What is the Difference Between Furniture Restoration and Refinishing?


Restore or refinish? That’s the question on the minds of many furniture owners when it comes time to preserve their furniture. But what’s the distinction between these two processes? And which is the optimal option? Well, the answer isn’t so black and white.

For the best results, furniture often needs a combination of restoration and refinishing. However, analysing this duo reveals nuanced distinctions. While furniture restoration primarily addresses surface-level and cosmetic enhancements, furniture refinishing delves deeper into the art of rejuvenation. Let’s elucidate further.

What Is Furniture Restoration?

In its essence, the purpose of restoration is to unveil the pinnacle of a piece’s aesthetic allure. Whether it be a venerable boardroom table or another woody marvel, each piece requires a unique intervention. Furniture restoration, by and large, encompasses a spectrum of revitalising endeavours that may contain:

  • Cosmetic repairs
  • The elimination of unsightly scratches
  • The application of a rejuvenating oil finish

Crucially, restoration refrains from interfering with the fundamental structure of the furniture. It is a relatively expedited process, reviving antique treasures to their former glory while preserving the character that endears them to our hearts.

What Is Furniture Refinishing?

In stark contrast, furniture refinishing is a far more intricate and rigorous pursuit. This art form entails nothing less than the revival of a furniture piece’s wood finish from scratch. This transformative process requires the use of formidable tools, including commercial sanders and chemical strippers, to unveil the furniture’s essence. Subsequently, artisans reconstruct the finish through various techniques, including French polishing, lacquering, painting, or any alternative stain.

How To Know Whether Your Furniture Needs to Be Restored or Refinished

Though a harmonious blend of restoration and refinishing is often recommended, the optimal renewal solution for any furniture piece hinges on several factors, such as the extent of damage, the desired outcome, and the type of furniture or wood under question. However, for the following issues, your furniture will largely require the corresponding remedy:

  • Small scratches = Restoration
  • Fading = Refinishing
  • Water damage = Refinishing
  • Regular maintenance = Restoration
  • Sun damage = Refinishing

The Importance of Resplendent Furniture

Irrespective of the refurbishment path taken—whether for contemporary marvels or venerable antiques—there are various rewards for your astute investment in these transformative endeavours. Considering the economic cost of a furniture touch-up vs the benefits, it’s clear that fixing it, rather than buying a new one, is the prudent choice. The merits of this decision include:

  1. Enhanced Value:

Restoring and refinishing are often more budget-friendly alternatives, especially for treasured antique or large pieces like desks, cabinets, or boardroom tables. In an age when much of the newly created furniture pales compared to the craftsmanship of old times, preservation is the value option.

  1. Aesthetic Harmony:

Amid the ever-evolving landscape of interior design trends, the enduring allure of fine furniture remains indisputable. Be it an exquisite credenza, a stylish coffee table, or an elegant dining ensemble, the role of furniture in shaping a room’s ambience is clear. Through the painstaking repair of chips and scratches, your furniture emerges as a harmonious element that seamlessly blends with the evolving style of your living space.

If you plan to repaint your home or move to a new house and want to retain your favourite furniture, don’t fret. Schryver Furniture Restoration London can look into different stain and polish shades to fit the overall style of your home.

  1. Prolonged Durability:

Furniture that exudes timeless elegance, showcases structural integrity, and wears a polished coating that tends to endure the test of time with remarkable resilience. Prioritising the twin arts of wood furniture restoration and refinishing offers a unique union of aesthetic splendour and durability, which is an essential consideration for households graced with young children or pets.