Blogger Christen Bensten on making old furniture new again | Home Front

Feb 09, 2012

Christen Bensten, who runs the design blog Blue Egg Brown Nest, joins Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza on the weekly Home Front chat. Together, they gave advice about painting and refinishing old furniture.

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Have you ever tried painting a piece of furniture? Take our poll.

Hi everyone. Have you ever painted a piece of furniture? Whether the answer is yes or no, you'll want to chat with Christen Bensten, a 34 year old mom, entrepreneur and blogger at www.blueeggbrownnest.com. Read my story on her today.  She can tell you about how she discovered Annie Sloan chalk paint and lots of other tips on rejuvenating old brown furniture. Meanwhile, take our poll here: on whether you have ever attempted to paint a piece of furniture. Let's get going.

 

I have a very old mahogany dining room table that was my great grandmother's. My Dad and I "antiqued" it in the 60's, a fad which used two colors of paint streaked over it. It's got carved legs with claw feet. Would it be ok to paint it or should I send it out to remove the antiquing and have it refinished? What color should I paint it? I have a mix of modern and antique furniture in my house.

Hey there! I absolutely think you should paint it. The awesome features of Annie Sloan chalk paint is that you don't have to prep or prime. Choose a color that suits you from her site and paint over your dining table. It always looks best if real wood. For a French look, use French Linen or Paris Grey with a dark wax.

What kinds of conditions/things do you look for in the furniture that you pick to revamp?

It has to be an antique because I want those beautiful, curved lines and interesting detail. Excellent condition too because I'd rather paint & distressed then spend my time gluing wood, etc.

How did Christen get started selling furniture? What outlet(s) does she use to sell products (stores, web, tag sales, etc.)?

I started through word of mouth and through blogging about my process every day. Posting daily keeps up the momentum and starts people chatting about you. I also have a "shop" section to show people what I have for sale.

Where would you recommend digging for cheap pieces to re-paint in the area? Willing to go to Maryland but am located near Farifax!!

If you are looking for cheap furniture first place to go is your friends! Ask them if they need any pieces cleaned out of their garage and you can take them off their hands. The second place I'd say is Goodwill.

Any weird side effects to know about??? I can't seem to wrap my head around the idea of chalk paint... is that strange? Something about it feels messy, or childish. But your pieces are stunning!

Any type of painting has a sort of childish feel to it, but that's how I get lost in the process. The paint is very forgiving and easy to work with.

We recently had carpeting installed in our den area (converted attic space). The desk chair does not roll smoothly on the carpet (no surprise) and the wheels leave dents. We'd like to protect the carpet but don't really want to put in a hard plastic "office style" pad. Are there alternatives? Or should we use a different chair, one without wheels? We use the desk daily, but not all day. There is not a lot of need to move the chair around as in a conventional office, so we could ditch the wheels if we had to (but my spouse would prefer to keep them, I think). Thanks for any insights.

I would ditch the wheels (sorry husband!). If they aren't really necessary then you probably wont miss having them. I think it would be more annoying to try to roll when you can't than to not be able to roll at all.

I love hitting up tag sales and antique stores and I love the IDEA of repainting or refinishing furniture. But I next manage to get from point A to point B. What kinds of pieces should I look for when I'm thrifting? Anything to avoid?

Look for pieces with curves and detail. The paint will makes these spots really impressive. Stay away from cheap wood and straight lines. Pick pieces in excellent condition.

Would Christen want a very old bedroom set? We are giving it away. She can contact me at SandieMacG@aol.com

Hi there! If it's an antique set then the answer is probably YES! I will email you if you could email back with pictures. Thanks!

Thanks for your help. I have a small 3/4 bathroom in which I recently made a paint mistake. Previously it was BM pink harmony, which seemed a bit too pink...so I re-painted it to be BM soft pink. Now it looks too flat and sterile, and the fixtures have taken on a grey tone. I like pink tones in bathrooms because it is universally flattering, and could also go with a peach. (The bathroom is off of a room painted orange, and I don't want a clash.) Do you have a color suggestion? And usually I use eggshell paint, but is there another finish that is better in bathrooms? Thanks so much.

I think you should consider going bold intead of light. Take a look at BM's Cactus Flower and see what you think. 

Do you ever fall in love with a piece you simply can't sell?

