Coastal Chic Side Table Re-do – Blizzard Project #2


Okay well I might be exaggerating about the “blizzard” part of this project a bit. The snow left just about as quickly as it came so “post-blizzard” project would probably be a more appropriate title :-p. However, since I had every intention of finishing this one up just as quickly as my first two-tone side table (an actual blizzard project that you can check out via the previous link), in the interest of not taking away from my sense of accomplishment I will still group it in with my other blizzard-inspired creations ;-).

Before pictures – this old girl definitely needed some help!

I had mentioned in my previous post that I’m constantly browsing the local online yard sale sites in hopes of coming across some perfectly-priced furniture treasures in need of a face lift. I’m so thankful for this method of seeking out pieces to re-do because while P is quite the well behaved little boy, thrift store hopping with a toddler in tow can present a wide array of challenges, haha. Additionally, cruising the online buy/sell/trade pieces has also helped me find some great furniture re-sale and consignment stores I might not have easily found otherwise and that is exactly how I came across this particular piece. Through her posts on our local area B/S/T page I was able to become connected with the home-based business Willow Tree Restorations (I have linked her Facebook business page just in case you are checking in from the NOVA area or simply want some inspiration, her work is fantastic!) where the owner, a woman after my own heart, finds and refinishes beautiful vintage pieces. While I love her refinished pieces oh-so much I especially love that most of the pieces she finds she will also offer up as-is so that DIY enthusiasts such as myself can try their handy work at making them their own.

How cute is sweet P helping to sand?! My little DIY-er in training. NOTE: I know a lot of people don’t bother sanding when using chalk paint but I always just give it a quick run over by hand with a sanding block or with the small electric sander on the larger surface areas of a piece.

As for the re-furb story behind this particular piece, I have been obsessing over the two-tone look lately (I’ve posted a few of my inspirational pieces below) and after my success with the last piece I knew I wanted to try it out with some color, especially because I knew that I didn’t have a place for this particular piece in my home and would probably be re-homing it, I could really get creative with a color scheme other than what I’ve been working with. While the beachy and “coastal-chic” color pallets have never had a place in my personal décor I’m loving blues, whites and aquas more and more as of late! The particular colors I mixed for this particular project (see this post for information on how I mix my own chalk paint) are “Patina Blue” by Valspar and “Antique White” by Valspar (a great white somewhere between true white and ivory that I use for a lot of projects). I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been trying out some new products in an effort to go a natural route with my top coats and waxes as opposed to harsher products like Minwax so for this particular project I tried out Chalk Mountain Wax available on Amazon – I was very happy with how great the wax turned out and the pack of two waxes also come with a wax brush all for under $30.00 so definitely great value there. After lightly distressing the edges of the table I waxed the entire piece first with the clear wax followed by a single light coat of the dark, just to add some warmth. In the interest of giving the piece a complete facelift I picked up some new pulls from Hobby Lobby while they were 50% off (normally $4.99 each), I love how new pulls or knobs can really transform a piece and you definitely see that in the before and afters here, I suppose it was unnecessary but I can always reuse the original pulls on another piece in the future!

My little apprentice in action again! lol Thankfully I switched to that all natural wax. This little munch came right over and took the brush out of my hand and said “I’ll do it! I’ll do it!”.


Wow – that was a long post for such a little side table, lol. I hope it inspires a little coastal-chic project of your own … or maybe even inspires a trip somewhere warm (can you tell I’m longing for summer over here? haha). Speaking of inspiration, two of the pictures below are linked to the online shops of friends of mine, so please check out and “like” their pages – they are super talented and even if you are not local to their areas to shop with them they are certainly a wealth of inspiration!

Here are a few pieces that inspired this project. Secretary desk: Shabby Chic Boutique Desk: The Handcrafted Life Dresser (found via Pinterest): Homeroad

Two-tone Side Table Re-do: Blizzard Project #1


Personally being stuck in the house drives me crazy. Whether it’s running errands or just being outside with friends, little P and I are gone most of the day and I love it that way! Needless to say as winter storm Jonas approached and everyone began clearing out their local grocery stores and waiting on ridiculously long gas lines, I was headed to Lowes to pick up some DIY essentials (with only hours to spare, haha!) to ensure my sanity for the duration of our snow-bound adventure. Now rewind about a week – I’m always keeping my eye on local online yard sale sites on the lookout for fixer-upper treasures and hit the jackpot the last few weeks! For under $100 I was able to score FIVE amazing new pieces of furniture to re-do (and unbeknownst to me at the time, this storm was about to give me a great opportunity to get to work, haha). Hopefully even after the snow melts I can keep crankin’ out the rest of these pieces at my current pace but we’ll see ;-).


Our last minute trip to Lowes. P was in all his crazy-haired, pajama-clad glory!

For now I’d like to share my first blizzard project – my two-tone side table. This piece was amazing and I couldn’t believe that the owner wanted to part with it (and for SO cheap), especially because it was so solid, it must weigh forty pounds if not more! Since I don’t have room for all of my creations I know that have to start selling things off here and there but I knew immediately that this is one that I would need to keep for myself. I loved the wood grain, which is why I chose to leave the drawers as is and loved the fact that the sides of the table actually had some noticeable splits in the wood which add to its character and vintage feel. I didn’t do anything special aside from try out a new wax which I plan to review in a separate post. I used my homemade chalk paint (see this post for the recipe and more information on mixing your own), distressed it a bit and then finished it using Dover’s Chalk Paint Wax – a new natural furniture wax I’m trying out in an attempt to get away from harsh chemical and VOC products like Minwax (although they have served me well to this point!). If you’re as in love with the color I used as I am, it’s “London Coach” by Valspar – doesn’t it just sound wintery and amazing!? I hope this project inspires a little snow day DIY on your end! xoxo


Finished product!




A little snippet of the fun that was had in all the snow!




Baby Rocking Chair Re-Do – My first re-upholstery project!

