How to Refinish Mid Century Furniture

Are you looking for a way to spruce up your living space? Are you drawn to the timeless style of mid century modern furniture pieces, but not sure how to bring them back to life?

How to Refinish Mid Century Furniture

With some patience and the right tools, refinishing old mid century furniture can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Let us provide you with all the information you need in order to turn those vintage pieces into stylish treasures that will brighten up any room!

If you have ever dreamed of owning stunning mid century furniture, but haven’t quite had the budget to buy it, then this blog post is for you. You can learn how to refinish and upcycle dated pieces from thrift stores or even curbside treasures into modern marvels deserving of a feature spot in your home with minimal time and effort.

You will explore the different tools needed for refinishing as well as various steps in painting, upholstery, and copper-toping that are necessary for bringing that classic look back again. From stripping existing finishes from woodwork to applying protective top coats–this guide will walk you through all the details about how to refinish mid century furniture!

Why May You Want to Refinish Mid Century Furniture?

1. To Spruce Up Your Living Space

One of the major reasons to refinish mid century furniture is to spruce up your living space. Mid-century furniture has a classic, timeless look that can lend itself well to any decorating style, and refinishing it will bring out its unique qualities and give it an eye-catching sheen.

2. To Restore Its Value

Another reason you may want to refinish your mid century furniture is to restore its value. After years of use, furniture can become worn and scratched, and refinishing it will give it a new lease on life and increase its resale value.

Furniture Can Become Worn and Scratched

3. To Get the Look You Want

Finally, you may want to refinish your mid century furniture in order to get the look that you want. If you’re not happy with the existing finish on your furniture, refinishing it can give you the opportunity to create a unique look that fits your style. With the right supplies and techniques, you can make mid century furniture look like new again.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to refinish mid-century furniture, it’s important to understand the process before beginning. Refinishing mid century furniture can be a time-consuming and difficult process, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you get the results that you’re looking for.

With the right materials and techniques, refinishing your mid century furniture can be a rewarding experience.

How to Refinish Mid Century Furniture in 7 Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather All The Tools You Will Need

The very first step is to make sure you have the right tools for the job. You’ll need a sander, sandpaper, a vacuum cleaner, a furniture stripper, a paintbrush, and protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses.

Step 2: Remove all Hardware and Clean It

When refinishing Mid Century furniture, it is important to remove all of the hardware from the piece. This includes knobs, screws, and any other pieces that are attached. Once all of the hardware is removed, clean it with a cloth dampened with warm soapy water.

Clean It With a Cloth

Step 3: Strip The Existing Finish

Using a furniture stripper or chemical paint remover, strip away the existing finish on the furniture. Be sure to wear protective gloves and eyewear while doing this step. Once the existing finish has been removed, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all traces of dust or debris from the piece.

Step 4: Sand The Furniture

Once you have removed all of the existing paint and finish, it’s time to sand down the furniture. Use a sander with medium-grade sandpaper to sand down the entire surface of the piece. This will help create a smooth and even finish for your new coat of paint.

Step 5: Apply Primer

Before you can begin painting, it is important to apply a primer to the furniture. This will help the paint adhere better and also protect the wood from water damage. Choose an oil-based primer for the best results.

Step 6: Paint The Furniture

Now that your furniture is primed and sanded, it’s time to paint! Choose high-quality acrylic paint in the color of your choice. Apply at least two coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Apply a Primer to the Furniture

Step 7: Finish with a Clear Coat of Varnish

When the paint is completely dry, finish off your project with a clear coat of varnish. This will help protect your furniture from water damage and UV rays. Allow the varnish to dry completely before using or displaying the piece.

By following these seven easy steps, you can refinish Mid Century furniture in no time! With a little bit of elbow grease and the right tools, you can easily transform an old piece of furniture into something new and beautiful.

Some Additional Tips to Refinish Mid Century Furniture

1. Avoid Using Traditional Sandpaper

This is very important especially when dealing with mid century furniture. Traditional sandpaper can damage the furniture, leaving it looking dull and scratched. Consider using electric sanders or a product like “Sandfree” which is designed to remove old finishes without damaging the wood.

2. Be Careful When Stripping Paint or Varnish

In many cases, you will need to strip off the old paint or varnish in order to refinish mid century furniture. Be sure to use a product that is designed for this purpose and follow all safety instructions. Wear protective gloves and eye protection when working with chemicals.

Consider Using Electric Sanders

3. Use High-Quality Finishing Products

Once you have stripped away the old finish, it’s time to apply a new one. Make sure you choose high-quality products that will provide long-lasting protection and beauty. There are many options available, such as lacquers, varnishes, stains, and even paints. Ask for advice from your local hardware store or home improvement center.