Oh yes! I love being surrounded by my work because it makes me feel proud that I did not order or by it. Rather, it was done by my hands and created into the aesthetic that I want to look at every day!

 

I'm inspired by articles and discussions recently about reducing clutter. As part of my effort to get a grip on the junk in my house I'm going through tubs that have been stacked in the basement for years. Tonight's tub contains several partially completed knitting and cross-stitch project that, realistically, I'm never going to finish. I'd love to donate the materials, patterns, needles, etc., but don't have any ideas about groups that might put this stuff to good use. Do you all have any suggestions?

What a lovely idea. Actually after my mother died, we found a lot of knitting projects that weren't finished. One was a blanket she was knitting for her future "great grandchild", should she be lucky enough to have one.  She had left a note with it. It really made me tear up. My sister, bless her,  is going to learn to knit in this pattern just so she can finish this. But I digress. You might call a knitting shop or a senior center to see if someone might put this stuff to good use. Yarn, needlepoint patterns and other supplies are expensive so it would also be nice to donate them to a church group or scouting group.  Any other ideas?

How do you go about shipping these large pieces across the country? Or internationally?

Shipping is a bit tricky. I have used a great site called uship where drivers will give me estimates on how much the piece would take to ship to a specific zip code. I've had a great experience so far shipping a fragile mirror and large china cabinet.

 

Can you tell us more about how the waxes work?

There is a clear wax and a dark was - both Annie Sloan. The clear wax is used after all your painting is completed. Use an oval Annie Sloah bruch and apply it evenly. Let it dry and then sand to distress. Then use your dark wax in the places that have curves & detail to add an aged look.

I need suggestions for affordable and durable area rugs. I haven't seen much selection at Target and Home Goods, where else should I be trying?

You could try Overstock, West Elm, CB2, Ikea, Ballard Designs, Dash & Albert, Macys.  You could also try a local carpet store and look at their remnants.

I have an oak dresser, 1930s, stained with an oak finish, probably Minwax Golden Oak. Can I paint over this stain? What colors would you recommend for a Swedish look? And, do you pick-up and deliver?

Yes! You can paint over the stain and it will adhere nicely. For a Sweedish look try to the light colors like "Old White" or "Paris Grey" - which has a gorgeous blue hugh. Love this look!

Supposing you want to change the color of your furniture piece, how do you remove the wax?

You don't need to! Isn't that wonderful? You just repaint over it after it dries!

 

I need a good, solid red for the front door to our beach house. Nothing fire engine, and nothing burgundy, but somewhere in between. You guys always have the best suggestions... help!

Go to the Annie Sloan website. She has a gorgeous red color! Perfect shade and would be even cooler with a dark wax on it.

Did you ever attend any of Annies Workshops or did you just learn by trial and error?

I've read about every word she's written, but have not attended her workshop. On that note, she is coming to VA and her schedule is on her site. It may be full by now though. I think any kind of painting is trial and error, though. That's part of the process.

I just love, love Christen's home. Especially since she has three young children! Is that a bench at the foot of your bed? I am looking for a settee in that style. same color and tufting etc. Any suggestions?

This bench is cutom from Calico Corners - I heart it too!! If you are looking for something a bit cheaper you should take a look at Ballard. Most of the time they copy the high end furniture for a good price.

This might be a random question but how long does it take the chalk paint to dry, typically? Wanting to know how much time to allow if I tackle one of these myself!

24 hours between coats. Make sure you take the time to let it dry. It will be worth it! When waxing, you only have to wait as little as a half hour.

This may not be the right place to ask, but it might be close enough to upholstery repair or something. I inherited a very nice, probably fairly expensive handbag. It's big, so I'd like to be able to use it for work, but it doesn't have a zipper. Do you know any sources, preferably in VA, for adding a zipper to a tote-style bag? I don't know a good tailor or anything like that. Thanks very much.

Have you tried a shoe repair shop? A good one that does luggage repair should be able to help you. Does anyone have a Virginia source to suggest?

A couple of years ago when shappy chic was big I found an old piece of furniture outside the trash dump at my apartment- I marbelized the top and painted the legs and cabinet a solid color- distressed it, used it for a few years and then sold it for $250 in a shop in Leesburg less than 10 minutes after I dropped it off- it was a very cool feeling.

Wow. Great story. I think many of us dream of doing something like that.