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One of my biggest (and smallest, lol) inspirations for so many of my DIY projects has been none other than my own baby P! Whether it be items for is nursery or coming up with ways to work all of his adorable photos into our decor (check out my DIY Rustic Picture Display!) I am thoroughly amazed by the creativity that this little guy has prompted in me. One of my latest projects was upcycling an old rocking chair that I found at a used furniture store (at the same time I picked up my old shutters that turned into my DIY shutter shelf!) for $8, actually funny story: it was actually $15 but jokingly as I was checking out I said “how about $8.00?” and the guy said “Ya know what, sure. That’s what my wife gets for making me work today instead of fishing!”, haha. Honestly, although the chair is good quality wood, in the state it was in at the time of purchase it wasn’t worth more than $8.00, haha, the seat was covered in a raggy, dirty old cowboy print cloth and smelled like old people (don’t even pretend you don’t know the smell I’m talking about, lol) but despite all of these factors I saw potential!

As soon as I got the chair home I got super motivated and removed the upholstered part of the chair as well as all of the staples that were holding it in place. I even went as far as to borrow a staple gun from a friend for the re-upholstery part of the project, but that was as far as I got before getting swept up in another project and forgetting all about the little rocker. Flash forward to last week, I had used the same paint that I was intending to use on the chair for my DIY Owl Themed Coat Rack/Hooked Sign and knew that this would be a good opportunity to get cracking on the chair.  For the fabric I chose a beautiful grey/brown chevron print decor fabric that I happened to find in the remnants bin at my local fabric store for only $7.00, making the grand total of this project just about $20.00! Now I know that a random $8 cowboy-themed rocking chair probably isn’t an option at your local thrift shop BUT lucky for you this project can be duplicated with any kid-sized chair (or an size for that matter) that you happen to find, even if it doesn’t already come with a piece to reupholster (I was able to salvage the original seat from my piece) you can absolutely fashion your own using a small piece of plywood and simply attach it to the existing seat! You will not believe how easy this project is, especially for how amazing the result. If re-upholstery seems daunting to you don’t let it deter you, I was extremely skeptical about this project as it was my first time working with upholstery but now that I know how easy it is I can’t wait to try my hand at it again! Happy stapling, watch those fingies 😉

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*For this project I used chalk paint (find out how I mix my own here), feel free to refer to my re-finishing wooden furniture with gel stain or latex paint posts for alternative painting methods. If you want to add a cushion to a chair that did not have one to begin with simply follow my steps below but use a piece of plywood (something cheap but sturdy), you can even have your local home improvement store cut it for you for free!

  • Kid-sized rocking chair
  • Chalk Paint – I mixed my own (refer to this tutorial to find out how I made it using a sample sized latex paint), the color is “Opera Glasses” by Valspar which is now one of my favorite paint colors as I’m always looking for a good “greige” which is oh-so popular right now.
  • Minwax Finishing Paste Wax in “Special Dark”
  • Sanding blocks or sand paper
  • Black foam paint brush
  • Manual staple gun (if you’re super hardcore and have a power stapler you can use that as well, I’m too clumsy to be around things that shoot out metal, lol)
  • Foam or fiber cushion – I used this one that I purchased at my local fabric store (with a coupon, yay!) but it is also available online via Amazon and most other retailers of fabric.
  • Fabric of your choice – the amount you will need depends on the size of your seat (you won’t need much though, I used about 1/4 of a yard!)
  • Heavy Duty All-Purpose adhesive – anything that says it will bond to most all surfaces, you can’t go wrong with E-6000 or any of those “E” adhesives or Gorilla glue)
  • Scissors


Step 1: I began by ripping all of the original fabric and batting from the chair to reveal the frame. I kept the board that made up the seat as it was in good condition and I wanted to reuse it. I then removed all staples that remained in the wood using needle-nosed pliers.

Dirty and torn, but still promising!

Dirty and torn, but still promising!

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Step 2: I sanded down the chair by hand using a sanding block (150-grit), while I do have an electric sander I feel some projects move quicker when they’re done by hand, especially ones with a lot of nooks and crannies like this chair. Once I had finished sanding I wiped the chair down with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust particles.

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chair post-sanding

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Step 3: Using a black foam brush (I prefer these to regular paint brushes because they don’t leave streaks) I evenly painted the top half of the chair with an even coat of my chalk paint, I then waited about 2 hours before returning to my chair, flipping it upside down and applying the first coat to the bottom. I continued in this fashion for two more coats (three total). I found this was the easiest way to paint the chair on all sides and on the bottom of rocking part.

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Step 4: Once my final coat had dried I waxed the chair by applying a thin coat of paste wax using an old rag, waiting the appropriate amount of time (15 minutes I think?) then buffing it out using another rag. At that point the re-painting part of the project was complete – yay!

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After the chair was waxed. I like that the wax gives it an antiqued look. You can also get a natural or clear wax for protection and sheen without color!

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Step 5:  I began my reupholstering part of the project by cutting a piece of fabric that was about 4-5 inches wider than the piece of wood that would make up my seat. NOTE: If you are using a thinner fabric that you think may be prone to ripping use a sander to dull down the corners of your wood or cut the tips of your corners off so that they are flat, this won’t make a difference in the look of the chair but will prevent the corners from protruding through the fabric over time. After cutting my fabric, I cut my foam piece to be just big enough to reach over the edges of my board.

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Baby P playing peek-a-boo with the fabric, lol!

Baby P playing peek-a-boo with the fabric, lol!

Step 6: Once all of my components were ready I laid my fabric face down, my foam piece atop it in the center and then my wooden seat atop the foam. This step is best done using two people but if you’re all by your lonesome just use your knees to secure the board in place while you tighten and staple – but be careful! Pull one edge of the fabric taught over the edge of the wood and make sure that the foam will wrap nicely around the edge of the wood, if you are happy with the way it looks staple along the edge of the wood, about 2- 3 inches in, I used about six staples per side for good measure! NOTE: The corners will be a little trickier so do your edges first and then your corners last because you may need to manipulate and fold them a bit to get them right.

