Decorating can be difficult when you don’t have a large budget. Where do you start? How do you make all those pieces you’ve collected along the way work together? Here’s how I took a bunch of mismatched second-hand furniture and pulled the decor together to give myself a brand new, stylish dining room.
I love the look of antique furniture but I don’t love those prices… Luckily, it’s fairly simple to get that antique look I love by buying inexpensive wood furniture and painting it to look old. All you need to know is a few little tricks and you can get the look you want for a price that is easy to afford.
This project shows you how I turned an Ikea wardrobe into a vintage look armoire.
- Latex Paint in Black, White and Warm Grey
- Baking Soda
- Sharpie or Magic Marker in Black
- Plastic Container (for mixing paint)
- Paint Brushes
- Paper Towels
- Sanding Sponge – Fine & Medium Grit
- Hardware of your choice
- 1”x6”x20” piece of scrap wood
Here’s a simple project that you can knock off in less than half an hour!
All it took to build this rustic bench is one 2x6x10, half a 2x4x8 and a handful of 2 1/2″ screws. It now sits proudly on my front porch.
I’ve broken this project down into simple to follow images.
Here’s how to build it!
On occasion, we’ll pick up or acquire a chest of drawers that has seen better days. Often times one or more drawers will be damaged… or even missing. A favorite project of ours for these misfits is to give them the opportunity to be reincarnated into a higher form: a bar.
The amount of decoration that your chest has and the level of damage it has suffered will help you to shape its new form. Like a hockey player’s absent teeth, sometimes we run across furniture that used to be better adorned that its present state. If the absence of a particular piece of molding isn’t a detriment that you can’t live without, we can balance both sides of the piece to reestablish symmetry. This works pretty well. Obviously, we don’t employ this technique on priceless heirlooms or museum pieces, but for non-historically significant pieces, this will provide balance and pleasing aesthetics that delight you and your purse.
Occasionally a piece will look funny without replacing some molding, if you aren’t confident that you can replicate the look to your satisfaction, pass on the piece. If it just needs balancing, grab it up at a bargain! Of course, use the missing molding to your advantage when negotiating price.
Sometimes one of the drawer fronts will make a nice back splash for your bar, we’ve employed this technique on more than one occasion. Check out the pictures for inspiration.
Please read no further if you’re squeamish. To some, the following project may represent all that is wrong with the world of repurposing, but for our customer it allowed them to keep mom’s baby grand piano minus the expense of storing it and/or keeping it in playing condition.
Moving the Beast
When I went to pick up the piano for this project, I got permission from the owners to disassemble the piano onsite. The owner even helped me take it apart. The worst part is removing the harp, which is made of cast iron and can easily weigh over one hundred pounds. This particular model was an old player piano, so it had even more pieces than a typical piano. Luckily, most all the pieces are screwed together, so with a little patience and elbow grease you can whittle it down into manageable-sized pieces for moving.
Removing the harp is the trickiest part not only because of the weight, the harp is also where all of the piano wire, or strings, are strung. You can back out all of the tuning pegs if you have the correct wrench for this, but we’ve always used a pair of bolt cutters to cut all of the strings. This way is much faster, but you do have to be very cautious since the strings are very tight and can spring up at you when cut. Always wear gloves and safety glasses when performing this task. Also helpful is to lay a board across the strings as they are cut, which tends to absorb some of the energy as they are cut.
Once all of the screws are out of the harp, and the strings are off, you and a helper can pull the harp up and out of the piano (assuming a grand or baby grand versus upright). An engine hoist would also be helpful for this task and would save your backs, but a couple of strong lads should be able to do this work.
Finish tearing down the piano screw by screw. Remove the legs, the keyboard, and the hammers on the inside. Moving should be a breeze now.