Hi, you have such a lovely home. Would you mind telling us where you purchased the curtains in your LR and Master Bedroom? We just moved into a new home and it's a challenge finding something that looks nice and is affordable. Thanks!

Sure, I can give you my little secret...IKEA! Yup, those beautiful LONG curtians in my family room are panels from Ikea and probably cost me $25 each. I get so many compliments on them too! They look expensive and linen. The bedroom ones are Ikea as well. Shhhhh.

I live in a college town and the students throw out *everything* at the end of the semester. Try trolling the neighborhoods around local universities at the end of the semester to find stuff on the curb. I'm not one for painting furniture (plus, my carpenter husband would have a cow), but it seems to me that one might want to practice on a couple of "throwaway" pieces before attempting it with something you want to keep.

This is really a great tip! I know that in Georgetown, the day the students pack up and leave is indeed a good time to roam the streets looking for stuff - it's sitting out on the street waiting for a new home. Find out when George Washington, American and Catholic kids are out for the year - and head over there.

How are you defining "antique"? Just "old" or "vintage" or is there some other standard you are using. Not a judgment, just a question to understand your process.

I once heard that to be an antique it has to be at least 100 years old. Of course, I don't do any background checks on my pieces, but I know old when I see old. There's typically a label or stamp on the back of the piece. For example, one dresser has Basset on it and that's just no fun to work on and of no interest to me. Also, people tend to tell me what furniture co it comes from when I buy from a seller.

 

I have heard you have amazing brother in laws from your husband's side - please explain.

hahahah! I DO!! I HEART YOU GUYS! These are the perks of marrying into a family of 6 kids!!! xoxoxoxo

Hmm. I have a maple rocking chair that I don't much like (sort of a Shaker look). Maybe it is a candidate for painting.

Yes! Try it. You have nothing to lose. Or if you want to sell it to me, email me at my site. www.blueeggbrownnest.com

I might have missed something this morning when I read the article, but are the chalk paint choices limited? Everything seemed very grey or blue. Are there other options?

Yes. There are lots of colors. Go to www.anniesloan.com

Where do you find hardware when you need to replace what was on the original piece?

To be honest, I've just been going to Home Depot - but they don't have a huge selection. Anthropologie has some awesome hardware with vintage flair!

 

I have an old player piano in my living room. I've always wanted to refinish it, but balked because of all the sanding I would have to do. Would your technique and the paint you use work on my piano? Or do you think I should do the sanding to get some grain out and use a wood finish?

How funny you should ask! I was just looking at my old piano thinking the same thing. You'd have to be super careful of those white keys, but Annie Sloan would work great. I wouldn't touch the back thouh in case it inhibits the sound quality.

Not being able to find the table I want at a price I can bear, I have been making the rounds of thrift and consignment shops looking for a table I can repaint myself. I had not yet faced the problem of what paint to use to get the look I want, but there it is -- solved! -- in the article about Christen Bensten! Christen, what color base coat would you use for a black table? Also, can you tell me more about what type of wax to look for? And finally, do you know of a source for chalk paint closer to Northern Montgomery Co. than Falls Church?

You can always do a search online to find a stockist that sells Annie Sloan in your area. You can also purchase online as well. I know Refinished & Repurposed sells online. Buy the Annie Sloan clear & dark was. And her round was brush.

I really want to have a banquette in my kitchen and use my grandmother's kitchen table to recreate a more modern version of the breakfast nook that I remember from childhood. I have found ideas for banquettes here  my question is where do I start to have one built... A contractor, handyman, interior designer. I'm a novice and need to know how to make this dream project a reality, please point me in the right direction! Thanks!

I think a good carpenter could help you with this project. But if you also want help with picking fabrics and chairs and other other decortative items to work with the banquette, then maybe you should consider hiring a designer to help you plan the space and pull it together. Designers usually have contractors they work with who could build the banquette. Going the designer route will probably be much more expensive, but it could also ensure that you're getting exactly what you want. I would talk to designers and carpenters and see which path makes the most sense after that.

I just looked at your picture gallery on the Washington Post site, your home is gorgeous. Could you share your wall paint colors? I would love to know the color on your living room and master bedroom walls? Thank you!

All I can say for sure is that they are Benjamin Moore colors. They names flew out of my head after baby #3!