Step 7: After I made my cushion I trimmed any excess fabric from the bottom that was sticking out too much. Then I was ready to bond my seat to the base of the chair. I did so by applying a generous amount of adhesive to the bottom of the cushion (not too close to the edges, you do not want it oozing out!) and to the base of the chair where the cushion was to be attached, then pressed down firmly to secure it. You may want to place a book or something else flat and heavy on top the seat to hold it in place as it dries (this would be a great job for a kid in time-out! Just kidding, haha). Voila! Finished and beautiful and ready for baby P’s adorable squishy butt to sit on it 🙂

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Finished product!

NOTE: An optional Step 8 would be to add decorative upholstery nails or trim along the edge where your seat meets your chair. My hubby was opposed to this idea so I left the chair as is (and it looks just adorable without them so it is not necessary to do this by any means). However, this is a great way to add a little extra flare or elegance to your chair and to hide the area where the seat meets the chair.

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The most rewarding part of this project was seeing how much baby P loved the rocker, which completely took me by surprise because I was sure he wouldn’t want anything to do with it because it’s just a chair, however he loves rocking it and sitting in it and when he sees it he gets so excited, points and says “this! this!”. What a warm feeling to have my crafts appreciated by even the tiniest of people 🙂

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DIY Shutter Shelf


As I’ve mentioned in my last few crafting posts, I’ve been scrambling to get our new house set up. After all, we’re only going to be here for under a year and I want at least a little time to relax and enjoy our time here before we pack up and move on again. This particular project has been a long time coming, as I purchased these shutters quite some time ago when we were still living at our Honey Tree house and still unaware that we would be moving in the next few months. My friend Lisa and I hit up “The Red Barn” which is, well, you guessed it – a red barn, lol but it’s also an antique/used furniture shop as well. Every now and then they’ll post items on our local Craigslist page and at the time Lisa was looking for small shutters to make shelves. It just so happened that the Red Barn owner did have the exact type of small shutters she was searching for but since he had three sets and she only needed two I decided to take the other ones, because for $5.00 a set why not! Since I didn’t have any purpose for them in our Honey Tree house they just sat in the garage with the rest of my back-burner project supplies and of course J kept trying to throw them out, convinced that I would never find a use for them, lol. As usual he was wrong (haha, just kidding .. or am I?) and when we moved into our new home on base I knew just the thing that was going to spruce up our ugly, empty kitchen wall – a DIY shutter shelf!

Now let me rewind a bit. Although I had seen shutters repurposed as shelves on Pinterest I wasn’t convinced that it was a project that I actually wanted to attempt until I saw how awesome my friend Lisa’s bathroom shutter shelf came out. I think what I love most about DIY and crafting is sharing ideas and inspiration for projects with friends and these repurposed shutter shelves are a perfect example of that :). After checking out Lisa’s shelf, I found that all I needed to do to create my own shutter shelf was purchase some brackets and mounting hardware, since I already had the paint and knobs (left over from my DIY Microwave Stand) on hand from other projects. The grand total for this project came in right around $18.00 which is amazing because if my memory serves me correctly the ugly, flimsy floating shelves that can  be purchased at most homeware stores go for much more than that! Furthermore, after doing a little research I found that shutter shelves purchased via Etsy are going for anywhere between $45.00 and $100.00! So even if you don’t necessarily need a shutter shelf but have found some cheap shutters like I did, you could probably make a pretty penny by taking the time (not very much time, mind you) to do this project and sell it on Craigslist or Ebay – just a thought!

If you don’t have a lot of used furniture stores in your area shutters may be hard to come by, but if you do, I hope you give this project a try. It’s a super easy and fun way to jazz up any space in your home, and even if you don’t need a functional shelf they’re still fun to hold décor or pictures. Additionally, although these are inherently “shabby-chic”, with different paint or bracket choices you can adapt them to fit your décor style. Personally, my style is a combination of vintage pieces and modern finishes so the shabby finish on the shutters combined with the smooth modern brackets fit my décor perfectly! Here is my tutorial along with the products that I used to achieve this look, you’ll never believe how easy it was!



  • 1 pair of shutters (see picture below) – I found mine at a used furniture/antique store for $5.00! Mine were fairly small about 26″ long and 9″ wide (you can also use larger or smaller shutters just purchase brackets accordingly).
  • 2 metal brackets – purchased via Amazon here for $12.58.
  • 2 knobs – purchased as part of a set at Target (available 4 to a pack here for $12.99), I had two left over from my DIY Microwave Stand.
  • 2 Keyhole Mountings – for hanging shelf (like these).
  • Chalk Paint – see this post to see how I made my own chalk paint. I used a sample size of Stone Mason Grey by Valspar, read more about my love for sample sized latex paints for crafting in this post.
  • Minwax Finishing Paste Wax in “Special Dark”
  • Foam Brush (or regular paint brush) – I found that a 1″ brush could most easily work between the slats of the shutters while painting.
  • Wood Filler – available at your local home improvement store, you can also substitute paintable caulk.
  • Sanding Block or Sand Paper
  • Clean Rag or cheese cloth
  • Drill
  • Screw Driver


Step 1: I began by cleaning my shutters with a damp rag (mine were filthy!). Next I began separating my shutters by removing all existing hardware. I then used wood filler to fill any of the holes that were left from the old hardware.



Before - gahhh cob webs eek!

Before – gahhh cob webs eek!



Step 2: Once the wood filler had dried, I returned to the piece and sanded those areas smooth and wiped the piece down with a clean cloth to remove any residue from sanding. Then I began painting my shutters. This was a bit tedious as you have to paint in between all of the slats. I painted one side then returned about a half an hour later to paint the other side, then repeated for a second coat (mine required two, depending on the original color of your shutters and the color of the paint you are using you may only need one).

After holes had been filled.

After holes had been filled.

