Post a job

How to spice up your home décor without saying goodbye to old furniture

12th Dec '17 • By Hannah Jackson

From being put out to the gutter for a trash run, to polished and identical to the first time you saw it, or updated with a fresh new look. Looking at an object and seeing the beauty behind the wear and tear of past years, is what furniture restoration is all about.

Handyman Tools

Once again, the kids have disdained from using coasters for their cold drinks on your mother's 1940's mahogany coffee table. Covered in water rings for the 50th time this year. Inspecting the table, you see your new kitten has scratched down the sides, having the what-used-to-be beautifully polished wood, now flaking onto the carpet. Obviously, this table has seen its day, and is later moved onto the front lawn for trash collection. After coming back from picking the kids up from school, you notice the table is gone. 'Who would want that old thing?


A neighbour from a few doors down drives by and spots the table, who just so happens to want a vintage-styled coffee table for their living room. 'A little restoring will do just the trick!' Carefully placing the table in the back of their car, they happily drive away with a newly found treasure.

One man’s trash, is another’s treasure, right? 

hagle dining room set

It Wood Work

If you feel as if your chesterfield lounge has seen its day, or even your mother's mahogany table, never think you can't salvage it from its ruin. Furniture restorations can be made to maintain an antique or vintage piece's structural integrity and appearance, keeping its beloved value.

Local Gold Coast resident Rachel Tyler was thrilled when spotting a vintage rocking chair, while spending an afternoon garage sale hunting, a few weeks away from Christmas. Rachel purchased the chair, unaware that her husband Keith, would restore it as a Christmas gift.

With its chipping wood, and foam splitting through the green fabric, Rachel could only imagine how beautiful it would look on her newly built and modernised backyard deck, not only giving a fresh new look, but some personality.  Keith took it straight to their local furniture restoration specialist.

The Furniture Artisan

For Tess Bourque, her passion started as a simple do-it-yourself’er task, quickly becoming a strong passion for repurposing and refinishing beautiful pieces for her valued customers.

'I was on Facebook one day, looking at for-sale pages ... [and]... I came across an old stereo cabinet.' Tess had been wanting a coffee station for some time, and with the stereo's similarities to what she was looking for, she was ecstatic.

Without hesitation, Tessa took the cabinet home, gutting and sanding she wasted no time. Already knowledgeable in what to do, she went on to completing her first major refurbished furniture piece.

Janie Leonard dining room set

Fast forward to today, Tess is successfully running her own business, Renewed Treasures Studios. Breathing new life into outdated furniture pieces and refinishing cherished possessions that just don't quite fit into her client’s décor or taste.

'Most of the time, its cherished pieces that have been passed down from another family member.' Tess explains that the piece itself is loved, but the need to update furniture is high.

'Because let's face it, what was trendy back in the 70's, is no longer trendy today...'

Having many years in the customisation industry, Tess encounters treasured and personal items, bringing stories that pull on the heart strings from time to time. 

'I had a customer whose husband had passed away. She had an old boxed television they bought when they first married. The woman wanted to take the television out of it, and make a shelf.'

So, Tess and her team got to work, gutting the outdated television and installing shelving inside.

'[Now] she places all her memorabilia...from their lives together inside it.' 

Nadine fireplace

There are some struggles to the work that Tess and her team do. Being a very physically demanding job, many of the misconceptions to furniture restoration, is the disbelief of the hard work that is put into the restoring process.

'Most people don’t realize how physically demanding it is to refinish furniture. They think "oh you just slap some paint on a piece and call it a day!" [But] there is so much more to refinishing.' Says Tess.

According to the successful business owner, you must properly prep your furniture, which includes stripping and/or sanding it down. Followed by painting or staining the desired finish, with endless possibilities of finishes you can create on a piece of furniture, the process is very time consuming.

In this line of work, it’s important to be a people person, with strong communication skills.

 '...sometimes [you] [need] [to] pull a vision out of a customer’s mind that they want to achieve, but can't describe.' This is where having an imagination comes in handy.

Fortunately, Tess explains that the positives outweigh the negatives by miles. Number one being, making the '...ugly duckling a beautiful swan!'

Considering herself as a Furniture Artisan, Tess creates art on new furniture pieces every day. 'You have a large palette to work with at times and smaller ones at other times, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.'  

Tess Bourque believes that it isn't someone's style or taste that matters. All that matters is her valued clients are satisfied with the final reveal.

'I love to see my customer's faces [when] they get to see their cherished possessions come back to life.'

It's people like Tess Bourque, which keep the beauty and life alive in furniture. Taking treasured family heirlooms and warmest memories of loved ones, and turning them into something priceless. It's people like Tess that are making the world a more beautiful place, one piece at a time.

Striped Trunk

DIY and the FYI

If you are more of a do-it-yourself’er, then these budget friendly tips will help you with caring for your newest furniture restoration project.

If you are wanting to prevent any stains and rings occurring, when placing warm plates, dishes, hot mugs, or watery glasses on wood surfaces, make sure that a hot-pad, place-mat or coaster is used. They are about to become your tables new best friend.

Helpful tip: Disdain from constantly having a protective pad on the table. The wood must be able to breathe and receive nourishment through the air.

Secondly, to avoid blistering, striating and discolouration, have your furniture placed away from windows and areas receiving direct sunlight, as UV rays are damaging and quickly deteriorate the finish of the wood.

If you're needing to care for leather for your newest refurbishment, you must make sure that the leather is moisturised regularly. Over time, the leather becomes overly dry creating cracks in the material.

If you are not skilled in refurbishing or restoration, go to your local hardware store for advice on the correct chemical to use for this step. Generally, a natural leather conditioner will do just the trick, softening and conditioning the leather over time.

chestfield lounge

Have no time to go to the hardware store for your mahogany coffee table? Well, say goodbye to those awful watermark rings on the beautifully polished table by using white non-gel toothpaste. Yes, you read that right, toothpaste!

Gently rub some of the toothpaste on the wood with a soft cloth. Wipe it off with a damp cloth and let it dry before coating furniture polish.

Now, when I say gently rub, I really mean it. Don't be scrubbing so much that your fingers hurt, go easy as the harder and longer you scrub at the surface of the wood; the more you are to wear away at the finish instead of removing the water ring.

Helpful tip: for a stronger clean for this stubborn marks, create a mixture with equal parts of the toothpaste and Bi-Carb Soda. And repeat the process as above.


Feeling inspired? You can find Tess on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Make sure to check out Renewed Treasures Studios, today for helpful DIY tips, beautiful creations and so much more.

Here at we provide thousands of users with various businesses every day, ranging from interior design to construction and furniture restoration. Simply search for tradesman in your area and select the business that suits your needs.

Either call them directly for a free quote, post your own job to receive multiple quotes from your local tradesperson or simply call our office directly and our friendly staff will be more than happy to help select the perfect business to suit your needs.

If you're needing help with your next big refurbishment project, click the link below to receive multiple quotes from professional service providers!

 Get Quotes

Posted under