I'm hoping to have a huge yardsale this spring. What process should I use to figure out what is even worth selling? And once I have my big pile together, how should I figure out the prices for everything? I don't want to totally under sell... but I don't want to overprice things either! The goal is to de-clutter!

Yes. You got it. The goal is to declutter so resolve not to bring anything back into the house - what doesn't sell, donate to charity. Meanwhile, remember that most things you have are worth less than you think. If you have some vintage collectibles, look up their value on ebay. Look at Craiglist to see what pieces of furniture are going for. Most things at your sale should sell for less than $20.  Check out this website. www.garagesalesource.com for specific pricing ideas for popular items.

Hi, I'm anxious to try to refinish some furniture myself. How do you finish the inside of dresser drawers? Do you recommend painting them or leaving them as they are? Thanks!

Personally, I like to leave them in their natural state. I love the contrast of refinishing the exterior of a piece and bring it back to life, but also love seeing the "roots" of the interior and where it came from originally.

Hi. I'm curious what the spherical item is on your blue table in your living room? Looks like sticks or something from the ocean?

Yes! Love that ball of weathered wood! Not a great piece for a 1 year old boy in the house that likes to play, though! I found this at West Elm.

I recently painted a white chest of drawers with two coats of ASCP Emperor Red and it turned out beautifully. I have put on a clear coat of wax and attempted to distress in places, but the original white is showing through now in the distressed places! When I dark wax, will that eliminate the white bits?

Well, not really. It will just look like dark white in those places. If you like that look, then embrace it. If you want a clean look you are going to have to repaint those spots. Sounds like maybe you did not let the paint dry long enough maybe.

Hi, do you think I could paint my wood railing/bannister with the chalk paints? Would it hold up to every day constant touching? The paint sounds like just what I'm looking for with no sanding! :)

I think with any piece of painted wood there will be signs of wear after time. I'd recommend quite a few coats for extra coverage. My personal take is that if you are not happy with the look now, what do you have to lose? Annie Sloan painted the exterior of her storefron with chalk paint. That's saying alot!

Try Renovation Hardware which is a catalog and website for replacement hardware. They had repro knobs for an old Hoosier kitchen cabinet that I can't tell from the originals. This is NOT Restoration Hardware.

Thanks.

I purchased a white slipcovered Ikea sofa similar to yours, but after several washings I swear the slipcover shrunk! Yours looks so perfect where please don't tell me it if from Ikea.

Wow - don't look too closely! I was mine too, but between you and me (and everyone else) the zippers on the pillows don't fully zip! But, I don't mind as long as I can wash out the dog hair!

Hello, I'm looking for simple and modern wooden furniture, particularly a bedroom dresser and book cases. I love mid-century designs, but don't like the cost buying this stuff new. I can't buy more from IKEA, it seems like disposable furniture to me. So, I'm looking for used pieces, and I like to restore. I live in Baltimore. Any ideas?

Two great plaes in Baltimore that immediately come to mind are Second Chance and  Housewerks. And here  is a round-up of home shops in Baltimore that we  ran a few years ago. Read

Looking at your pictures it seems to me that your stuff is mostly just old rather than antique. This is very very good. Lots of interesting stuff from early 20th century that is not precious, just fun. Real antiques as we all know should be left alone. I am so inspired by your work.

Antiques vs. antique inspired. Yes, I have a combination of accessories. I think it's important to mix & match and put it all together. If I really like a reproduction because of the look, then I'm okay with it being a new piece.

what inspired you to do this?

We were building a home to move into with my 3 kids and there was no budget for furniture. So, I started playing aorund with milk paint and found Chalk Paint. I love being in control of what style & color piece I put in my home!

I'm so impressed with your work ethic!!! How do you find the time to get it all done with three little ones around? (sent from a "new" mom up in NYC whos last name might be Bloj).

My LOVE!! Annie Bloj!!! aka Crutchfield! Thanks for all your support, Lovie! Well, I take time during naps & after I tuck them into bed at night. My husband works really late so I'm on my own most of the time. I will admit that I put on princess movies quite often if I need to go work! Too bad that doesn't work for a 1 year old so much!

 

 

I have issues. I troll estate sales and thrift stores and bring home way too many finds, typically dressers and frames, that I have no room for. I love to revitalize things, but the basement is getting crowded and my husband is getting cranky. How can I unload some of these projects?

