Cost of Refinishing Furniture

The cost of refinishing furniture encompasses a variety of factors, ranging from geographical location to the existing condition of the piece.

The Labor Factor

A close-up of a person scraping a piece of wood furniture with a palette knife.A close-up of a person scraping a piece of wood furniture with a palette knife.
If you want a professional refinishing company to do the restoration work, they typically need to physically inspect the actual item to discuss the refinishing options and associated prices. Nevertheless, while the cost to have furniture refinished may seem hefty, it's typically much less than you would spend on the purchase of similar new pieces.

The charge for labor by a trained expert to refinish a piece of furniture comprises a significant amount of the total refinishing cost. So, it makes sense that the existing condition of an item determines the amount of time a skilled professional requires to refinish a specific piece; extensive labor equals a higher price tag. Check to see if stripping the item of its original paint, stain or other coating is included in the refinishing cost, and don't assume that just because a piece is small, it will cost less to refinish than a larger item. For example, a child's antique chair with intricate carving may necessitate more labor hours to refinish, as compared to a large table with simple lines.

Location and Economy

Your geographic location and the current economy play a role in determining the average price for refinishing furniture. The cost of professional services, including expert furniture refinishing, often comes with a heftier price tag in big cities, as well as in extremely rural areas. Furniture refinishing professionals typically set their rates to compete with other local experts that offer similar restorative services. According to basic economic principles, when the demand for a specific item or service, such as refinishing furniture, increases, the cost of that service will go up.

Read the Fine Print

When you're discussing the refinishing costs with a professional, ask questions about additional charges. For example, if your furniture requires repair work prior to refinishing, the repair is generally counted as a separate ticket item. Specialty work, such as having the refinishing professional match an exact stain color on your piece, is time-consuming, and the time it takes to research stain tacks an additional cost onto your final price tag. Also, plan ahead if you need a piece refinished by a specific date. Refinishing a piece can take between three to eight weeks, or even longer, and putting a "rush" on the refinishing process escalates the cost.

Ways to Save

Even though you hire a professional to refinish your furniture, you can still reduce the total cost. For example, save the additional charges for pick-up and delivery by transporting the pieces yourself. Acquire refinishing bids from two or more professionals to compare and select the lower price quote if you're pleased with the work of both pros. Ask for a quantity discount when you need two or more pieces refinished, and inquire about bartering for refinishing services in lieu of a cash payment. For example, trade your auto mechanic expertise to fix the refinishing expert's broken automobile in exchange for his refinishing your furniture. Alternatively, you can tackle the furniture project yourself by purchasing a comprehensive refinishing kit that includes everything you need.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.