Few people want a dresser, table or armoire that looks like it has survived a war, so surface refinishing has become very popular. Sanding off the old finish and repainting is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this, and there are now a vast array of choices in paint colors and finishes. Even paint brushes have their own distinct styles, and they range from traditional horsehair and acrylic brushes to sponges on a stick.
Embellishing a painted piece is often important to hide imperfections, and it can also be used to add interest to a piece. Decoupage has come back into vogue, and there are many books and online videos available for those interested in learning how to do it. It is a fairly simple process, so it only requires a paper item to be laid on the surface and glue to make it adhere. For those who want a lasting finish, there are sealants that work well on furniture.
While many people want a piece to look completely new, others want to make it look older. Crackling has become the new way to achieve an older look, and hobbyists like it because they can control the process. It is applied directly to the new paint, and the amount used determines how much the finish will crack. One other way this look can be achieved is by keeping a furniture piece through several generations of a family until it is an antique.
Upholstery is often in need of changing after a few decades, and there are now many tools to help those who want to spruce up old chairs or ottomans. Sewing stores sell all manner of cloth, and staplers can be purchased that are either manual or electric. For those who are interested in doing something more complex, upholstery needle sets are also available.