dining table with shortened legs is a coffee table. And old entertainment center, with the doors opened and a chair added, becomes a computer desk and storage unit all in one. Use all your furniture tricks to turn a coffee table into a bench seat, if you like.

Get creative, and get into the DIY spirit to refresh all your furnishings for the new fall season. You’ll be spending more time in your home through the fall and the winter, so start making the most out of your space right now.