Unfinished Furniture Can Add Interest and Spice to Your Space

Whether you're tight on budget or one of those creative spirits, unfinished furniture (or previously owned furniture) can add "spice to your space".

So here are a few pointers that might help you stir up those creative juices for the fall.

Auctions and Estate Sales - Scout auctions and estate sales for jewels at good prices - even garage sales. When I was younger, I foolishly sold some of my grandmother's all wood furniture and a great old-fashioned sewing machine with pedal stand was given to Goodwill. Yikes! Hate to think of what I sold for peanuts or gave away that was truly valuable. But I was young and stupid. What can I say? Check out consignment shops, flea markets and newspaper ads.

Check for sturdiness - I once bought a sofa and loveseat from a store going out of business. Later I knew why. It was flimsy and didn't last long. Look for quality. If furniture was made well to begin with, it will stand up over time, even if it's present condition is not perfect. Make sure any seating or table has sturdy legs, fastened well and that it does not rock. Wobbliness is no good. Look for cross braces on the legs for increased sturdiness.

Inspect drawers - Pull out the drawers and inspect them. Are the corners dovetailed? Are there dust boards or some type of panels between one row of drawers and the one below? If the answer is "yes" to both, chances are the piece is well constructed.

Check out new unfinished furniture - Formerly unfinished furniture was only available in low-quaity pine. But there is more selection now.

Compare types of wood - Some types of wood are less expensive than others. Lower priced furniture is usually made of clear, soft white pine. Sometimes it's veneer - well, quite often it's veneer, which I hate. I recently returned a piece of furniture that broke twice in a matter of a couple of months because the wood was so soft it could not withstand even the mildest movement. When dealing with low quality wood, consider painting or lacquering it. Make the color the "design statement" and not the quality.

Medium-quality wood - Medium-quality wood is often knotty pine, which is tougher and harder. The characteristic knots in the wood add to the rustic look and create a warm, casual feeling in a room.

High-quality wood - Here you'll find your maple, birch or aspen woods. These are strong woods and have an interesting grain.

Luxury wood - Look for cherry and oak solids in this category. These woods look great in furniture no matter how they are finished.

Other September Tips:

Barbara Jennings is a well known author and interior decorator in Southern California. She is also a published artist. She teaches rearrangement design and how to do it as a home based business. Visit her website at Decorate-Redecorate.Com. Used by permission.

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