DIY-ing Myself a Home

March 25, 2014

Dear Reader,

When I decided to move to Boston, I knew that I would be living for the first time in my own place. As a consequence, I went a little decorating crazy. I’ve always loved the idea of making things with my own two hands, or at least making existing things more beautiful. IKEA is a really extraordinary place for people with low funds and high expectations, but I felt the need to vary my furniture a bit. So I went thrift store and antique shopping with my excellent mother and picked up a gem of a desk. I also repurposed two side tables and an old chair, all of which had been in my family home in some capacity for my entire childhood.

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

Picture taken in terrible lighting to emphasize “before” status.

The desk was sitting outside the shop nearly buried under other things. When I found it it was one of those really exciting and perfect moments I usually only experience in shoe stores.

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

Picture taken in even worse lighting to achieve desired effect.

So in order to brighten up these pieces I turned to Pinterest, as I do for a crazy amount of things these days. I wasn’t really sure how involved or time consuming it would be to complete my mission, but it turns out it was actually not very hard at all. The only things that I needed were: paint, primer, brushes, sandpaper, stain, and furniture wax. I could tell you exactly what colors I used and what brand of primer and stain and wax, but honestly what I did was walk into Home Depot and say, “Hey I need these things. Give me the best ones” and they did. But here is a quick step by step if you want to try this yourself:

1.Place furniture piece on a large towel or newspaper.

2. Sand like crazy. Sand until the finish is well and truly off. Sand until it feels smooth under your hand with no varnish or finish to impede your progress.

3.Take your primer and do a coat. Let dry. Do another coat. Let dry.

4. Paint it up pretty. I used a palette of off-white, light blue, and black. Make sure they go well together. Paint again.

5.If you need to use stain for any of your pieces like I did, make sure the surface is clean and then take a rag, dip it in, and rub it consistently in long even strokes across the whole surface, let dry. Repeat if you want it darker.

6.After the pieces have been drying for about 24 hours, take some furniture wax and rub it over the surface with a rag to seal the whole thing. This keeps the paint on there nice and tight and also keeps the water out. After waxing, take off the excess with a rag.

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

The chair, after. Still in pretty terrible lighting. But prettier.

The last part is the most fun, in my opinion. I spray painted the handles of my side tables a different color to give it some pizzaz, then reattached them. I also picked up a new knob for my desk drawer at Pier 1 and screwed it on. Finally, I recovered the seat of my chair. This was also way easier than it sounds. I removed the seat cover by unscrewing it from the bottom, then cut off the existing fabric, wrapped the new fabric around the seat (after cutting it to size of course), and then nailed in furniture tacks to keep it in place. The results were just… awesome. In total it took me about three or four hours of concentrated work per piece, with time in between to let the paint dry and all.

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

My side tables, after.

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

The much-improved after.

And that all  was the first step I took to making myself a home 🙂

DIY-ing Myself a Home- The Person I Am Tonight

Remember: If you make yourself a pretty and comfortable home, a naked cat might come hang out in your bed.

P.S. I also had a beautiful and excellent set of parents who helped me out with all of this. Not an absolute necessity if you are DIYing, but it never hurts 🙂

 

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