"Refinish my furniture?! You're going to ruin the value of it!!" I say, exactly what value are we talking about? Antique Road Show has scared the daylights out of us all. We have become hesitant to do anything with pieces we no longer need for fear that we'll be throwing away precious goods worth a fortune on the open market.
Truth be told, if your furniture is not 200-300 years old, in museum quality and has a (historically verifiable) story to go with it, the likelihood that you possess something that is worth a fortune, is not very good. As a result of this, many antique stores have struggled with furniture in the last decade. High priced furniture that is not old enough, or is generally broken down just does not appeal to today's buyer. To this I say: refinish!
Don't be afraid to refinish. If you're tired of looking at your grandmother's game table, consider restoration as an option. You preserve a beautiful piece of history and make it look clean and new. Craftsman can literally do anything with wood, and as a result repair work and a fresh finish can make any piece seem new.
There are certainly a few circumstances when refinishing may not be your best option. If you purchase a home in a wealthy, old, New England town such as Wellesley, Brookline, or Newton and that home comes furnished, you may want to have an auctioneer or an appraiser review each piece before sending it to a local craftsman.
Refinishing your furniture is not something you should feel guilty about. When the restoration process is complete, the end result is more in-line with the look of the product when it was originally built. Years of exposure to oxygen, sunlight, and general wear and tear take a heavy toll on even the most well maintained pieces. The craftsmanship of decades-old furniture is often not found in the cosmetic features. Rather, great craftsman revealed their talents in the attention to subtler details.
By refinishing your furniture, you allow the time, effort and creative craftsmanship of a long ago furniture maker to live on and persevere. That is why I say: "Refinish!"