Take a look around your home. How old is your furniture? Are there antiques, family heirlooms, or beloved favorites you just can’t part with? And if so, is it possible to refresh your décor without getting rid of those pieces?
The answer to that last question is yes, according to Marisela Panzarella, designer and move-in coordinator at Splendido, an all-inclusive community for those 55 and better in Tucson. When residents first move to Splendido, Marisela helps them with space planning and design. Typically, this includes help with downsizing and selecting which furniture to bring—but in the case of Splendido’s new Villa Homes that just became available for reservation, this is not necessary. “The Villas are large enough that many who move into these gorgeous new homes will be able to fit most or all of their furniture—it’s a question of taking advantage of the move to update and refresh their decor,” says Marisela.
A Modern Twist on Old Pieces
“Even when you’re moving, you can hold onto the furniture that’s meaningful to you,” Marisela says. “Those pieces can be used as accents to your new decor. Think beyond painting—you can reupholster chairs or sofas, change out chair or table legs, and update hardware on drawers.”
For example, if you have older furniture you love, you can give it a new look—and even a new purpose. “Repurposing pieces is very trendy,” says Marisela. For example, if you have a beautiful buffet in your dining room that you no longer have space for, it can be repurposed into a media/TV center, or as a storage/tabletop in your foyer.
“I worked with a resident here who had a Bombay chest in her bedroom,” recalls Marisela. “When she moved in, she had it painted all black and put a glass top on it, and now it sits in her living room between two chairs. It looks stunning!”
Dressers are very versatile. An attractive dresser can be repurposed wherever you need storage. “I’ve seen people place them in foyers, dining rooms, and practically every room of the home including bathrooms,” says Marisela. “Whatever your plan, I’d recommend painting a dresser a bold color—someone here at Splendido painted a dresser a beautiful indigo blue—or consider black with gold accents; that can look very sophisticated. You can even add a glass or granite top.”
Another, more unique option is to repurpose a coffee table into a large ottoman; you can paint the legs and have the top upholstered. It’s safer (fewer banged shins or stubbed toes) and still practical.
“If you do repurpose a piece like any of the suggestions here, the goal is to make it a statement; it’s meant to stand out,” Marisela explains. “You don’t have to base your whole décor around it, but you don’t want it to disappear.”
Don’t Want Your Older Furniture?
If you have pieces you don’t want to repurpose, or don’t have room for, don’t be surprised if your family doesn’t want them either. Today’s tastes run toward minimalism—think tiny houses and decluttering—and your children and grandchildren don’t necessarily want a full dining room set or a bedroom suite, even if they are valuable family heirlooms.
“In cases, like this, I’d suggest you try a good consignment shop and see if you can get some money for pieces you love,” says Marisela. “The repurposing trend is so big right now that people are looking for older pieces. However, stores won’t necessarily take everything—they know what will sell and what won’t—so be prepared to be turned away. For items you can’t sell, I’d recommend donating to a good cause like Habitat for Humanity.”
Other Design Trends in 2018
Some trends can serve as a beautiful backdrop to repurposed furniture as accent pieces: “For paint colors, we are finally moving away from the trend of grays and into camel browns,” says Marisela. “These rich tones, like tobacco and rust, are still strong neutral colors and should be paired with bold colors.”
Another trend, believe it or not, is black walls. “I’d recommend using this sparingly—maybe one shorter accent wall—but placing a bold statement piece against it can be strikingly beautiful. Pieces stand out so well against black,” Marisela points out.
Take another look around your home, and this time imagine which furniture might be repurposed to fit in your new home or your new décor.