Used furniture doesn't require hours of work in order to look fresh in your home. The trick to redoing furniture is not to totally refinish it, but instead to change the appearance of a piece by starting with basic, general steps to clean it well. After that, you can begin to transform used furniture to suit your own taste.
Redo a recessed table top and personalize it by scripting the lyrics from a favorite song. Sand, prime coat and apply a base latex paint to the table top. Use a permanent marker and begin writing along one side of the table and finish in the center. Repeat the words if necessary. Apply water-based polyurethane to protect the surface.
Use standard white glue (which dries clear) to decoupage black and white graphics on a used furniture table top. Recycle old books or encyclopedias and make an interesting contribution to home decor. Apply the same technique as you would if using any decoupage paste. Again, coat the finished artwork on the table top with polyurethane.
Redo a used standing mirror. Remove the standing mirror from its base, fill side holes with wood filler, sand lightly, prime and repaint the surface. Consider the fact a standing mirror may take up valuable living area while hanging a mirror frees up the floor space.
Mix and match styles as well as the finish to give a fun look to used furniture. Lightly sand an oak table top and seal the wood with a clear coating of polyurethane. Brush different colors of paint to each of the unmatched wood chairs. Use a staple gun to recover the seat cover fabric and stretch a thick, clear vinyl over each seat to make clean up easy.
Excess hand oil will gum up sandpaper, so remove this BEFORE sanding. Use very fine steel wool and wood oil soap. Always remember to sand in the direction of the woodgrain.