How to Design Children's Rooms

Refinishing Furniture for Children's Rooms

Refinishing furniture is one of the most exciting aspects of decorating. A tired, worn chest can be spruced up to look completely new; a unique finish can totally transform a blasé armoire into a stunning period piece. The best part is that refinishing furniture can save you lots of money -- especially if you purchase pieces from a secondhand store or refinish pieces you already have on hand. Refinishing furniture can require a lot of time -- if you want to do it correctly -- but the process itself is quite simple.

Safety First

Like other rooms in your home, a child's room has special concerns, specifically those related to safety and durability. Most paint and special finishes you choose for furniture are suitable for children, provided they are sealed with a protective coating to prevent chipping and peeling. Additionally, today's paints do not have the harmful chemicals found in their older counterparts.

Still, if you like the weathered look of an antique piece of furniture, it is important to make sure that its painted finish does not contain lead. Lead, both its dust and chips, can contaminate your home and cause serious health problems for you and your family. Obviously, any furniture with lead paint should be stripped or discarded. To confirm lead content, purchase an easy-to-use swab from a home supply store. When applied to a painted surface containing lead, the end will turn pink. If you decide to strip the piece, wear a respirator and work outdoors.

Please note: Whether you are refinishing wood, metal, or plastic, begin with a clean surface so the finish will adhere properly and evenly. Make any necessary repairs, and remove all hardware. Wear rubber gloves, protective goggles, and work outdoors if possible.