The secret to the farmhouse mobile home look: refurbishing old furniture
Do you get attracted to old, rough-looking furniture pieces that are dumped at the community dumpster? Or perhaps you’ve seen random pieces of furniture laying on the side of the road.
Our advice: don’t run away from those beautiful pieces!
Collecting these furniture pieces will help create the farmhouse mobile home that you desire. If you’re a big DIYer already, you’ll enjoy the tips that we’ll be offering. However, if you’ve never done DIY projects, you’re in for a treat!
Old pieces need care, but keep these in mind
In general, these old furniture pieces can be transformed with some TLC. But there are a few important things that you should know about before refurbishing those lovely, salvaged pieces. Obviously, furniture can be much older than we know or assume. Some may have chemicals that can potentially harm us while we fix them up.
Familiarize yourself and be knowledgeable about the tips below. Giving antique pieces life again is not a quick process. Yes, you’ll need patience because it will take time. However, we know you won’t regret it.
Play it safe
Safety first, “farmhouse mobile home decorator”
We highly recommend that you always use the proper tools. Don’t choose the “easy” or “lazy” way. This means having the knowledge in using those tools. Not only will your tasks be easier but they will definitely be safer.
Wear protective gear: rubber gloves, eyewear, and long sleeves. Accidents happen all the time. Chemicals can splatter unexpectedly and cause minor to severe damages.
An area with good ventilation will be very helpful. Since we can’t see the odor or chemical molecules, it doesn’t mean they are not harmful. Working outdoors provides good ventilation and helps prevent inhaling poisonous vapors.
Assuming that you’ll always be safe is not advisable
Whether you live in a mobile home with or without a storage unit, such as a garage, oily rags must be kept from an ignition source. They may seem harmless, but just storing them away isn’t enough. Again, don’t assume it’s okay.
Spontaneous combustion happens to oily rags through self-heating. For example, heat retains in a pile of oily rags. Oxygen, which is a natural gas, can contribute to combustion to that pile over time. Therefore, we advise you to keep those soiled rags in a metal container with covers in place.
Equally important, do be aware of older paint finishes that contain harmful chemicals like lead. If you think that your furniture piece has lead-based paint, go outside of your mobile home. Working in a place with proper ventilation is the key.
Definitely get professional help if you have your doubts. They can also help you if you need.
Moving on to the tips & tricks of refurbishing old furniture
As a friendly reminder, some of our tips or tricks shared with you may leave you happy and excited. Others may not be your cup of tea. However, you’re learning how to get the farmhouse mobile home look through learning a new skill. Don’t stress yourself too much.
Identify common characteristics of your old furniture
Without a doubt, knowing what you’re dealing with can help ease the refurbishing process for you.
Dovetail joints are functionally classy
One of the most solid craftsmanship in furniture pieces. Traditional and good craftsmanship. It’s not only elegant but it’s definitely something that will add a great touch to your farmhouse mobile home decor.
Dovetail joints hold much meaning to its age and is generally a sign of a well-made piece. They are slightly irregular with pins that are thin and tapered. The joints are interlocked, making the wood piece strong.
If you get a hold of a wooden antique with dovetail joints, it is well worth salvaging. It will last quite a while and continue to age beautifully with your added care and touch!
How is the paint? Just plain wood or just varnish?
Wood is one of the most common materials with which DIYers enjoy working. Additionally, wooden antiques do make for great farmhouse, coastal, French rustic, or bohemian decor. You’d be surprised by how tempting it will be to buy wooden antique pieces the minute you see them. Especially after you start getting more familiar with refurbishing projects.
One tip that will help you is being careful of pieces that are painted. Sometimes, paint isn’t just to make things look pretty. Paint can be used, by the previous owner, to cover a multitude of bad things.
Things like water stains, veneer that’s missing, or burnt spots.
Dirty, old varnish on wooden antiques seem easier to deal with. Varnish can literally be stripped off. The bonus part – varnish is clear.
Is there hope for metal pieces as well?
Of course! Again, don’t be quick to assume that certain pieces can’t be refurbished. Metal furniture pieces can actually become beautiful pieces, despite how old or rusty, after some careful TLC. Bear in mind that lots of rust and other signs of wear will again, require patience.
Some metal pieces may be used only to the extent of showing them off to your guests. Ask yourself whether you want to use rusty pieces or just display them before you salvage them. If you want to use them, you’ll have to remove all the rust and then paint them.
We would suggest to try it out as a DIY experiment. Besides, we have included some tips below for you. Go for it!
Don’t stop if it means sweating, or crying, for your furniture
How to remove paint or varnish from wooden pieces
Removing paint or varnish can be tedious. It may need lots of patience as well. However, it is a fun project that you can do even with a partner!
The results will usually deserve a pat on your back. You’ll probably get thumbs-up from your impressed guests who will fall in love with your farmhouse mobile home.
After you remove the paint or varnish, you can choose to apply your choice of colored glaze or stain. Repainting it a different color such as Rustic Charm, a soft green mixed with some grey, would be elegant.
Being traditional and leaving the natural wood of your wooden pieces bare and exposed is just as elegant. Just make sure you sandpaper it.
