Jessica writes with a question we all likely ask at one time or another in our collecting (and dumpster-diving) lives:

Hi there! It goes without saying that I love your blog or I wouldn’t be reaching out.

So, I have this little set. It’s a Heywood Wakefield table — missing its leaves — and two chairs. One with arms and one without. We found it free on the side of the road. The original labels and paperwork are still stapled under one of the chairs. Anyway, the poor set has been badly abused. The Champagne finish has seen better days, and obviously parts of the set have been lost along the way — the other chairs as well as the leaves. The table top has some spreading between the pieces of wood likely because it was left in the rain or somewhere moist. And lots of rings. *sigh*

So, my question is this. Do I pay to have this refinished in the right stain, and see if they can do anything about the spreading and stains. OR, do I have it done in something fun like a black lacquer? Its role is likely going to be an art table for the kids in their super cool retro playroom. At most, it could end up being my desk in my office.

The chairs are cat eye style. I’m not sure on the table. Trying to look that up now.

Any thoughts?


Hi there back, Jessica! Thank you, and good girl, dumpster diver! Excellent question — and a great one for our team of smarty readers weigh in on.

What do you think, readers?
Is it righteous to restore wrecked vintage furniture back to its original finish?
Or, can we get creative?

I definitely have an opinion, but family hold back.

  1. STEPHANIE says:

    NO PAINT on mid century furniture!!! Unless it was just a painted piece to begin with. The MCM treasures are the LAST good furniture made in this country. It would be sacrilege to destroy it with paint. Refinishing is EASY. Strip with Homer Formbys in the green can, EASY. Apply with brush wait a bit and scrape it off. It peels off like tape. Most midcentury furniture does not need staining, they are made from Teak, Walnut and Mahogany, no need for stains just wax or oil. Maple is a little different but I see a kit for Heywood Wakefield mentioned. As well most maple does not need staining either. Strip and use a clear lacquer or wax. EASY to refinish. BTW, You do not need use stain on these these pieces it is just not necessary.

  2. Karon says:

    1. She should as an appraiser the value of the pieces not a blogger.
    2. If it has little or no value, she can do whatever she wants with it. It was headed for the dump after all.

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