My favorite - little Valspar sample paints! Note, my very special paint stirring tool lol

My favorite – little Valspar sample paints! Note, my very special paint stirring tool lol

Step 3: When your paint has dried, using a rag or cloth, apply an even coat of

Step 4: Once your shutters are painted and waxed decide how you want them to line up. Once you have decided, take your shutter that will be against the wall (the one that will be mounted on the wall, not the one that will be the functional part of the shelf) and using a drill, attach a keyhole mounting piece to each corner of the back of the shelf (mine were about one inch down and one inch in).

Keyhole mounting brackets.

Keyhole mounting brackets.

J in action drilling holes for the knobs! Ignore his claw feet, eek! :-P

J in action drilling holes for the knobs! Ignore his claw feet, eek! 😛

Step 5: Next, working with the same shutter, turn it over so that the part that will be facing out is facing you and measure equal distances for your knob placement, then drill a hole for each of the knobs and then screw them in.

Step 6: Now you are ready to attach your brackets! Using your brackets as a guide, mark where each screw is to be placed, then attach your brackets. That’s it! All you’ll need to do is mount your shelf on the wall using two screws that will fit your keyhole mounting hardware, see my finished product below!

I'll update it once I decorate it but for now the shelf itself is decoration enough, I LOVE it! :)

I’ll update it once I decorate it but for now the shelf itself is decoration enough, I LOVE it! 🙂

Bathroom Vanity Makeover – Cabinet Painting Tutorial


The master bathroom was the last major house project we tackled before baby P was born. We had been putting off this particular project because we anticipated that it would be the most expensive of our DIY projects as well as the most work. Well, it took us two other bathroom updates (the guest bathroom and the half bath downstairs) to realize that replacing the entire vanity was a stupid idea. While both of the other bathrooms came out great and our cute little modern vanities look amazing, replacing  the old vanities meant ripping out the cabinets and sinks, having to sand and repaint the walls, install new tiles in the empty space that was left on the floor and replace the floor molding before installing the new vanities – SO much work. We spent hours laying tile, grouting and cutting molding when we very well could have just updated the old cabinets and just purchased a new vanity top. Oh, well, lesson learned and we still got two cute bathrooms out of it so no harm done. Needless to say when it was time to tackle the master bath, I was determined to simply repaint the cabinets and replace only the vanity top. Having already repainted our kitchen cabinets (I will post about this soon!), this was not my first cabinet rodeo, lol. When ordering the new vanity top, we ended up choosing a cultured granite in a light gray because it went with our color scheme but was also neutral enough to compliment really any paint color, should the new owners decide to change the wall color. After purchasing our vanity top, I  got to work on the cabinets. These were a super easy project (all the more reason I wanted to kick myself in the head for not doing this in the other bathrooms as well), especially when compared to the kitchen cabinet process, this one paled in comparison!

Now, I will get to the tutorial, but first some advice. If you buy an older home take a good look at the existing cabinets and fixtures before you look to do a complete overhaul of the place. While some things may be physically damaged beyond repair and need to be replaced for non-cosmetic reasons, if it is just ugly but still functional try to look beyond the hideous 1982 stock cabinetry because chances are you can save a lot of time (and maybe some cash too) with just a quick paint job! In our case the cost of the projects were going to be about the same (the cost of the custom vanity top was comparable to the cost of a new full vanity and replacing the floor tiles) so we didn’t necessarily save a significant amount of money by going the repainting route BUT we sure did save a heck of a lot of time and aggravation! I am a HUGE advocate for making simple cosmetic changes, it is AMAZING what a little paint and DIY decor can do for a room and with little to no effort and cash you can bring an old, dingy space back to life (and more importantly, into the 21st century, lol)!


*NOTE: This can also be applied to kitchen cabinets as well! Basically all of the same principles can be applied to painting wooden furniture, check out my post on re-doing old furniture here.


  • Semi or High Gloss Kitchen/Bathroom Paint (the label will say “kitchen and bath” these paints are specifically designed to withstand the moisture caused by showering and cooking. If you don’t want to buy a bathroom or kitchen specific paint go with a semi or high gloss regular latex paint, I DO NOT recommend any finish below satin, as eggshell and flat paint don’t hold up to moisture well at all).
  • Sanding Blocks or regular sand paper
  • Foam Brushes or Small Rollers (they make rollers specifically for cabinets, they are good for the large surfaces but I found that I needed to use the smaller foam brushes on the edges anyway so I recommend skipping the rollers altogether, as they won’t really save you too much time).
  • Polyacrylic Top Coat (I suppose this could be optional because you are using a high or semi gloss paint, however, I wanted the extra protection on the cabinetry).
  • Drop Cloth
  • Bonding Primer (optional)
  • Caulk (optional)


