Hack Test: Furniture Fixes

Two hacks for giving your old, ugly furniture a gorgeous and simple makeover are put to the test.


  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Walnuts

I love antiques (or beat up old furniture from the 80’s), but I’m not a super huge fan of the work involved in fixing them up. My mom would always tell me that the only way to do it is the “right” way.

The “right” way, if you’re wanting a stained finish, is to strip the old finish, sand, sand some more, stain and put a protective finish on it. This typically takes approximately three lifetimes. That’s why I’m always looking for a good hack to restore old furniture. I have seen two hacks so often that I had to try them myself – sure that they would be the miracle solution for all of my scratched up tables.

1. Olive Oil & Vinegar

The Theory:

This hack says to combine 3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar, then slather it on your furniture and leave on overnight. This procedure, it says, will magically restore your piece by the time you wake up. Yes! This so appeals to my soft and inert lazy side.

The Truth:

After the waiting period, I approached my kitchen table like a kid on Christmas morning…and it looked the same as it did the day before. Same old scratches, same heat marks, water stains…the works. (insert sad face) Olive oil and vinegar do not restore wood finishes. Sigh.

2. Walnuts

The Theory:

Apparently walnuts are not only tasty, but according to the traffic on Pinterest, they repair scratches on wood surfaces! No. Way. All this time there’s been a secret of this magnitude hiding in the baking aisle?

The Truth:

After rubbing walnuts on different types of scratches, I can only report, sadly, that this hack is definitely not true. Sure, it gives it a little bit of shine due to the nut’s oil, but walnuts don’t have any staining properties…so the scratches are once again just shined up a bit.


Pinterest is a gold mine of brilliant ideas and clever solutions. However, it can also be a time suck and and a big tease. So where do we go from here? First, refinish your furniture the old-fashioned way, and second, if you try out a hack and it doesn’t work – let everyone know! We hope this has saved you some time and, well, let’s face it, a bit of heartache.

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