94 Views |  Like

Drab to Fab: 3 ways to revive your Veneer furniture

The history of plywood and veneer in India is not much compared to its history in the rest of the world. We have a fabulous legacy of solid wood furniture that has stood the test of time and was celebrated by the British who added their own mark on classic Indian furniture. But with the breakout of the second world war, there was a need for cheaper materials to pack exports and the British introduced the first plywood factory.

A few years down the line, we were no longer a British province and the Republic of India was all set in the path of development. The 70’s saw an industrial revolution and the plywood factories were a hit. Since cost is major factor in the buying decisions we make, we, the “forever cost cutting Junta” found plywood a good alternative to save money on our furniture. If you’ve looked at some of the 70’s furniture, they would have beautiful solid wood legs and frame, but the table tops would be ply board with veneer. Fast forward a few more years, we decided we want cheap furniture and everything was made with ply. Now, with materials like MDF and particle boards, the journey to “cheapness” is not done yet.

Moral of the story: If you have any piece of furniture lying about that is a combination of solid wood and ply, hang on to it, even if you hate it. Give it a quick makeover, it is no rocket science, trust me on that!

Here are some fool proof and easy ways to give it a face lift.

Paint it!

Yup, you heard it right! Paint it! To be honest, paint does not stick to veneer and using a wood primer does not help either. The trick really is, to use an oil primer. I used the Asian Paints oil primer on this bar unit. Shake the tin really well before you open it, stir it some more with a stick or so, apply your first coat with a brush, let it sit for 24 hours (very, very important). After 24 hours, lightly sand it, dust it, wipe it with a damp cloth, go for the second coat and let it dry for another 24 hours. Now your piece is ready to take on anything that you want to put on it. I chose a water based enamel paint from Asian Paints, used a 4″ enamel roller and gave two coats with a gap of 3 hrs in between coats. Let it sit for a day and nothing can shake it.

Now my bar unit has a very European Mid Century Modern kinda feel to it and I love it. See how the brass knob and the old key that was lost in the busy veneer, make their presence felt now?

Mosaic it!

How many of you have seen our side table makeover story?? Ah! It makes me so happy to see the before/after pictures!

before after easy table makeover, DIY, India, Do-it-yourself in India, Araldite, tile table
Before & After
Now, if you dont have a border to your piece of furniture, make a 2 cm border on all sides and stick your tile inside it. You can fill it with grout and shape it neatly with your damp sponge.

Wallpaper it!

This is the easiest of all. I had some wallpaper leftover from making a feature wall, so all I needed was fevicol. It is best to use one coat of oil primer, but in this piece, since the edges were not exposed, I did not have to prime the surface. I applied a generous layer of fevicol(not too thin, not too thick) pushed it in all corners and let it set for 5 minutes. Then its only a matter of cutting the paper to size, lining it up and sticking it. Trim the edges with a cut knife and let it sit for a day. You can even use thick gift wrapping paper, but remember to put 25% water and dilute your fevicol before you apply. You can use a decoupage medium for the top coat and seal it with varnish.

If you have a piece of furniture that you have given a face-lift or have a challenging piece you want to tackle, email us the pictures and we can figure out a solution together.