Furniture is one of the most popular items sold at swap meets. Desks, chairs, dressers, TV stands - everything has a selling value. In order to get a good price many need to be fixed up. The upholstery may get old, or a surface of the coffee table may have damages. Tables and desks often get spots from water.
Let us take a look at your furniture. What is it made of? How was it finished? Sometimes the time and the money spent on items renewal can greatly exceed its cost, but often you can easily turn a used piece into a showroom item.
Wash your furniture by removing dirt and wax. Clean the surface of the item with turpentine, mineral spirits and wax remover. This will show you where the real problems are.
There are many ways to fix up old furniture with little effort: to recan a chair or repaint child's dresser, using some bright decals.
Reglue loose joints or cracks, make patches and bleach out stains. New handles or drawer pulls will change your furniture look.
If your furniture is already painted, then scratch a spot from underneath to verify if it's hardwood. If you know how to restore your furniture, you may remove the paint and refinish. If you're not so handy with wood, you can repaint.
Though don't repaint a piece of wood furniture that has never been painted. You may damage it. To increase its value you'll be better off refinishing it. You can verify if the surface was finished with shellac, lacquer or varnish, and you can do spot touch-ups and maintenance.
If you refinish, you may need to strip the surface of the coatings already on, and re-stain and polish the piece.