How to Update Vintage “This End Up” Pine Cargo Furniture

Looking for ways to update your vintage “This End Up” pine cargo furniture? Or maybe you’re currently standing in the middle of a thrift store or a garage sale, or scrolling through Facebook marketplace listings, trying to determine if that second-hand set of “This End Up” furniture is worth purchasing in the first place. Either way, you’re in the right place!

Today I want to show you how easy it is to take your vintage cargo furniture from “dated” to “designer”. I want to help you re-imagine these sturdy pine pieces, so that you can see them with fresh eyes. So if you’re on the fence about purchasing a set of “This End Up” couches, or if you’re debating selling the pine cargo pieces you have in your home… stick around for some easy ways to update it and some simple styling tips for your “This End Up” furniture.

vintage "This End Up" pine cargo loveseat painted white

We have several pine cargo pieces from “This End Up” in our farmhouse. The classic sofa, a couple love seats, and a pine cargo toy chest. My parents have also owned several pieces over the years! A bed, sofas, end tables, a chest of drawers. Honestly, I’ve grown up with “This End Up” furniture, and maybe you did too! It was pretty popular in the 80’s and 90’s. I think it’s easy to overlook furniture pieces like this now, to see them as simply out-dated pine cargo furniture. Especially if you grew up with them, or maybe even had them as furniture in your college dorm.

"This End Up" loveseat painted white and styled in a country cottage farmhouse living room with a mix of collected furniture

But I’m here to tell ya that “This End Up” furniture has SO MUCH potential, especially in an old farmhouse or a country cottage style space! That’s kindof my vibe so I’m excited to show you how we style our “This End Up” furniture in our home.

thrifted "this end up" toy chest as a coffee table in a cottage farmhouse style sitting room

What is “This End Up” Furniture?

Before we get into all the DIY ideas and updated styling tips… I want to answer a few common questions you might have. Let’s start with this one… What is “This End Up” furniture?

“This End Up” furniture is a particular brand of pine cargo furniture, or shipping crate furniture. Rumor has it the original “This End Up” sofa was actually made out of an old packing crate! There have been newer lines of furniture from to come out over the years, with different styles and new furniture pieces, but the original classic collection of “This End Up” is what the company started with and it’s what they are known for still today.

classic collection of pine cargo furniture from "this end up"

What kind of wood was “This End Up” furniture made from?

“This End Up” cargo furniture is made primarily out of southern yellow pine, and it is quite durable!

pine cargo furniture tabletop

Where is “This End Up” furniture made?

“This End Up” furniture is made in Sanford, NC.

What’s the history of “This End Up” furniture?

The “This End Up” furniture was originally created by two NC State college students back in the 1970’s. As a fellow NCSU Alumni, I think is so cool, and it makes me love this furniture even more! The packing crate style furniture quickly became popular, and the company we now know as This End Up was born. Over time the company grew and eventually the founders eventually sold it to new owners, but “This End Up” is still in business and production remains in North Carolina still today.

I actually found this old Washington Post article about the early days of This End Up furniture. It was a very interesting read if you want to learn more about the beginning of the company!

Why I love “This End Up” Furniture?

I love antiques, especially antique furniture! (And no I’m not saying my “This End Up” furniture is antique because it’s definitely not!) There’s a big difference in the quality and the craftsmanship that went into making things back in “the good old days”. We’ve all heard the saying “they just don’t make ’em the way they used to” and honestly, that statement is mostly true!

antiquing at Antique 2 Chic in Jacksonville, NC

I often wonder what antiquing will look like for our children and grandchildren. It’s hard to imagine what furniture pieces from today will even last long enough to become an antique. That’s one thing I don’t worry about with “This End Up”! “This End Up” furniture is the most heavy duty, solid, made to last, durable furniture we have ever owned. It’s built to last, and in my humble opinion, “This End Up” is one of the few brands of furniture still being made today that will actually last long enough to become an antique. I love “This End Up” because it’s built to last!

Where can you buy “This End Up” furniture?

Every piece of “This End Up” furniture I own, I bought second hand. When the quality is this good, second hand is honestly just as good as new! So if you’re in the market for a used set for your home, here are a few places to look:

Is “This End Up” furniture still in business?

Yes they are! You can shop their furniture online at the “This End Up” website. Or if you’re local, you can also stop by their manufacturing plant in Sanford, NC.

Where can I buy “This End Up” furniture replacement cushions?

You can order replacement cushions for your “This End Up” furniture directly from the company. There are a few other companies who make and sell replacement cushions and replacement covers, but I cannot personally speak to the quality or those companies. I recommend doing your research before you place an order!

How to Update Vintage “This End Up” Pine Cargo Furniture

Now onto the fun part! If you’re the DIY-er type like me, you might want to consider updating or refinishing your “This End Up” furniture to make it fit your home and style. No matter how you decide to refinish your furniture, you’ll want to start by giving it a good scrub!

How to clean “This End Up” furniture?

I recommend cleaning your pine cargo pieces with a gentle cleaner. I’ve used Mr. Clean diluted in warm water before. Just dampen a rag, wring out the excess water / cleaner, and wipe down the surface of the furniture. I’ve also used Murphy’s Oil Soap, also diluted in warm water. Whatever you use to clean the furniture, just be sure to let it dry completely before moving on the the next steps.

6 DIY Ideas to Refinish / Update Vintage “This End Up” Pine Cargo Furniture:

  1. paint – my personal favorite way to update “This End Up” furniture!
  2. re-stain the wood to a darker color – either lightly sand & stain, or use a gel stain
  3. brighten the wood with a white wash paint effect – that way you still see the grain
  4. tone down the warm tones of the wood with a paint wash / tan wash
  5. apply a liming wax to lighten and age the piece while toning down the orange tones
  6. for upholstered pieces like sofas and loveseats – try sewing your own cushion covers!

