Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Life or New Home?

New Life or New Home?

Sometimes I look around my house and think "I need new furniture".  But do I really?  My furniture isn't in bad shape - not in perfect shape - but not in "needs to go to the curb" shape.  But it is old and I am tired of it.  What to do?  Should I take out a second mortgage to buy new furniture or redo what I have?  

Let's see what I can do with what is already in my house.

The quickest, cheapest and easiest thing to do is paint.  The greatest thing about paint is the fact that if you finish and you don't like it......paint it again.  It's unbelievable how a quart of paint can completely transform a "take to the curb" table, chest of drawers, headboard into a loved keepsake!  There are 4 steps to painting a piece of furniture.....4....that's it.  Clean, sand, wipe and paint.  That's all there is to it.

Three things to remember:  

(1) When painting over something that has been varnished or stained, you have to give it a good sanding first or your paint will simply fall off.  Also, it's a good idea to lightly sand anything that has been painted before as well.  Just to make sure the new paint sticks to the old paint. You don't have to sand it down to the original wood.  Just rough it up enough for the new paint to stick well. 

(2) Always clean it well before you sand to remove any oils, grease or other material that will interfere with your paint adherence and always - always -  wipe the piece off after you've sanded it or all that mess will cause your finished product to be gritty and dull.....and 

(3) don't let all these online tutorials and DIY TV shows discourage you.  It's not necessary to do a lot of steps when painting furniture.....just clean, sand, wipe and paint.  

Below are some examples of "take to the curb" furniture that was revived and renewed simply by a coat of paint.

Two of the above pictures are dining room chairs.  These are about the easiest things in the world to totally transform.  You have to clean, sand, wipe and paint but you will also need to reupholster the seats.  

To do that, you will need some fabric that you think is pretty and a stapler.  You don't have to use a staple gun - I use my old metal office stapler most of the time because it's more lightweight and the end results are just as good.  The staples don't have to go deeply into the seat.  Just enough to keep it on there.  Don't have any fabric?  I'm sure you have some either hanging in your closet or in your linen closet....think outside the box.  Maybe you have a pair of draperies that you were thinking about replacing anyway?  Use them.  A sheet, pillow cases, even old sweaters.  The seats don't all have to match.  Actually I think it would be fun to have the chairs all painted the same color but with different fabrics on the cushions.

All you have to do is remove the cushion, fold your fabric around it making sure to keep it tight and then staple it to the underside.  Trim off any excess and then put it back on the chair.  Done.

I love the transformation of the chest.  Simply by painting, replacing the hardware and removing the drawers (and replacing them with baskets) this chest is ready for another 20 years!

Sofa's and upholstered chairs are the hardest to recover for me.  I'm not a seamstress so I opt for the simple treatments.  That involves ties and staples.  Anything beyond that is out of my skill set.

These pictures below show simple redo's.  With the sofa, I like to buy painter's cloth drop cloths.  They wash well, wear well and are a neutral color that you can dye to suit your moods.  I simply lay them over the sofa and tuck them into the crevices of the sofa as tightly as possible.  A helpful hint is to use a broomstick or a wooden (or metal) curtain rod to hold them into the crevices of your sofa.  To do that you just push your fabric into the crevices and then push the broomstick on top of that.  It will help tremendously.

The chair was a bit more challenging only because it required me to make a few cuts and do a lot of stapling.  Make sure to staple onto the frame of the chair.  If you miss the wood, it won't stay put.

Now you can get an entire house full of "new" furniture without having to break the bank!!  

As always, enjoy your space!