Thursday, 5 July 2012

Renovating vintage furniture with 20sixltd

Hi everyone :),

Does anyone else love vintage furniture ?! If you are anything like me, somewhere in your house will be a vintage piece which you adore! The weather here in England has been so bad (rain, wind, more rain and more rain again) that I have been unable to get out in the garden and get working on some of my vintage pieces of furniture which need a little bit of tender love and care and the weather certainly has not allowed for any upcycling projects! However, I am forever the optimist that this weather is on the way out and we will have blue skies and sunshine soon so I have been speaking to the team at Brighton based fit out company, 20six, about restoring, upcycling and reworking vintage pieces of furniture.

The team recently put a question to their Twitter followers; “What do you prefer, original or reworked pieces?” It wasn’t a shock to hear that the answer seemed to be largely in favour of original, vintage pieces.

Of course, sometimes renovating a piece is unavoidable, so the 20six design team have put together a few tips to for anyone looking to refresh or up cycle existing furniture:

“As part of a large PFI public library refurbishment, we were asked to try and retain and recondition as many original interior features as possible to play homage to the original 1960 Basil Spence modernist building. 

Part of the original furniture specification was the Fritz Hansen Series 7™ chair designed by Arne Jacobsen. The Series 7™ chair is by far the most sold chair in the history of Fritz Hansen and perhaps also in furniture history. The pressure molded veneer chair is a further development of the classic  Ant™ chair.

In embarking on this project, we realised how difficult it can be to find the balance between keeping the classic touch of the original design whilst refurbishing it to make it more usable in the modern day.

After a lot of different attempts, that included re-upholstering even painting artwork onto the chair, we settled on re-lacquering the designs - but not before we learnt a few lessons from the whole experience!

So here are our top tips:

1) Keep it as simple. The old design saying of "Less is more" applies here. Whilst some ways of reconditioning make items more suitable for new purposes, when dealing with iconic classics - try not to undermine the integrity of the design.

2) Test first. If trying out a new decorative colour of design finish - try and get a small sample of a similar material to test out your ideas on first. This could potentially save you a lot of time and money in the future!

3) Ask questions. If in doubt there is a phone book full of professionals and craftsmen with a wealth of experience ready to tap in to.  Alternatively you could always look online in design forums and websites for advice.”

Thank you to the team at 20six for sharing their knowledge and tips.

I hope you all enjoyed the article and fingers crossed for some sunshine so we can get outside and start our furniture projects! 

Has anyone from other, sunnier,parts of the world started a furniture project? If so I would love to hear about it, please leave me a comment in the comment section below :)


The Dorothy Days  


  1. Wow, that sounds like fun! I have just recently moved and have a mixture of old and Ikea. I don't have any want to renovate the furniture, but I think the 20six tram have some great stuff!

  2. I will trade you our heat for your rain!

    I did a little rennovation on an end table I found at GoodWill. It had a swinging arm-type door. I took that apart and fashioned 2 doors out of it. And reconditioned the wood. I still have that end table by my recliner. The doors don't always stay shut, but it is an hexagonal shape that fits beautifully.

    1. Its a deal!! Still raining over here and even had thunder this afternoon.

      Your rennovation sounds great, thanks for sharing :).

  3. I enjoyed this article. I own 1 piece of vintage furniture that has been re-painted but not to my liking. I keep it because it is beautiful and sturdy. I've told myself a zillion times that I will redo it but I'm afraid to. Thank you for your's helpful!

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the article and found 20sixltd's tips helpful for your project :) best of luck with it. I hope it turns out the way you hope

  4. I LOVE antique furniture. I just got a pretty beat up carved wood wing back chair a few months ago for $15! I am almost done reupholstering it with a woven autumn grass patterned organic cotton. It was my first time reupholstering and I think it turned out relatively well! Just need to cover the nail head edging with some sort of gimp and I'm done. Thank you for sharing. Hope your rain leads to sunshine soon!

    1. Wow, that sounds amazing :)! I bet it will be absolutely beautiful. The cotton sounds great.


Please leave me a comment (it makes me smile!)

Thank you!