Applying stain to deepen the character of the wood
As mentioned above, once you’ve removed the paint or varnish from your wooden antique or piece, staining can be the next step. It is easy and simple. Depending on the color of the stain that you choose, it will give your wooden piece an earthy, natural look.
Use a brush that is clean and not rough. When you apply the stain, maintain the same direction of brush strokes, not overlapping. Each brush of stain will add a darker hue.
Test the stain on the underside of your wooden piece. You can also practice the strokes, applied pressure, and feel free to test out the color hues.
After the stain has soaked in your wood for some time, use a soft cloth to wipe off the stains. Use the same direction as when you painted on the stain. The longer the stain soaks in the wood, the darker the color. Don’t forget to finish with a sealant.
Stripping off the rust from metal furniture
This may be quite the challenging task to perform. However, the effort and hard work result in a happy mobile homeowner with a newly loved metal furniture.
Firstly, get yourself a good wire brush. The wire bristles will help remove any loose pieces of rust. The bigger the rusty flakes that peel off, the easier the job!
Secondly, you’ll need sandpaper. If you happen to only have a hand sandpaper, then be ready for lots of sweat and possibly tears, dripping from your face. A palm-sander will help remove the rest of the rust.
A helpful hint: the lower the number of your sandpaper, the coarser. Therefore, the more flakes of rust will be removed.
Spray painting your metal furniture
Once your metal piece of furniture has been clean from rust, the fun of painting a new look begins!
Wipe your metal furniture with acetone or a solvent. Apply a high-quality, rust preventive primer. White primer for lighter colors and darker primer for darker colors.
Spray slowly, in a back and forth motion. Once dry, lightly sandpaper for a smoother touch and then wipe off with a tack cloth.
Try using a high-quality, oil-based spray paint. After all, your sweat and tears were for the long haul of this metal furniture. Apply two to three light coats in a back and forth motion.
Let each coat dry in between the next. If you get a drip or several drips, use a chip brush (inexpensive, disposable, and handy to keep. They are usually sold by the box at an affordable price.) to stop the drip run and smooth it out.
Sometimes, the most basic furniture pieces can help create your desired farmhouse mobile home look
Simply cleaning a piece of old furniture can make it look brand new. These methods can be used for furniture made with wood, rattan, or wicker surfaces.
Use an oil-based commercial wood cleaner to cut through layers of dirt and wax. However, if wood cleaner doesn’t get the job done, switch to a solution of warm water and liquid detergent. Apply the solution with a soft cloth without letting the wood get too wet.
Rinse the area thoroughly. Dry with a soft and clean cloth to avoid water damage to your wooden furniture.
Solvents like mineral spirits, turpentine, or denatured alcohol are the next solution if the above two don’t work. An old towel, burlap or any cloth with a rough texture should be used to apply the solvent.
Wipe immediately with another cloth. Buff the wood lightly with another clean cloth once you’ve applied a commercial cleaner.
Go green and make Mother Nature proud
Many may not be aware, but did you know that you can go green even with refurbishing old furniture? Let us introduce you to Eco-paint, or “green paint”.
Using green paint is not only good for the environment but it’s good for you and your loved ones. VOC (volatile organic compounds) are found in lots of conventional paints and decorative coatings. They’ve been known to harm our health through the toxins they give out, which we breathe in.
Natural paints that you can use
Any paint that you use contains a binder, pigment, solvent, and sometimes a filler. Binders basically create the main film-forming body of the paint. Pigments give the color of the paint. Solvents create the paint’s liquidity. If there’s a filler, it thickens and adds volume to the paint.
You can identify each of these components in a natural paint. Additionally, these components are naturally occurring without any added synthetic parts.
How do you tell these components apart from each other? Through making your own paint!
Making your own natural paint
Yes- you can definitely make your own natural paint. There are tons of “recipes” that you can find online.
If you do make your own natural paint, be sure to keep in mind the quantity that you’re producing. Additionally, since natural paints are not mainstream, you may have to think in advance and reach out to specialist local suppliers. Again, something that you can look up online!
Lime Wash Paint
Recommended: 3 to 4 coats for indoor use; 4 to 5 coats for outdoor use. Apply to a porous surface (not on top of other finishes). For greater adhesion, use casein lime wash (casein that is derived from milk curd).
Binder: lime putty, non-hydraulic bagged lime or hydraulic lime
Solvent: usually water, but some have a small oil content (typically linseed oil), particularly with external applications
Filler: not required in pure lime wash
Distemper (Milk Paint and Cheese Paint Derivatives)
For interior use only. This mix is water-based although a small amount of linseed oil is added. Many milk paints only use the curd, but more traditional milk paints would mix skim milk directly with hydrated lime and pigment.
Binder: soft animal glue, casein (derived from milk curd) or natural oils
Solvent: water, linseed oil
Filler: powdered chalk
Fascinating and worth a try or two … or more
We hope that these tips and tricks have sparked some creative ideas for you. Creating a farmhouse mobile home is really not hard. But you can make it quite fun.
If you’re looking to incorporate other decorating styles for your mobile home, we’ve got some trendy tips for you.