The Key to Reviving Old Restaurant Furniture

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: April 27, 2022

After your restaurant has established a presence in the local market, your priorities may shift to maintaining the status quo instead of making changes. This approach makes sense, as changing things up can make it difficult to maintain profits. However, this can lead to tunnel vision. Reviving Old Restaurant Furniture can be a practical solution, as some of the items you initially purchased won’t last forever, with furniture likely being the first to show wear and tear.

Even if you invest in the most premium restaurant chair options, sooner or later, this furniture will undergo so much wear and tear that you will have no option other than to replace it. Planning for this furniture replacement in advance can help you save up for it, but another tactic that you can use is to try to revive the furniture.

Wood furniture is especially beneficial from this point of view since wood is one of the easiest types of materials to repair and revive. You can regain a lot of this furniture’s former glory by implementing a few simple reinvigoration techniques that can come in handy.

The first thing that suggests that your furniture is getting worn out is a fading patina. Patina, in this instance, refers to the sheen on the wood’s surface, which comes about as a result of intensive polishing. If your furniture still seems structurally sound, you might be able to avoid spending cash on replacements if you replenish the polish, thereby restoring the patina to what it looked like at the very start.

Reviving Old Restaurant Furniture

You can start the revival off by stripping the wood of its outermost layer. Applying a stripper solution and leaving it on for a few minutes can help the removal process a fair bit. After letting the stripper soak in, you can use a scraping utensil to get it off. Then, apply some steel wool to the surface after soaking it in spirits.

This will help neutralize the stripping chemical and stop it in its tracks. Failing to neutralize the substance can lead to it wearing through the wood, so you should be careful about this step because it is mandatory before you can move on.

One thing that you might want to do before stripping the outer layer of the wood polish off is to clean the restaurant chairs or tables as much as you can. Doing so gets rid of much of the dirt and grime that would have accumulated on it, and it allows the rest of the process to go over more smoothly.

You can’t afford to let your furniture sit idle in a restaurant because this can hurt your revenue stream by preventing you from seating as many patrons as you can handle. Instead, you would be limited to how many customers can fit on your available furniture, so speeding the process up by cleaning the furniture beforehand can be a helpful tactic to implement.


remover with a material that has a coarse exterior

The next step is to apply wax remover with a material that has a coarse exterior. This wax will be quite hard in the beginning, so you should leave it on your furniture until it softens up. After that, all that is required is to wipe the wax off with any cloth rag that you might have lying around. Take care not to use a scouring pad during this step because it can create scratch marks in the wood that your restaurant customers would find unsightly.

Now that your furniture is ready to be revived and thoroughly prepared, you can start adding some wood dye to it. Apply this dye to any areas of the wood that seem bleached. If your restaurant offers open-air dining areas to customers, bleaching can be an even more significant problem to manage because sunlight can make the color fade away. Try to add more dye to the areas where excess bleaching has occurred so that you get an even and consistent color finish.

The last step in this process is to finish things off with some linseed oil. Add a fine layer of the oil to every inch of the wood and let it soak in. This will give the wood a glossy finish that your diners and patrons would be quite grateful for. You can also add some furniture wax, but be wary of placing the furniture next to heat sources afterward. Keep your furniture away from radiators or hot water pipes for at least an hour, otherwise, the overly speedy drying could cause the wood to warp.


It’s essential to give your customers furniture that meets their expectations, and since buying an entirely new batch can be a bit too expensive, this tactic can help restaurateurs acquire an easier work life. That said, you can’t revive furniture that has started to splinter or crack. There is no way to bolster furniture that has acquired this level of structural damage, so purchasing a set of replacements is your only suitable option in such scenarios.

Making good furniture choices when you first plan out your restaurant’s business strategy can help you keep such time-consuming endeavors at bay for as long as possible. You can get a good ten years out of premium furniture, so if you haven’t bought some quality tables and chairs already, it would be best if you do so quickly. Otherwise, you would have no choice but to close your restaurant for an entire day or two so that you can bring your furniture back from the brink of being obsolete. Another benefit of durable furniture is that techniques like this help you get another decade or two out of them because their structural integrity remains intact for a long time.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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