Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Refresh Drab Wood Finishes

Around our house we've been lucky enough to have inherited a couple of really pretty casegood pieces from Brendon's side of the family.  In a household that started with the two of us combining our Ikea cheapies and hand-me-down "treasures" from roommates and family, these antiques were a breath of fresh air. I love the age and patina of old wood mixed with newer pieces.  It adds depth, history and much needed character to rooms that might otherwise look a little too "showroom perfect".

The fact that the piece I'm showing today once belonged to his much-beloved grandparents makes it even more special to us.  We've got the cabinet set up in our front room, a formal living/dining room combo that we decked out with a pool table instead.  Trust me, it gets much more use this way than if we had set it up with formal furniture like you're supposed to.  Who sits in those formal living rooms anyway?

Eventually the cabinet will be used as a bar, it just  needs an interior shelf or two.  I can't wait to style the top with a tray and other gorgeous bar ware!


The downside to older wood pieces is that with time, finishes fade and become dull.  To bring back the luster it once had you may be tempted, as we were, to sand and refinish the piece. I just didn't have it in me to tackle all that and frankly we were both a little afraid to do anything drastic because of the sentimental value.  I'd never forgive myself if we ruined it.

Luckily, there are great products out there that can refresh drab wood finishes in minutes.  I used this product but there are probably others out there that would get similar results.  (And no, I'm not getting paid by anyone to write this post, it's just my personal experience and opinion)

Rejuvenating Oil is super easy to use.  Wipe it on with a clean, dry cloth.  Wait 10 minutes.  Wipe off excess with another clean, dry cloth.

Some before and after shot goodness:



I used the same lighting and camera settings in the "before" and "after" shots and none of the photos have been enhanced in any way. 

The difference isn't super dramatic but the wood has a beautiful richness and luster that was missing before.  There is more depth as the rejuvenating oil brought out all sorts of gorgeous tones that were hidden before.

Some closeups:

Only the top has been treated in this photo so you can really see the difference in the before & after.

Before - dull and drab

After - rich and lustrous!

After I recover from fume inhalation (take the cautionary advice included on the bottle of oil and only use with proper ventilation!), I'm going to tackle other pieces around the house with this stuff. It's a heck of a lot easier than refinishing and it really makes a big difference in no time at all.


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