  1. Begin by removing all of the drawers and doors, then remove all hardware. If you are planning on reusing the hardware you can let it soak for a few minutes in warm soapy water then clean them with a toothbrush or you can repaint them using a satin spray paint).
  2. Give the surfaces of your doors and drawers a quick sand, no need to go nuts, just about a minute on each surface will do, you are simply trying to remove a good amount of the original sheen or varnish. Once you are done sanding, wipe all surfaces down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. Don’t forget to sand the exterior body of the vanity as well. Once you are finished sanding, vacuum or dust the insides of the drawers and around the vanity itself to ensure that no particles will get on your wet paint once you begin working. NOTE: Some tutorials and cabinet painting kits (such as Rustoleum) suggest using deglosser (aka liquid sandpaper) in place of sanding. I have done both and I now prefer to just sand, it takes about the same amount of time and you won’t have to deal with the greasy disgustingness of the deglosser.
  3. Another optional step is using white paintable caulk to fill in any cracks or holes in the wood, this is a great trick! Just squeeze it in and smooth it out using your finger. This will make your cabinets look even newer as you will be hiding any wear and tear or factory imperfections. Most caulk is paintable after just a half hour. Again, this step is optional but if you are a perfectionist I wouldn’t skip it, as once you paint your cabinets (especially if you are using a light color) imperfections in the wood will be more apparent.
  4. Set up a work area for painting the doors and drawers, since this is usually a few day project, I do not recommend doing it outside. The garage or spare bedroom will probably be best (since I didn’t have any tiny humans crawling around at the time, I simply moved our dining table to the side, laid a giant plastic drop cloth of the tile floor and set up shop there). Lay a drop cloth (I suggest plastic) and you are ready to paint!
  5. If you are using stark white paint as I did you might consider applying a coat of bonding primer or cover stain first, that way you won’t require as many coats of paint to hide the wood color beneath. This is optional, however, and if you are using a darker color paint this is definitely unnecessary. As far as the method for painting the drawers and doors, the drawers can usually prop up on their own, but for the doors I use the same method as I do when cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot (lol), I create a few balls out of tin foil then prop each door up flat so you can easily paint the sides and edges. Now, give all exterior surfaces an even coat of paint, using even strokes in the direction of the original wood grain. I don’t paint the insides or sides of the drawers, when I first tacked my kitchen cabinets I posed this question to the Google gods (haha) and it seems that even professionals don’t paint the insides or sides of cabinets when refinishing them, which worked for me – less work, woo-hoo!!! Once you have applied your first coat of paint to the drawers, doors and exterior body of the vanity or cabinet itself, allow about 12-24 hours of dry time. I know that sounds like a lot of dry time, however, good dry time is key in ensuring that your piece will hold up and it is extra important in the case of cabinets as they will be handled on a daily basis. This is a good nap-time or after work project as you can spend an hour or so each day over the course of a few days.
  6. Repeat the painting process until you have applied the desired amount of coats, for darker colors this may only be two but for stark white you may need up to four if you choose to forgo the cover stain. Once your final coat has dried you can go ahead and apply your first coat of polyacrylic top coat if you are using one. I chose to apply two coats of the clear polyacrylic just to be safe. Once your final coats have tried go ahead and reattach your hardware and you are finished!!!


I hope that by looking at these before and afters you can see what a difference refinishing your cabinets can make. You would NEVER know that my vanity was originally a piece of crap 80’s builder-grade cabinet! I will be making another post soon on our entire master bathroom re-do and give you some more budget-friendly decor pointers, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, here is a sneak-peak of the before and afters just to give you an idea.



DIY Chalkboard – No Chalk Paint Required!


As much as I love to craft and create, the easier the project the better! I love chalkboards and had been searching for one to display in our kitchen as a menu/note board for quite some time. Problem was, anything I was finding on Etsy or at local homegoods shops like Marshalls was way too expensive for my decorating budget. After hopping on Pinterest and seeing what my DIY options were, I found that most people were using either old frames or mirrors and inserting a piece of plywood painted with chalk paint or simply painting over the existing mirror with chalk paint. I knew this would be perfect since I had two dresser mirrors left over from my repurposed entertainment center, good thing I resisted my husband’s pleas to take them to the dump every weekend, my subconscious must have known I would be able to reuse them somehow, haha! I began this project while snow-bound during our “snow storm” aka 3″ of snow which is nothing to us northerners but apparently here in the south it was enough to get my hubby a week off of work, lol. After inspecting the mirror I was going to use I decided to go with adding a piece of chalk-painted plywood instead of painting over the mirror since the existing piece was super heavy and I have a phobia of hanging super heavy items on the wall with a soon-to-be-crawling baby in the house. I removed the mirror from the piece (very carefully!) and disposed of it, left with only the wood frame I prepped it to be painted (see my tutorial on how to paint wooden furniture here). After finally getting out of the house (4 days inside is NOT fun lol), I headed to Lowes to pick up my sample size paint (I used Farmer’s Market by Valspar to match our dining chairs), chalk paint and plywood. Here’s where the “no chalk paint required” part comes in, the craft gods must have been smiling upon me that day because Lowe’s saw was broken so they were going to be unable to cut my plywood to size, so I decided to go to Home Depot instead. There as I was picking out my piece of plywood in the lumber aisle I found that they had pieces of plywood that were ALREADY CHALKBOARDS, WHAAAAAAAT??!!! I was so thrilled! This was amazing since it eliminated quite a few steps in making my chalkboard, now all I would have to do was paint my frame and glue the board in place. I even saved some coin since the chalkboard only cost about $9.00, and the chalk paint alone would have cost $9.00 in addition to whatever the plywood would have cost me, I still have quite a few pieces left over for future chalkboard projects. This was a fun and easy project and is great for birthday boards, menu boards, you name it! Here is my tutorial:


  • Mirror or empty frame
  • Chalkboard cut to size (available at Home Depot here, they cut it for me for free)
  • Latex Paint or spray paint (if repainting frame)
  • Black Foam Brushes (if repainting frame using latex paint)
  • All Purpose Crafting or Wood Glue (preferably something that is fast-bonding, but as long as it dries clear and works on wood, you’re good to go).



  1. If you are using an empty frame, go right to step 2. If you are using an old mirror, CAREFULLY remove the mirror from the frame. Mine was not secured with any adhesive so it came out easily. I do not recommend busting up the mirror, I’m no health professional but I do know that nobody wants a DIY project to land them with a hospital bill, which WILL happen if you cut yourself with a piece of mirror glass or drop a heavy mirror on your foot. You have been warned lol.
  2. If your frame is wood you can follow my steps for repainting wooden furniture using latex paint here  . If  your frame is metal or even if it is wood, you can hit it with spray paint if you’re looking to save time. My frame was very think and ornate so I painted it using my latex paint method, but since the piece wasn’t going to see much action I cut down on the dry time allowing only about 6 hours between coats, then using 2 coats of polyacrylic as a top coat.
  3. Once your mirror is painted and dried, you are ready to glue in your chalkboard. Apply a line of glue to the inside of your frame where the board will sit, then insert your board, pressing down hard (I used a tackier glue so that it wasn’t running all over the place and I made sure that after pressing it in I turned it over to wipe up any glue that had gooped out onto the front). Allow the glue to dry for the recommended time and you are done! Check out my before and afters below.


