DIY furniture restoration

DIY Furniture Refurbishing vs. Professional Furniture Restoration Company?

Should you DIY your furniture repair or hire the pros? If you are asking yourself this question, the answer depends on a few considerations:

  • Your expertise
  • Your tools and supplies
  • The time you have available
  • Your budget
  • The nature of the job and materials

In this guide, we are going to go over the advantages and drawbacks of taking care of your furniture refurbishing on your own or paying a professional to do it. We will also offer you some tips for your DIY furniture repair jobs, and point you in the direction of some of the top furniture repairs services.

Advantages and Disadvantages for DIY Furniture Repair

To help you figure out whether to hire a restoration company or repair your own furniture, let’s go over the pros and cons of each.

Pros of DIY Furniture Repair

  • If you know what you are doing, repairing your furniture yourself can save you money.
  • You will have full control over the materials and techniques that go into your furniture repairs and refurbishing.

Cons of DIY Furniture Repair

  • Repairing your furniture on your own takes time.
  • You might have to invest in tools and supplies you do not have on hand.
  • If you are lacking in some expertise, you will need to develop them.
  • If you make mistakes along the way, you might have to spend more time and money fixing them. In some cases, the mistakes may not be fixable.

Advantages and Disadvantages for Professional Furniture Restoration

Pros of Professional Furniture Restoration

  • A professional can get the job done faster than you can, sparing you from pouring hours or days of your own work into your repairs and improvements.
  • Pros bring all the tools, materials and supplies. In situations where you would otherwise need to buy a bunch of supplies yourself, this might actually end up saving you money.
  • A professional furniture repair service is far less likely to make mistakes. They bring years of experience, including with specialized work.
  • If you hire a pro, that person may have ideas for refurbishing and upgrading your furniture that you never would have come up with on your own.

Cons of Professional Furniture Restoration

  • Paying a professional to refurbish your furniture may cost more than doing it yourself.
  • While you can work closely with a professional to do a custom job, you will not have quite as much control as you would if you were physically doing the work yourself.

When to Go with a Pro vs. Doing It Yourself

Now that you are familiar with the pros and cons of refurbishing your furniture on your own versus paying a professional to do it, we can offer some final recommendations for which is best in which situations.

Repair Your Own Furniture If …

  • You have the skills needed for the job, or are willing to learn them.
  • You have the tools and materials, or you can obtain them.
  • You have enough time to work on the repair jobs (as well as the time for any training and practice that might be necessary).

Hire a Professional Furniture Refurbishing Service If …

  • You do not have the time or do not want to spend the time to DIY.
  • You are having a hard time obtaining supplies, or doing so would be costly to you.
  • You lack skills and experience, and/or are worried about making mistakes.

Tips for DIY Furniture Restoration

If you do decide you want to try out DIY furniture refurbishing, here are a few pointers that will help you do so successfully.

  1. Budget the costs.

Figure out what it would cost you to refurbish the piece on your own. Account for:

  • The cost for materials.
  • The cost for tools and other supplies.
  • Any expenses related to learning the skills you need.
  • The financial cost of your time (i.e. hours you might otherwise be spending earning money at a job).
  • The cost to fix any potential mistakes.

Once you have an estimate, you may want to add a bit onto it as a buffer; it is easy to undershoot. Tack on maybe 10-20% more than what you think you will need.

  1. Budget the time.

While doing the step above, you should have already come up with an estimate for how many hours of work are ahead of you. Expect it not to go entirely smoothly; add on a few extra hours as a buffer, just as you did with financial costs.

Figure out how you will schedule this time and balance it with your other commitments. It is important to be realistic in this step. You do not want to commit to a project that you are not going to be able to finish.

  1. Create concrete plans.

You might have a clear idea in your head for what you want to do with the piece, but that isn’t enough. Something that seems straightforward in your mind’s eye might not translate to reality as readily as you think.

Draft some actual plans. Take measurements, make diagrams. Make sure you know whether your ideas are viable, and exactly how to make them happen.

Another smart move is to bring home samples of the materials or paint colors you want to use. Check how they look in the lighting of your home, and with reference to your other furnishings and décor. More often than you would think, colors that appeared great in the shop may actually turn out to be a mismatch.

  1. Stock up on tools and supplies.

Once you have definite plans, you will know exactly what supplies you need to turn them into a reality. So, the next step is just to shop for what you need. While staying within your budget is important, you might sometimes want to spend a little extra to get higher quality materials and tools.

