Making the Old Stuff New Again  

Dr. Lori Verderame

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori

Once you know the true value of your antique and you are comfortable with your plan to repurpose it, consider these tips to make something old feel and look new again.

Tip 1: Repurpose something that is a multiple for greater impact. If you have many dissimilar items, you can always make them seem like a group by uniting them with a uniform paint or stain color. You can also unite related objects by putting them together in a re-purposing project. For instance, if you have a bunch of old doorknobs or door handles, repurpose this group of similar objects. Take the group of mix-matched glass, porcelain, or metal doorknobs and install them in your guest bathroom to create useful, vintage towel hooks. Arrange the group of doorknobs on a wall near the tub or shower as handy hooks.

Tip 2:  Go all the way! Don’t be afraid to really change an antique. For instance, if you love your grandmother’s high chair but you would really like to put it to good use in your home instead of just having it sit in a corner as a display piece, remove the arms and tray and re-purpose the high chair as a child’s chair. It will look cute in a child’s playroom, a grandparent’s den, or a dining room. Be sure you know what you are doing when repairing and refinishing wood pieces and search online for helpful hints.

Tip 3: Re-think the scraps. Do you have a cedar chest filled with old textile pieces like parts of crocheted afghans? Needlepoint pictures that will never see the light of day? Quilted squares that were never made into a full quilt? If you know that you will never complete these projects, don’t despair. Frame them up and enjoy a great graphic picture of your crochet, quilt square of needlepoint picture. Remember to use acid free materials whenever you frame textiles or any antique piece. Install the framed textiles on an interior wall away from direct sunlight to prevent the item from fading and sun damage.

Repurposing is a fun way to integrate antique pieces into a contemporary home and to enjoy the process of sprucing up something old. 

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on the international hit TV shows, The Curse of Oak Island on History channel and Auction Kings on the Discovery channel.  Visit or call (888) 431-1010.