The Easiest Way to Update Your Vintage “This End Up” Pine Cargo Furniture… Paint!

Yes, you can paint your “This End Up” furniture! Paint is an easy way to breath new life into these old pine pieces. Paint it white to brighten it up and take your furniture from cabin-y to cottage-y. Or choose any color that fits your style and your space.

paint is an easy way to update a vintage "this end up" pine cargo toy chest

My go to paint for DIY’s and furniture painting projects is hands down Fusion Mineral Paint. If you’ve never painted with Fusion before, I have a few helpful resources right here on the blog you can check out that will help you get started.

I also have a free downloadable guide full of paint tips and tricks, helpful info, FAQ’s about Fusion Mineral Paint and painting furniture, paint color suggestions, and more to help get you started if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Fill out your contact info below and I’ll send the guide to your email inbox!

free guide - furniture painting tips for beginners

DIY Inspo: “This End Up” Toy Chest Makeover

Recently I picked up a “This End Up” toy chest from a local thrift store. I actually love the wood tone on this piece, especially in this space. So I decided to leave the outside of the chest as is. But the inside… that got a fresh coat of white paint in the color Picket Fence by Fusion Mineral Paint.

This room currently functions as an office, sitting area, and a guest bedroom depending on the day. And the sofa in here is actually a sleeper sofa! So I bought this chest because I thought it would work perfectly as a coffee table in front of the sofa when the room is being used as a sitting area… but it can also function as extra storage and a place to keep the linens for the sleeper sofa.

I wanted the inside of the chest to feel really fresh and clean, especially since it will be holding extra sheets and quilts and pillows for guests. So after giving the entire piece a really good cleaning, I painted the inside of the chest where the linens will be stored.

painted "this end up" toy chest makes the perfect storage solution for extra blankets and linens

I love this chest can serve as extra linen storage in this multi-purpose space, especially since this room doesn’t have a closet. But additionally, I love that it can serve as a coffee table when this room is being used as a sitting room / office space!

vintage "this end up" pine cargo toy chest styled as a cottage coffee table with extra linen storage for guests

Dated to Designer: 5 Ways to Style Your “This End Up” Furniture to Fit Your Home’s Aesthetic

Vintage pine cargo furniture doesn’t have to look dated, but if you fill an entire room with it, it can start to make the whole room look dark and heavy. A room full of all “This End Up” pieces might feel more cabin-like, or maybe even reminiscent of your old college dorm. So if that’s not the look you’re going for, here are a few styling ideas that will take your old cargo furniture from dated to designer.

Mix and Match Furniture Styles for a Collected Look.

We really have quite the variety of furniture styles in our living room at the moment! Thrift store scores and Facebook marketplace finds make up the bulk of our furniture in this space. I love how the clean straight lines in our vintage “This End Up” cargo sofas balance out the curves and rounded shapes of the coffee table and end table. The heaviness of the sofa’s are also very grounding, while the lightness of the pedestal tables and the white caned sitting chair keep it from feeling too heavy.

Mix Wood Tones with Whites.

Pair these warm colored pine pieces with whites to brighten it up and make it feel less cabin-y and more cottage-y. Our “This End Up” toy chest turned coffee table is the perfect complement to the white slipcovered sofa, and white painted dresser in this space.

vintage "this end up" pine cargo toy chest styled as a cottage coffee table with extra linen storage for guests

Play with Different Textures.

Don’t stick with one furniture texture throughout the room. Mix and match textures to create more interest and depth in the space. You can pair a rustic wood “This End Up” dresser with a vintage style metal bed for a more industrial or a modern farmhouse feel. Pair wood couches with upholstered sitting chairs. Or you can even incorporate a mixture of raw wood and painted pieces in a space as seen below.

vintage "this end up" pine cargo toy chest styled as a cottage coffee table with extra linen storage for guests

Update Your Pine Cargo Sofa’s Cushion Covers

You can totally change the look of your vintage pine cargo sofas by simply changing the cushion covers! I have not yet needed to buy replacement cushions for our “This End Up” sofa’s or loveseats.

But I have swapped out the cushion covers, and I wrote a blog post about the ones we bought for our home. Click here to see our new cushion covers, and the temporary slip-cover solution we came up with while we waited to find cushion covers that would fit.

Use “This End Up” Furniture as Outdoor Furniture!

While I don’t recommend leaving it out in the elements unprotected, “This End Up” furniture can totally be used outdoors in a covered space. I know it might sound a bit unconventional, but it works and it won’t hurt your furniture as long as it’s not getting rained on.

white painted vintage pine cargo loveseat from This End Up on an outdoor covered screened in porch

We have had one of our “This End Up” loveseats on our screened in porch for years! Every spring we have to give it a good cleaning once the pollen season comes to an end. But that is the case for any outdoor furniture we had in this space. Pollen season is no joke here in the Carolinas!

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of our old “This End Up” furniture! This thrifted pine cargo furniture has served us well for many years. I doubt we ever get rid of it because of how truly well made it is. It’s some of the most sturdy, durable pieces of furniture in our home!

I hope today’s post was helpful! And I hope it gave you lots of inspiration and ideas for some easy ways to update your vintage “This End Up” pine cargo furniture… whether you’re a DIY-er like me, or just looking for new ways to incorporate these pine pieces into your home in an updated way that fits your home’s style. Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Until next time…

Love, Brittany

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