Here is my before and after of the mirror. You can see from the before pic why my husband wanted to throw them out, what the heck were we ever gonna do with these things? lol I didn’t include the cost of the paint because technically I purchased it to use on a bigger project that I am working on. The color is “Farmer’s Market” by Valspar. COST: ~$9.00


Since I had an extra mirror and I’m an awesome sibling haha, I made one for my sister’s apartment to match her jungle-y printed chairs. I used a sample size of “Painted Parrot” by Valspar. COST: ~$3.98


Repainting Wooden Furniture – Latex Paint Tutorial


My obsession with repainting furniture was born when we moved into our new home. Trying to furnish a large house on a small budget was presenting us with quite a task, so I decided to get creative. After experiencing success using gel stain on the dresser I repurposed (see my tutorial here), I decided to redo two chests for our bedroom (since our dresser and all the closets in our home still weren’t enough to house all of my clothes lol). I located one at a thrift store for $35.00 and another on Craigslist for only $15.00!!! Since both of the chests were going to be used in our bedroom, I painted them black to match our bedroom furniture, not too exciting in the creativity department but they look great in the space!

My next wooden redo (and the mother of all projects) was a super long dresser that I repurposed as an entertainment stand/center for our living room. This is probably my favorite redo yet. Given what it looked like to begin with this came out amazing and I am so proud of it! I spent quite some time looking for a piece that would work as our living room entertainment center, everything I was finding was too small and the ones that did fit my size requirement were too pricey. I finally located a long ornate looking dresser at one of our local thrift shops and knew it would be perfect, especially for the price – it was only $85.00! Yet again, I am sad to say that I do not have step-by-step pictures of these projects but I will do my best to explain in detail, check out my pics below for before and after images of all three projects. Here’s how I did it:


  • Sanding blocks or sandpaper (100-150 grit)
  • Latex Paint (I use 8oz sample paints available at your local home improvement store, I talk about them here). *Note: when possible purchase a flat latex paint (it will adhere to the furniture best and resist chipping), that is what I used on the black dressers. If you are purchasing sample size paints they are only available in satin finish which I’ve found to work just fine.
  • Wood Filler (if you need to patch any holes or cracks)
  • Clear Top Coat (gel or polyacrylic)
  • Black foam brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Rags



  1. First, I removed all hardware, to include the pulls and any metal pieces that you will either discard or replace after the fact.
  2. Remove the drawers. If your piece of furniture is super dirty, wipe it down with a little soapy water using a rag. This is not a super important step, I only did it to one piece that had some kind of sticky residue on it. You’ll find that sanding will remove most dirt anyway.
  3. Next, begin sanding (I always do steps 3 & 4 outdoors to keep my indoor workspace clean). I don’t go nuts with sanding, my goal is simply to remove a good amount of whatever varnish or clear coat is original to the piece, I don’t try very hard to get it down to the wood grain, I find this is only really necessary when re-staining a piece. I sand for about a minute on each surface, paying attention to the edges and grooves. My repurposed entertainment center had some very ornate designs on the front, I didn’t bother sanding inside every groove since they wouldn’t be exposed to getting hit or bumped into once the project was complete.
  4. Once you have finished sanding, take a damp rag and wipe down the whole exterior of the dresser and drawers to remove any sanding dust. I also take the time to vacuum or dust out the insides of the drawers since you don’t want any dust sticking to the paint once you being the painting process. After the wet wipe-down is complete dry the piece off with a dry cloth and you’re ready to begin – YAY!
  5. I set up my painting area so I have plenty of room to move around and be sure that all of my work space is covered by a drop cloth of some kind. Begin your first coat by using a foam brush to apply an even coat of paint, when painting furniture always paint in the direction of the original wood grain, not against. Since you will be allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between coats, feel free to wash and reuse your foam brush.
  6. After you have finished putting the first coat on all of the pieces you are finished for the day. At this stage it’s not going to look good at all, don’t worry, it will get there!!! If you are using a flat paint it is going to look very streaky and uneven, this is fine, any places where the light hits the paint weird will be covered by the top coat. I allow 12-24 hours between coats, so I will generally return to the piece the same time the next day to apply the second coat, this makes it a great after work project or naptime project for all you fellow mamas out there!
  7. The amount of coats you will require for each piece will depend on the color of your paint choice. For instance, the black dressers required only two coats, where as the long dresser required three coats. I must note that I do not sand in between coats when painting or when applying my top coat, many tutorials (and the outside of the top coat can lol) will tell you to do this, I just found that it was an extra step I did not need but feel free to add it if you want, it won’t hurt! After your final coat is applied and dry you are ready to start your top coat. Take a black foam brush and begin applying the clear coat in an even layer using even brush strokes, be mindful not to leave behind any bubbles (sometimes the polyacrylic will do this, just go over the area with your brush) and not to allow the clear coat to pool at the edges of the piece. I generally apply three top coats, allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between coats. *Note: For wooden furniture I am partial to the gel top coat, I have found it to be super durable and easily cleaned, but if you are not comfortable using oil based products then a polyacrylic is a good substitute.
  8. The final step is replacing the hardware. For the two chests, I purchased new pulls (here is a link to the exact ones I used, available at Lowes), I got a little obsessed with the farmhouse pulls lol. If the original pulls are in good shape, which was the case for my repurposed entertainment center, simply clean and reuse them or update them with some spray paint (I use a black Rustoleum satin finish spray paint when repainting my pulls).
  9. You’re finished! Do a touchdown dance and get ready to blow peoples minds when they ask you if you got your piece at Pottery Barn (which has happened to me!) and you tell them “no, bish, I MADE THIS!!!” 🙂



