A designer’s quick tips for modernizing antique furniture

Photos courtesy Shane Griffin

A lot of parents and grandparents pass on their furniture to the next generation. And while inherited home goods can be extremely useful when trying to save some money, they don’t always speak to the latest trends. Even so, local decorators like Shane Griffin have a number of tips and tricks for refurbishing old furniture to fit a more contemporary style.

“I love using older pieces in a new way,” says Griffin, who has refurbished many items over the years. “I love adding a more modern fabric to antique chairs; it gives them a new fresh feel and makes them into one-of-a-kind items.”

One easy update, he says, is painting your old brown table and chairs to reflect a brighter, shinier future—literally. “I like to add a muted gold band to the edge or really anything that fits your own personal style.”

Old items don’t even necessarily need to serve their old purpose to look fashionable in a new space.

“Another great example is taking an older item and having it framed to be used as artwork,” says Griffin, who has framed things like old fireplace pokers and turned them into artwork.

So, before you aim for the rubbish pile or drive down to the nearest donation center, try tilting your head for some new perspective on an old piece.