Refinishing an old bureau

I got a antique type bureau that I want to refinsh
looking for some ideas as I’m changing into a credenza for my home office
q refinishing an old bureau
  20 answers
  • Ken Ken on Dec 15, 2017
    That is some beautiful burl veneer. I see there might be a little damage on the top but there is no way you could get me to paint this. You have a piece of history there. Just needs a little refinishing here and there to bring it back to like new. What a shame it would be to sacrifice it in the name of current fashion or updating.

    • See 2 previous
    • LibraryKAT LibraryKAT on Dec 16, 2017
      Agree with Ken and Pfh2414. It's a beautiful piece. I'd look into gently repairing the damage to the top and let the piece stand as the lovely thing it is. You can store any thing you like in the drawers. Save the paint and alterations for a truly needy piece.

  • FL FL on Dec 15, 2017
    Hereare some ideas to get you started, however, there are MANY interpretations online of just what a credenza actually is!

  • 27524803 27524803 on Dec 15, 2017
    To start, you could gently, remove the 2 doors and convert them into the fronts or slide out file drawers. The middle door could drop forward and make way for a slide out shelf to hold a printer or scanner (use heavy duty drawer glides) or a keyboard. The 2 small drawer could hold office supplies, printer paper, etc. I would put a marble or quartz top, on top, of the existing top... so it could be used as a work surface if needed.. to avoid damage to the wood.
    IF you decide that you want to paint the piece.... BEFORE you paint... seal the whole piece with at least 2 coats of varnish.... then paint.. the varnish will keep the paint from getting into the grain of the wood ... and will make it easier to strip later.. to take t back to that beautiful wood.

  • Robyn Robyn on Dec 15, 2017
    I just did the same thing with a piece just like this......I stripped it right down to the bone then put a walnut stain that is prt polyeurthane and it is gorgeous....I love painting everything but I absolutl Would not paint this piece....too looks good as is too,btw

  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 16, 2017
    FYI I don't think this is even a dresser. It appears to be a buffet. I did an old piece by lightly stripping to get the finish even and then used a gunstock oil finish on it. It was stunning when it was done.

  • Joe Pollarine Jr Joe Pollarine Jr on Dec 16, 2017
    with old English a couple coats and buff let dry then either shellac or urethane. This is a buffet. Get some rubber gloves and a can of orange stripper. Non toxic use some 400 steel will rub the stripper on with the wool it called an easy strip then wipe the piece down after stripping with acetone to clean all stripping residu I then rub the piece with old English, buff out and let dry then coat with water based poly.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Dec 16, 2017
    I would put my favorite furniture saver on it before I did anything else - ReStore A Finish. It comes in several shades - find one that will work for this beautiful piece and wipe it on with a clean rag. Buy it at HD, Lowes, or any hardware store. Such great stuff and no sanding!

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Dec 16, 2017
    This is a great piece.
    Yes- I would use Restore-A-Finish - to see what you can do with it. About $9.00. They have a shade to match every finish. Wipe on with clean soft rag, wipe off with a 2nd soft clean rag. Wear gloves, and old clothing. It will stain your hands.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Dec 16, 2017
    Also consider getting apiece of glass to fit the top - then you can feel comfortable putting whatever on top of it.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Dec 16, 2017
    If it is for an office, I would paint the sides with chalkboard paint so you can put notes on it. Or attach sections of stainless steel flashing to it so you can use it like a magnetic board.

  • DP DP on Dec 16, 2017
    I did a similar looking piece and I lightly sanded it to get the old finish off (careful with veneer because it is thin so don't sand too far) then coated it with a water based poly, it came out very nice, shows the lovely grain.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Dec 16, 2017
    I can appreciate the beauty of the wood but....times do change! Here is a link to a recent post showing a makeover of a piece that's almost exactly the same as yours!!!

    I love the addition of texture and the depth of the glazed finishes. Please do look at Julie's video instructions - seems easy enough but a tryly one-of-a-kind result.

    Let us know what you decide to do with the piece!

  • Sch27257268 Sch27257268 on Dec 16, 2017
    PLEASE DO NOT PAINT IT!!!!! As a couple of other people said, Howard's Restore a Finish is a miracle worker. I recommend it highly. And remember, some flaws in an old piece of furniture are okay-- it adds character to a piece already full of character. That piece is GORGEOUS the way it is!!!

  • Janet Lewis Janet Lewis on Dec 16, 2017
    Find a newer piece and sell this one to someone who can appreciate it beauty.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Dec 16, 2017
    I agree with everyone on the not painting. If you insist on painting do as was mentioned earlier to seal it so the paint won't get into the wood so that one of your kids may want to restore it to its real beauty when they inherit the piece or you give it to them. Do not do anything to change the doors into something else as it will destroy the antique. If you do anything get a piece of tempered glass to put on the top and make sure you put felt feet on it to protect the top. That way you can set anything you want on top of it and prevent damage.

  • Susanln2 Susanln2 on Dec 17, 2017
    I agree. Don’t paint over a beautiful piece. Refurbish it and bring it back to life

  • Pauliegirl1 Pauliegirl1 on Dec 17, 2017
    Burled wood is VERY precious!!! Hard to come by!!! I also love painted furniture, but SAVE the burled wood!!! Google burled wood and you will understand!!!

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Dec 18, 2017
    It's a gorgeous piece of furniture. Keep it, but DO NOT paint it. Wipe on a little Old English Oil to bring out it's luster. It really is a wonderful piece, perfect style and size. For office furniture shop yard sales or thrift stores for less perfect pieces that you can remodel and paint. Keep this for your personal items in the Master Bedroom for nighties or linens.

  • Bambi Bambi on Dec 30, 2017
    I totally agree with all the "Do not paints". You have a very gorgeous piece of furniture there. I would love to have something as beautiful. I also like the newer techniques of distressed and the shabby chic but I would never do it on a piece like this. Find something similar that needs "saving" for your project but leave the beauty you have just as it is. If you don't want to keep it or don't have room for another piece of furniture, please find it a good home where someone will appreciate it exactly the way it is!