  1. Don’t neglect your safety.

If you already are used to doing this kind of work, you should have safety supplies on hand. But if you are just trying out this DIY work for the first time, you might need to stock up on items such as:

  • Safety goggles or safety glasses
  • A mask (i.e. for varnishing)
  • Long-sleeved clothing

You also should consider where you are working. Some tasks involved with refurbishing will generate fumes. You do not want to be trapped inside with those fumes. Make sure you either do that type of work outdoors, or have windows or doors open to let out the fumes while you work inside.

  1. Clean your furnishings, then repair them.

Do not jump straight into repair and refurbishing work. Instead, start out by cleaning your furnishing. There are a couple of benefits to doing this:

  • First of all, this is your chance to get rid of dust and debris. If you do not do this, they could end up getting trapped under paint, etc., and will give your piece a rough finish.
  • Secondly, there are situations where it turns out that furnishings look great again after you clean them. You might discover that there is no more work necessary.

After you finish cleaning, you can proceed with any repairs that are needed.

Once that step is complete, you will be able to take care of the finishing. First, you must strip off the old finish. Then, you can paint or stain the wood to put on a new finish. After it dries, your furnishing will hopefully look as good as new.

Top Furniture Restoration Services

Prefer to work with a professional instead of trying to do your own furniture refurbishing and repairs? To help you find quality services, we have put together a list of some of the top furniture refurbishment companies.

You will notice that while there are overlaps in the services of these businesses, each of them has different specializations.

1. Furniture Medic

One of the biggest names in the world of professional furniture repair is Furniture Medic. This company has been around for more than 30 years now. The company writes, “At Furniture Medic we’re so much more than furniture repairmen and women. We’re dedicated, skilled technicians who can help transform everything from your old, worn furniture to your entire kitchen cabinetry into a new exciting look that will be a centerpiece of your home for many years to come. “

Furniture Medic’s services include:

  • Furniture repair and restoration
  • Wood repair and restoration
  • On-site repair and restoration
  • Antique repair and restoration
  • Cabinet transformation and related services
  • Insurance-related repair and restoration work

2. Furniture Service LLC

This mobile furnishing repair company works hard to build lasting relationships with its customers. You can commission Furniture Service LLC for a wide range of services, including:

  • Wood furniture repair
  • Furnishing refinishing
  • Cabinet restoration and refinishing
  • Antique restoration
  • Table top resurfacing
  • Upholstering
  • Leather repair
  • Lacquer restoration
  • Ultra fine lacquer furniture finishes
  • Repairing antiques with missing parts
  • Permit applications
  • Upholstery frame repair
  • Furniture assembly
  • Gilded restoration
  • Chinoiserie restoration
  • Small jobs

As you can see, Furniture Service LLC offers quite a few specialty services, and is adept at working with a wide range of materials.

3. Schoenbauer Furniture Service, Inc.

This company is a long-standing name in furnishing repair. In fact, the history of Schoenbauer Furniture Service, Inc. dates way back. Schoenbauer explains, “The late Bill Schoenbauer Sr.’s great-grandfather, German cabinetmaker Carl Schoenbauer, immigrated to the United States in 1896. The family slowly evolved into working in furniture restoration for the moving and storage industry. Bill Jr. apprenticed with his father, Francis W. Schoenbauer, Sr. for 15 years before forming Schoenbauer Furniture Service in 1991.”

Here are some of Schoenbauer’s services:

  • Antique restoration
  • Furniture repair and restoration
  • Fabrications
  • Re-upholstery
  • Cane and rush replacement
  • On-site repairs
  • Architectural restoration
  • Art repairs
  • Kitchen cabinets

So, if you have antique furnishings you need repaired or restored—especially if they double as “art”—then this company may be a particularly good choice. They can also help you with non-furniture art.

4. Local Furniture Repair Services

Another option that is always worth considering if you are looking for professional help with your furnishings is to check into some of the best furniture repair shops in your local area.

There may be some small businesses in your region that are not as well-known as the companies on this list, but which can provide excellent services.

Going local can be especially convenient in situations where maybe you live in a remote town, and larger companies do not service your area. Someone who lives in your town or a neighboring town may be willing to come out to your location. Plus, you will be supporting a local business, which is also nice.

Restore Your Favorite Furnishings

Restoring wood furniture on your own is something you may be able to handle sometimes, depending on the job that needs to be done and your level of skill. But in many cases, it is worth it to pay a professional to take care of the job.

The pros will be able to do it right the first time, saving you time and possibly money. You will be able to avoid the risk of damage to your furniture, and enjoy a quality result.