This is one of the chests that I redid for our bedroom (sorry the before picture is so crappy, I had already removed the hardware and sanded the piece before I remembered to take one). I found this one on Craigslist for $15.00 which was amazing because it was in great shape! I half thought it was a ploy that would lure me to my death, but for a $15.00 dresser I was going to take my chances haha jk. I used flat black paint (any brand will do, black is usually sold pre-mixed in the paint aisle but you can also have a sample sized tinted to black if you don’t want to purchase a pint) and the General Finishes Gel Top Coat. Follow the link I mentioned in the tutorial for the pulls I used, I purchased them on sale but according to Lowes website they will run you about $3.30 each, still not bad price-wise but not necessarily a bargain so try for something cheaper or repaint the existing hardware if you’re working with a tight budget. The baskets I purchased at Michael’s on sale for about $4.00 each. This piece has held up extremely well, I have moved it, bumped it and put drinks without coasters on it and it has proved super durable and easy to clean. COST: ~$35.00


After redoing the $15.00 chest mentioned above, I decided I needed one more small dresser to contain the rest of my shirt overflow (yes, this dresser contains only shirts and not even all of them lol). I was excited to find this dresser for $35.00 at a local thrift store, albeit a little bummed that I wasn’t going to be getting too creative with it since I wanted it to match the other chest in our bedroom. Since my husband said I was getting a little “basket crazy” lol I decided to leave all the drawers in tact on this project. As you can see I just removed the weird metal emblem (if you encounter one of these on your projects just wedge a flathead screw driver underneath and it should pop off fairly easily, then just patch the holes with wood filler) and replaced the pulls. Unfortunately I spend about $25.00 on pulls for this dresser but it was all made worth it when the realtor that was touring our home pointed to the dresser and dead serious said “Pottery Barn right? I think I saw that there.” I was super flattered and he couldn’t believe that I had made it! Like the piece above, I used a flat black paint and General Finishes Clear Gel Stain. This piece has held up great as well. COST: ~$60.00

living2 livingroom


This piece is my favorite redo so far! It is also my Everest lol This beast is over 70 inches long, weighs as much as a car (at least that’s what it feels like lol) and has nine drawers (the same amount of months pregnant I was when I took on this project lol), needless to say this one was quite the project but my hubby helped me a ton so he deserves a lot of the credit :). After we decided to move our TV stand into the nursery I was on the hunt for a new “entertainment center” and by that I mean a dresser whose drawers could house the Xbox, cable modem, DVD player and all the wires. The issue I was faced with was the fact that for the length I was looking for (something that could eventually accommodate a 55″ TV, not the dinky one pictured above), I was only finding dressers that cost upwards of $200.00. After about a month of trolling the local thrift stores and Craigslist postings I came across this gem for $85.00, I was super happy that J trusted my vision on this one because it looked rough lol. As I mentioned before it weighs about as much as a house, it took three guys to load it into my car (which it was too long for, we had to drive with it hanging out the back, haha), and since I couldn’t participate in any of the lifting when we got home my hubby had to just shove it out the back of the car and hope that it didn’t shatter into a million pieces (it didn’t lol). On this particular piece I used “Borough” by Valspar and General Finishes Gel Top Coat (which was a total bitch because in fear of my child coming out with five arms, every time I put on a coat I would have to leave the house for hours because of the fumes lol). If you notice from the pictures, we repainted the original hardware using a Rustoleum black satin spray paint, they are still in good shape and haven’t faded or chipped at all. Lastly, my hubby drilled holes in the back so that all the wires could connect to the electronics inside the drawers while remaining out of sight. This piece has held up great, since P’s arrival I am constantly bumping it with toys and rockers and what have you and it is yet to chip! We feel bad for the movers that will have to transport this beast to our next home, but we love it!!! I almost forgot to mention, this piece came with two hideous mirrors that the thrift store basically forced us to take even though we told them we didn’t want them, check out my easy chalkboard tutorial to see how I turned them into a neat DIY project! COST: ~$95.00




Budget Friendly Tips For Painting Furniture


1. CRAIGSLIST -Check out your local Craigslist ads for furniture! I always hit Craigslist before thrifting because you have more negotiating power with a private party than with a thrift store, especially if the item is on consignment. The dresser I re-did for P’s nursery was a Craigslist find, the guy was asking $85 but I got it for $45! Also, if you’re lucky enough to live in a big city people are always getting rid of furniture for FREE whether it be on the sidewalk or in the “free” section on Craigslist, take advantage of this, I have lots of friends who have furnished full apartments using furniture that was being thrown out!

2. LOOK FOR QUALITY – … Or at least what was quality in the 70s or 80s lol. Go for solid wood pieces, while a laminate dresser at a thrift shop may seem like a great buy at $20 when a solid wood one might be $60, opt for the wood piece – it’s still a great buy and you will end up with a finished product that will last a lot longer and that you’ll love for a lot longer!

3. DO IT WITH A FRIEND –  Try to get some friends together that want to redo some things too! You can save money by sharing supplies and the job is much less tedious with some company and cocktails (limit the cocktails for better results, just sayin lol).

4. PREP WELL & TAKE YOUR TIME – You are most likely to get a good finished product if you take the time to prep your furniture well (sanding or priming) and don’t rush. I find that the key to a good finished product is LOTS of dry time, I allow about 12-24 hours between paint coats.

5. GET CREATIVE – There are so many options for repurposing a single piece of furniture, it’s crazy! Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into an idea, if you find something at a good price and it isn’t quite what you were expecting, try to think of how you could design it to better fit your style, if the drawers are strange looking or damaged maybe add baskets instead or if the pulls are ugly add new ones. Also, do not dismiss things that are dirty or defaced, some of my pieces have had toddler scribble all over them – dirt can be cleaned and writing/scratches will be covered by paint anyway. My favorite piece in my house (and cheapest for the size) I was so unsure about because it was super unique looking (not necessarily in a good way lol) and pretty dirty but I ended up getting three awesome projects out of it!



Redoing furniture on the cheap – my favorite products!





