There’s a piece of furniture you really love, but the finish is starting to look old, faded, scratched up, worn, or tired. It’s too good a piece to throw away. What are your options for giving an old finish new life? Here are three options to consider.

1. Restoring The Finish:

Wood polishes, conditioners, and refinishing products can revitalize a tired, faded wood surface. One of the market leaders in this category is Howard Products, whose Restor-A-Finish product can perk up furniture without the need to remove the existing finish first. Wipe on and wipe off the product to bring back the furniture’s original color and luster while removing unsightly white heat rings or water marks and making light scratches, abrasions, and other imperfections disappear.

Follow up Restor-A-Finish with Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner to enhance a finish and keep it from drying out, fading, or cracking. Other Howard offerings, such as Orange Oil and Lemon Oil wood polishes and Citrus-Shield Premium Paste Wax, can restore, enhance, and protect the look of wood.

2. Refinishing Furniture:

If the wood finish is really far gone, you might opt to refinish it. You’ll need to strip the old finish off before proceeding. A variety of strippers are manufactured for this purpose. Consult the knowledgeable staff at your local paint store to ensure that you select the right product. Make sure to use appropriate skin and eye protection, and use these products in a well-ventilated area to avoid adverse effects from the fumes. (There are also “safe strippers” on the market that remove an old finish with no harmful fumes or odor and no caustic effect on your skin.) The wood should be repaired as necessary before you proceed. Use an epoxy or wood filler to fill in cracks, gouges, or missing chunks.

Make sure the surface is dry, clean, and free of dirt, grease, and existing coatings before you begin the staining process; then apply a wood stain in the type and color of your choice. Some people prefer gel or wiping stains because they’re easy to apply and deliver a uniform color. The non-drip formula also makes these products easier to apply on vertical surfaces. When applying stain with a brush or cloth, be sure to apply it in the direction of the wood grain. Allow the stain to penetrate the surface before wiping off the excess; 10 to 15 minutes is recommended. If you want to achieve a richer and deeper color, allow more time for the stain to penetrate. Let the stain dry thoroughly (manufacturers recommend a minimum of eight to 10 hours) before applying a clear protective finish to seal the stain.

3. Chalk Paint:

Chalk painting is a great way to give new life to an old piece of furniture—and you can achieve it without stripping, sanding, or priming. The tradeoff is that you’ll no longer see the woodgrain. If you’re OK with that, chalk paint might be the best solution for covering a furniture finish gone bad. Chalk paints come in a variety of colors. You might try a sage green on a foyer table, a dusty rose on a nightstand, or country blue on an upright piano.

Chalk-painted pieces are particularly at home in such decorating styles as Shabby Chic, New Age Bohemian, and Scandinavian Cottage. Seal your finish with a clear wax to extend the life of your finish, then enjoy that piece of furniture now that you’ve given it a new lease on life.