Replace versus Repair: How Do You Decide What to Do?

When we bought our beach house in North Carolina it was ready to move into. The contracted sale included not only typical conveyance items like kitchen equipment and appliances and window treatments but also everything else that was already in the house including dishes, pots and pans, wall hangings and furniture.

Over the years we’ve replaced many of the original items. In fact we replaced all of the kitchen appliance, including the the stove, refrigerator and lastly the dishwasher. We’ve also donated or discarded the couches, side tables, kitchen chairs, coffee tables and dressers.

Every time we’re about to discard something I take a second look to see if there’s any possible way to repair it first. My husband had great success sanding and refinishing the large wooden table in our dining room, but we did buy new chairs after realizing that the old ones were too rickety and unstable for us to fix.

This spring I noticed that the wooden counter height stools in the house were in need of repair. Over the years they’ve cracked, chipped and stained. They originally looked similar to the photo below.

I thought about replacing them with new ones and drooled over the dining room selections I found online, but rather than jumping the gun and pulling out my credit card I decided instead to try my hand at making them look more presentable myself first. I found a new, but never before used can of blue paint in the garage and decided to give them a coat.

I wish I had a photo for you. At first glance the stools looked great. They weren’t perfect, not by any means, but they were bright and colorful and most definitely improved from their previous state. I coated the stools with a thin layer of polyurethane, waited for them to dry and placed them next to the counter. Unfortunately, though I can’t seem to get the blue paint from rubbing off. Every time I place a wet towel on the chair, (which is typical behavior in a beach house), the paint comes off.

So now I’m reconsidering my options and looking at buying new ones again. The current stools don’t have backs so they aren’t at all comfortable anyway. I even picked out a new stool design that I absolutely fell in love with.

I really enjoyed working on this project even though I failed. It probably helped that I took the stools out on the driveway and painted on warm summer days with cool North Carolina breezes.

1 thought on “Replace versus Repair: How Do You Decide What to Do?”

  1. Did you sand them back first as they could have had some kind of varnish already on them, then you need to prime them and then paint them with a few coats letting each dry properly before applying the next.

    My philosophy would be to keep the pieces you really like and replace those you are not so fond of.


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