You could have a yard sale of your own or snap some pictures and post the items on Craigslist. If the pieces are priced well, are in good shape and have nice lines,  I guarantee there are others that will gladly take them off your hands.

Christen, do you purchase the Annie Sloan paint online or is there a local store that carries it? Thanks!

If you are in the NOVA area, Stifel & Capra sells Annie Sloan products. You can also find a stockist online that sells it in your area.

There is a shoe repair shop in Old Town Alexandria at King St. and Columbus intersection that replaced a zipper on a leather jacket for me a couple of years ago. I can't remember their name but they are still there.

Thanks.

I think what you are doing is terrific..start looking for a storefront girlie. We will all cheer you on! Have you thought about what comes next?

Thanks for asking! I'm going to be in the LUCKETTS SPRING MARKET in May in Lucketts, VA. So, please come and see me! I will probably set out to do that annually then hopefully they will give me space in the actual shop. If you want to do some marketing for me next time you are in there - feel free!

I have a big empty white wall in my apartment. I'm renting, so I can't paint it and it is in desperate need of some art. What do you recommend? It's big, so it will need something sizable or a lot of little things. I'm reluctant to invest in a huge piece because who knows if I'll have space for it at the next place!

How about something like this grid of frames styled by the cute and crafty Young House Love bloggers. 

Hi Christen! You've given a idea what to do with a hideous old dresser that is our basement (it's huge, so it's not going anywhere). My concern is that the top surface is laminated. Will the chalk paint work OK, or do I have to do something to the surface so the paint will stick? Thanks, Marcy Tarter

Hey there! The Chalk Paint will stick to most things. I personally do not like working with anything but real wood. It might slip & slide a bit, but it should adhere after a few coats. Try it. I wouldn't distress on the laminate part though because you don't want it showing through.

Loved the chalk paint colors, especially the Louie Blue.  Does BM or Behr make something similar? 

You could try to get it matched at Home Depot. We did that for a few walls in our home.

I was noticing your sofa has a slipcover on it. Is this one that was made for this particular sofa or one off the shelf. If made could you pls get me info on having it made or making it myself. Thanks!

That's an Ikea sofa! So, yes, the slipcover was made for it. That's when we had no $$ for furniture, but it's white and I think you can get away with cheaper furniture if it's a white.

WIth Macys, if you see something you like, look up their price online. It is often lower and the sales people at the store will often match the online price, so you can take it home and not pay shipping. Probably a good idea to do at other stores too.

Great tip. thanks!

This is perfect timing - I've just found a California king-sized bed that would look great jazzed up with paint, but I want to be sure the proportions are right before I dive in. How much space should there be on either side of the bed - is 30" enough? And would a big piece require higher ceilings to look right? Last, go bold - or paler shades. This would be the main thing in the room - I want it to look intentional, not like the only place I could squeeze in a relic! thanks. . .

I can speak to the paint part of the question - as far as color I say subtle. If it's a huge bed and the room might not be huge you don't want this monster of a dark bed taking up all the space visually. Go with Old White, Country Grey or even Paris Grey. Beautiful colros that will make it look high end.

I have an old armoire I'd love to repaint, but I don't have the time or energy to do it myself. Taking it somewhere is a pain. Any idea where I could find someone who would come to my house and paint it where it stands? I could provide dropcloths, paints, etc. If it doesn't need stripping/sanding, should I just CraigsList a college student for $100?

You could put an add out for a painter, but not everyone is going to be able to do the distressing process. I have a mover that could pick up & drop it off when it's done. Get in touch to chat.

www.blueeggbrownnest.com

 

Do you paint picture frames? I have two vintage ones that are a sort of mustard yellow that I don't much like, but I like the actual frames. I'd be a lot happier with these frames if they were a different color, so perhaps I'll try that. (Although I knocked one off the wall the other day and the glass broke all over the bathroom floor...sigh.)

Yes! I've done several frames and it's a great affect. I buy mine and Michaels and tranform them. I actually have 4 on my dining room wall displaying sheet music and they look like I ordered them from Wisteria.

do you paint with a brush or roller? how do you avoid brush strokes?

The brush strokes are not a problem because you are sanding & distressing. It's an aged look - not a perfect, clean look. I don't want furniture that look manufactured. I want something more special.

You could ind a great piece of fabric or a quilt. That way, you don't have to worry about space at the next place--if there isn't room to use it, simply fold it up and store it.

