Before & After: A Broken Chair Gets Refurbished and Rejuvenated



It is far too often that I see pieces of furniture thrown onto the curb, still fully functional with just a few nicks, bruises and scuffs here and there. If there is anything that we have lost as a global culture, it is the desire and the skill to repair—to salvage and enhance rather than toss. Today’s delightful before and after, sent to us by France-based reader Charlene Lamy, takes a household problem that many face—cracked and chipping veneer on furniture—and provides an easy and beautiful way to repair and upgrade the piece. After a quick and affordable fix, Charlene’s midcentury chairs are just like new, proving that a little bit of work can have a big payoff! Check out the rest of the photos, plus Charlene’s design notes after the jump! —Max



“I couldn’t find any chair style that I really liked for months,” Charlene notes. “Actually—yes, but the options were outrageously expensive for my budget! I recently found five beautiful, but very damaged Baumann style chairs at a very low price ($10 each, I was lucky). I was looking for a Scandinavian-style chair to match with this amazing sideboard (that I want to buy one day!), so I bought them without any hesitation!”


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“The hardest part of the work was to remove the old veneer because, on some areas of the chair, it wasn’t easy. But after, the re-veneering wasn’t so difficult! I removed the first layer of veneer with a wood chisel. To make it easier, I used a damp cloth with iron to soak the wood. I then cut the veneer roll for each part of the chair (scissors or cutter are fine). I used a rolling pin to spread it better and clamps for the edges (avoid clamp marks with protection!). I waited an hour for the glue to dry, then I cut any protruding edges with scissors. For a better finish, I sanded the edges with coarse sandpaper and the whole new veneer with fine-grain sand paper. Then, I painted the back panel in a white color, the seat in greyish-green with a part of the wood visible, and I left the front panel and legs natural with just satin varnish.”

Tip: For recovering the 3 old and rusty back panel screws,  I put them in a lemon juice and salt mixture.

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  1. Magpie says:

    amazing re-do! I would never have thought of this.

  2. Ebi says:

    That’s just marvellous!

  3. Molly says:

    Wow that is super cool! I didn’t know veneer was so approachable! hehe

  4. This turned out so well and is so inspiring. I’ve never tried using veneer, but now I want to!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Excellent work Charlene! That is beautiful.

  6. Annie says:

    Wow, such a great job! I just bought an old waterfall nightstand with damaged veneer on the top. I was going to just live with it, but now I want to try replacing it.

  7. Awesome, the chair looks fantastic!

    Style Domicile

  8. Maryann says:

    I love to see such a great old chair salvaged. It really does have wonderful lines and the fresh modern look really gave it a new life! Can’t wait to try veneer.

  9. Joni says:

    I think this is one of the best makeovers ever! Thanks for posting. Love it.

  10. michael says:

    Just an incredible job – I especially really like what you did with the seat.

  11. Denise says:

    Refacing the veneer WOW! This transformation is Amazing!

  12. Jenn says:

    Amazing job Charlene! It’s impressive!

  13. Sue says:

    From only fit for the tip to Tip-Top – I admire the quality of your work and patience removing all the old veneer – the finished chair is just lovely.

  14. caroline says:

    just beautiful. what type of paint did you use… how did you prep the veneer??

  15. Gorgeous! It looks like it was a lot of work with removing and reapplying the veneer but the finished look is marvelous!


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