4. Seal The Furniture Properly

The last step in refinishing mid-century furniture is to seal the piece properly. This is done by applying a protective coating that will help prevent moisture and other elements from damaging the wood.

Polyurethane is a popular choice for this purpose as it provides an attractive finish and good protection. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully when applying the sealer in order to ensure the best results.

5. Enjoy the Look and Feel of Your Refinished Piece

Once you have completed this project, you will have a beautiful piece of mid century furniture that looks great and is sure to be a conversation starter in any home. Enjoy the look and feel of your newly refinished piece for many years to come!

By following these tips, you can easily refinish mid century furniture and restore its original beauty and shine. Make sure to take your time throughout the process and use quality materials for the best results. With a little bit of patience and care, you can make your mid-century furniture look like new again!

Use a Dust Mask

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take When Refinishing Mid Century Furniture?

When refinishing mid century furniture, it’s important to be careful and take all necessary precautions. Before beginning the project, make sure you have all of the right tools and supplies on hand.

Use a dust mask to protect your lungs from airborne particles that may be generated during sanding or staining. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust and other particles that may be flying through the air. Wear gloves when working with any cleaning agents or solvents. Finally, make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area.

What Kind of Supplies Do I Need?

The supplies needed will vary depending on what type of refinishing job you plan to do. Generally, you will need sandpaper in various grits, a good quality furniture stripper for removing old finishes, steel wool, tack cloth or dampened cheesecloth to remove dust after sanding and before applying a new finish, wood filler, stain, sealant, and a foam brush or paintbrush for applying the finish. You may also need rags and gloves.

What Wood Finishing Options Are Available?

The type of wood finishing you choose will depend on the look and feel you are going for. Some common options include lacquers, varnishes, shellacs, waxes or oils. Each has its own unique properties and requires different preparation techniques.

Make sure to read the label for instructions before starting your refinishing project. You can also consult a professional to help you decide which option is best for your project.

What Is the Best Way to Restore Mid-Century Furniture?

The best way to restore mid-century furniture is by ensuring that all of the necessary steps are taken in order to properly care for and protect your piece. Start by stripping off any existing finishes, sanding down the wood, filling in any cracks or imperfections with wood filler, and staining or sealing the piece.

Applying a New Finish

Finally, apply a finish of your choice to bring out the natural beauty of the wood and protect it from damage. Following this process carefully will help ensure that your mid-century furniture looks beautiful for years to come.

What Are Some Tips for Refinishing Mid Century Furniture?

When refinishing mid century furniture, it is important to take your time and follow all of the instructions carefully. Start by removing any existing finishes, then sanding down the wood until it’s smooth. Fill in any cracks or imperfections with wood filler and stain or seal the piece accordingly.

Finally, apply a finish of your choice to protect the wood and bring out its natural beauty. It’s also important to work in a well-ventilated area, wear protective gear such as dust masks and safety glasses, and use proper tools when working with any chemicals or solvents. Following these tips will help ensure that your mid-century furniture looks beautiful for years to come.

How Much Does Refinishing Mid-Century Furniture Cost?

The cost of refinishing mid-century furniture will vary depending on the type of job you are doing, the supplies needed, and any special services you might need. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It is best to consult a professional if you are unsure about what your project might involve.

How Long Does It Take to Refinish Mid Century Furniture?

The amount of time it takes to refinish mid century furniture will depend on the type and scope of work you are doing. Generally speaking, a basic refinishing job can take anywhere from one day to several weeks.

If you are planning a more complex project, such as restoring a piece of furniture from its original condition, then it could take much longer. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!

Where Can I Find Professional Refinishing Services for Mid-Century Furniture?

If you are looking for professional refinishing services for mid-century furniture, there are numerous companies that specialize in this type of work. You can search online or ask friends and family for recommendations.

It is important to find a company with experience in dealing with mid-century furniture, as they will be more knowledgeable about the techniques and products required to properly refinish the piece.


Now you know how to refinish mid century furniture! Refinishing furniture is a great way to bring new life to any piece of mid-century furniture. With the right tools, an understanding of the process, and the willingness to put in some elbow grease, anyone can end up with a stunning piece that will turn heads and bring a modern twist into any room. 

Whether you decide to update your existing furniture or search out a mid-century gem at antiques stores or online, refinishing can add unique elements of style to your space.

When tackling mid-century furniture restoration projects, keep in mind that it may take extra time and care since some pieces are vintage and may require extra special attention. With patience and an eye for detail, however, you too can create a unique masterpiece from this classic style of furniture.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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