Waking Up Your Furniture & Area Rugs That Fit

I already fall asleep at my desk

The desk in my home office is stained wood and the top is very tired looking. What do you suggest? Is there a way to renew the finish somehow?  –Mel, Calgary

Absolutely you can replenish the look but you also have the chance to change the look entirely if you wish! I have two options for you –

  1. Sand down the top and choose a stain (neutral or not) or oil finish depending on the wood species. Make sure that you sand the existing finish right down to the bare wood. Give it a few coats of finish, a light sanding in between each coat and enough time to dry. I recommend having a wood worker look at it to determine the right finish to use so it is durable and also matches the base of the desk.
  2. What about a spray lacquer finish? This is a painted look with a durable finish. If you like the shape of the desk but want to get rid of the ‘wood look’, I recommend this option. Choose a fabulous paint colour to compliment your décor. This requires sending the piece out to be sanded down and professionally sprayed. Lacquer is not as forgiving as wood! It can chip and scratch, so choose the finish that works best for you. (For inspiration, see Farrow & Ball:
Carpet Nostalgia

I have a lovely area carpet (it’s a wood sisal) that my mother gave me. It’s about 24” too long for my space. Am I able to have this made smaller? It has a small sewn edge at the border. –Brittany, Calgary

Yes you can and if you love it, it’s well worth the cost! It sounds like you either have a machine bound edge (a very small piece of nylon material that is sewn onto the edge to keep it from fraying) or you have a hand sewn edge (stitched along the edges with wool) on the existing rug. You can ask the carpet supplier to replicate what you have or update the look….

If you’d like to re-use the area rug and give it a new look, apply a “tape trim” to all four sides once it has been cut down. These are often cotton or linen and frame the border of the area rug giving it a more contemporary look. They come in different sizes and colours. I like a 3” border shown on top of the area rug in a complimentary colour. This will allow you to use your mother’s area rug but also make it your own.


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ABOUT STEPHANIE began her residential design career in 1999 following a BA in Art History from McGill University in Montreal and studies at The International Academy of Design in Toronto. Her aesthetic is ‘natural contemporary’, blending organic materials with sleek, clean edge design. With 15 years experience in residential design, Stephanie is comfortable in both construction boots and stilettos. Her projects include new builds and renovations in Toronto, Creemore, Georgian Bay & Kenora. She has a keen interest in the real estate market, has flipped several homes and is always working on the next project. She has two children and resides in Toronto but secretly considers her home 2 hours North in a town abutting Georgian Bay.