Good idea.

In my living room I have two built in bookcases on either side of French doors. Would using chalk paint be okay in this application?

Absolutely! Just tape if you don't want paint on the doors! I plan on doing my fireplace soon.

Hi, it sounds like there are special brushes for the paint and wax? Sold with the paint in Falls Church? They are best to use? Thanks!

I just have a standard paint brush that I use for the painting part. You can get the Annie Sloan wax brush in FC or online. You could also use an old rag to put on the wax, but the brush just ensures better coverage.

thanks for your input on refinishing old furniture. I see I don't have to remove the wax but do I need to prime before painting?

Nope. No clean, priming, sanding. A miracle in a can!

I've got a bunch of Pottery Barn Furniture and am tempted to recreate it. Would you recommend sing Annie Sloan? Also, do you think I'd have to strip it before applying the paint? I guess that leads to another question. When do you know when you'll have to strip a piece before applying Annie Sloan paints??? P.S. I love the look you've created throughout your home! You are truly an inspiration to mothers:)

Thanks fellow mom!! No, you don't have to prep the piece of furniture. I totally think you should us it on you PB pieces. Again, it looks better with pieces that have detail instead of straight lines.

Hello! I love antiques and have refinished a few in the past. I did it the long way by stripping the paint and sanding it. I stopped doing it because I'm affraid there might be lead in some of the old antiques. Do you have to worry about that when you use the Annie Slogan paint? I like the modern look and would like to use a high-gloss paint but I'm not sure if I would have to prep the piece or could paint over it like the chalk paint.

With Annie Sloan you don't have to prep the piece or sand or strip or clean so you don't really have to worry about that dust flyig up that has been sitting there for ages. The AS paint just goes right over it. You could always wear a face mask when distressing the piece and the paint dust comes up. But, it's really not a huge amount.

I have nine pieces of antique children's furniture which we inherited from my husband's grandmother. Do you paint furniture which you did not purchase?

I do. Please feel free to get in touch and I will give you an estimate.

www.blueeggbrownnest.com

cbensten@gmail.com

do you find you need several coats to cover a piece or do you usually just do one?

I do one base coat and then at least 2 coats of the colored paint until I get the coverage that I want.

I'm expect a baby boy in May. I need ideas for painting the nursery, because I don't want to do the typical blue. I wanted to do something different.

My little boy has a Benjamin Moore color called Haystack or something similar. I paired it with navy accessories and just love the neutral color. I get inspiration for my kids' rooms from the Serena & Lily catalogue.

I have three antique chairs and an antique rocking chair in need of canning, the hand made kind, not the ready made pannel. Who would you recommendo to do this? Thank you.

Try Termini  www.terminibrothers.com in Gaithersburg.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I was really looking for a soft color..not anything bold, as the bathroom is right off a boldly orange room. Other ideas? And could you please address the part of my question about the finish for bathroom paint...is eggshell not a good idea in bathrooms?

As far as the paint finish in a bathroom you want a washable semi gloss for the walls that can clean well. I know that the high gloss is really en vogue now too.

Would it work on wood doors?

Yes, it will adhere to a wood door and look lovely. I love a door as an accessory just leaning on a wall and think in the right color it would be a great accent piece.

Hi Christen, Your furniture and colors have such a peaceful feel about them. Just beautiful. I just moved into and apartment which has all wall to wall carpet. A pretty soft light sand color. Would the Paris grey color chalk paint look ok with this shade carpet? Or would I need to paint my old furniture w/something in a soft yellow/butter shade? Also is this paint safe to work with inside, w/windows up?Any strong odors or breathing issues? Or should I go to my sisters backyard for the painting? Thanks so much.

I think a neutral color on the floor would be preferable, actually. You don't want everything in your space to be matchy- matchy. You want character and charm and something that shows off you likes. Paris Grey is my favorite and if you have the right pieces to show it off it will look great.

Thanks so much for chatting today! So fun!

Christen

www.blueeggbrownnest.om

Thanks Christen for answering so many questions. Clearly a lot of us have old pieces of furniture waiting to be rescued. Don't forget to vote in our poll here.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post's Local Living section.
Christen Bensten
Christen Bensten is a mother of three in Arlington. She runs the design blog Blue Egg Brown Nest and is featured in this week's Local Living.
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