Melissa Moore has turned refurbishing furniture into an art form.
Melissa Moore has turned refurbishing furniture into an art form. (Lyndi McNulty/For Carroll County Times)

Melissa Moore is an artist who repurposes old furniture as a hobby, giving it a new life. She works full time at Carroll Community College.

Moore did oil paintings when she attended Northern Garrett High School. She painted flowers and landscapes. Moore liked oil painting better than acrylic because it took longer to dry.


Five years ago, Moore was planning her daughter’s fifth birthday party. Alexis, her daughter, wanted an Alice in Wonderland theme. Moore wanted to do a tea party in the woods. She found a set of antique chairs on the side of the road and decided to paint them in Alice in Wonderland colors including teal, black and pink. Then she reupholstered the seats in a black and white checkered pattern seat. Then she got an old tea pot, cups and saucers from Goodwill and painted them to match. Later she sold the chairs on Craig’s list.

That sparked her passion for taking something old and making it new again on a budget. The party turned out great.

From there, Moore began to pick up furniture for free or purchase it for a small amount of money on the internet. She also kept looking for furniture on the side of the road. A few of the pieces she refinished, such as old buffets, she sold to customers who want them for vanities in their bathrooms. A builder paid her to repaint an old buffet to suit the color of the bathroom he was remodeling for a customer.

She has also repurposed china cabinets into bars. Moore takes off the doors and glass. Then she lines the back with ship lap siding. Moore installs edition industrial lampshades by mounting them on the inside of the cabinet. She also replaces the hardware with heavy industrial hardware.

Moore also takes old headboard and turns them in to benches. She had a sleigh bed that had a head board and footboard. She cut the footboard in half and used it as the sides of the bench. She cuts up old pallets and stains them for the seat. Moore’s boyfriend helps her with the construction aspect of the piece she is creating. They love doing projects together.

Moore makes a lot of things for her daughters. She made a bed headboard out of an old pallet and whitewashed it. She also put a shelf on top of it where her daughter displays figurines and toys.

Her favorite find was a 1960s Bassett dresser with a matching mirror that someone had put by a dumpster in the rain. She painted the entire dresser white. Moore likes white on white. She bought new hardware with crystals on it. She kept that one for herself.

Moore did a chair for her daughter’s desk. She painted it black and pink and used Mod Podge, a type of acid free glue, finish and sealer, to collage the seat with different black and pink patterned paper.

She also redid some bar stools. Moore painted them red and reupholstered the seats in grey and white fabric.

“What I find the most enjoyable about this is that I can take something that most people consider trash and make it into something absolutely beautiful,” she said.

Moore takes commissions. When the builder paid her to redo a dresser, she realized that she could make money doing this. It is really a hobby.

“I do things for family and friends because it is enjoyable and rewarding,” she said. “Growing up on a tight budget and being a single mom, I learned to be resourceful.

“What I really want to learn more about is different finishes such as oil finishes, polyurethanes and overall getting that perfect finish. I want to get a perfect gloss or matte finish.”

Moore can be contacted