Some of my favorite projects have been my furniture re-dos. I love being able to see the finished product sitting there in my house each day as if to say “oh, hey lady, good morning, remember when you made me for $30? Yea, you’re awesome!” lol. My interest in refurbishing furniture was sparked by our move to our house here in Jacksonville. Up until  then we had been living in a one bedroom condo with little need for much more furniture than the few IKEA pieces we’d purchased when we moved in. Suddenly we found ourselves living in about triple the square footage with our tiny condo’s worth of furniture at hand. Having seen a few things on Pinterest, I figured I’d give these re-dos a try. So I hopped on Lejeune Yard Sales (our local version of Craigslist) and found a few pieces for  a few bucks and an obsession was born, haha.

Now I consider myself a novice furniture re-doer (is that a word? oh, well lol), I won’t say expert because I’m sure there are actually experts out there that will read this and cringe at my use of sub-par products and corner-cutting techniques, which brings me to my next point. My goal from the beginning has been to re-do my pieces on a budget, so I try to use products that are readily available at local home improvement stores at a low price point. Should I ever decide to re-do furniture for resale I would consider more expensive products, however, until that day my ways have worked for me and I’m sticking to ’em! Here are some of my favorite products (in no particular order) that I’ve used on many of my projects and while some are rather obvious, it will be easier to refer to this list when posting individual tutorials.


1. SANDING BLOCKS – I don’t to a ton of sanding on my pieces, just rough them up a bit and try to get any existing varnish dulled down. If you’re just looking to re-do an old piece you purchased for a few bucks or looking to upgrade and existing piece of old furniture, you probably don’t want to invest in an electric sander that you’ll probably use once. I happen to own an electric sander but I HATE that it generates so much dust and I find that sanding by hand has been fine in terms of how well my pieces have held up. These sanding blocks are easy to grip and great for giving a quick sand with even pressure as opposed to regular sheets of sand paper. I usually buy a 6-pack of 100-150 grit at Walmart or Lowes for about $6 (I found a 3-Pack here on Amazon for $7.30), tthese are great because they are reusable so a few will last you a few projects.

2. WOOD FILLER – This won’t be necessary for every piece, but for instance if your dresser comes with some weird metal piece that you’d like to pop off before you paint, this will fill the holes left behind. Additionally if your piece has any damage to it, such as deep cracks, dents in the wood or imperfections that can’t be fixed with sanding, this will do the trick. If you want to get supper crafty and change a two-pull dresser to a single knob just fill in the old holes with wood filler and drill new holes. Once you paint over it you will never know there was a hole or ding! Also, this tube is cheap and will last for many projects (I think I’ve been using the same tube for a year – impressive!!! lol). I usually go with the “natural” color, but it doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it’s paintable.

Carpenter's® Interior Wood Filler Natural -3.25oz

3. GENERAL FINISHES GEL STAIN – This stuff is awesome! It is technically a stain but goes on like paint. I originally used General Finishes which I purchased here on Amazon after seeing a tutorial recommending this particular brand (pictured below is my before and after of the dresser I re-did for P’s nursery and here is the tutorial). That being said I’d like to point out that recently Minwax has started making gel stain available in a variety of colors and is available at local home improvement stores, if you’d prefer to just buy it in-store as opposed to online. I prefer gel stain to regular stain because of the simple fact that it is so easy to work with. Regular stain is messy and requires a LOT of prep work and sanding which I am just too lazy for lol. That aside, I think that the gel stain gives it a more modern look. I also love the gel clear satin top coat (also available here on Amazon), it’s a little pricey but well worth it, when stored correctly a pint will last you MANY projects. NOTE: These GF products are not low VOC meaning that you will require lots of ventilation while doing your projects, no shutting yourself inside your garage for hours on end in the dead of winter, you need mask on, fans going and windows open! That being said breathing the stuff for a bit won’t kill you or but if zero or low VOC or eco-friendly paint is important to you please disregard this product recommendation.

4. FOAM BRUSHES  – Okay this is kind of an obvious one lol but painting furniture with regular paint brushes will leave brush strokes. These foam brushes will put on a nice even coat of paint are easy to work with. Best of all they are SUPER cheap so you can buy a bunch and don’t have to worry about cleaning them in between coats, just chuck it and use a new one when you return to the project later. I have also used 4″ foam rollers designed for painting cabinets but only because I already had them from my cabinet re-do, it wouldn’t really be cost effective to buy a small roller set just for a dresser or what-have-you since you will still end up needing foam brushes for the corners, edges and grooves. Like I was saying, I always keep a ton of these foam brushes on hand since I end up using them on so many crafting projects, I purchase the 2″ ones at either Lowes ($0.79 ea) or Walmart ($0.47 ea).

5. BONDING PRIMER – This product comes in SUPER handy when refinishing laminate or fiberboard furniture. That being said, when possible try to stick to refinishing solid wood furniture, the finished product is much more durable and looks a lot nicer, BUT if you already have something lying around that you want to spruce up or happen to come across something for super cheap like I have, go nuts! Since you can’t sand fake wood, this bonding primer helps whatever paint you use adhere to the piece with minimal chipping (we hope, lol). The brands I use are Zinsser and Kilz but there are tons out there, as long as it is labeled “bonding primer” you’re good to go. Good thing is, you’ll only require one coat of this so a quart will last you a few projects. Check out my tutorial for re-doing laminate pieces here. NOTE: This is also some powerful stuff, it is oil-based so it can be messy and SUPER strong in the fumes department so be sure to keep those windows open! For a few more bucks, I think Lowes now offers an “odorless” version.

KILZ Gallon Interior Oil PrimerZinsser Gallon Interior Oil Primer

6. SAMPLE SIZE LATEX PAINT – If I was listing these in order of favorites, this would be number one. I know that there are tons of tutorials out there using chalk paint and furniture wax and while the finished products are beautiful, I am yet to try it. Latex paint has worked great for me, it’s cheap and I’ve found that as long as you have a solid piece of furniture and/or a good top coat it will be just as durable. I started becoming obsessed with these sample-size paints after I redid the dresser for P’s room using the java gel stain. I ended up using not even an eight of a quart and didn’t plan on using it for any other furniture in the foreseeable future (I’m pretty sure it’s still sitting in my garage and is most likely a solid block by now lol). In the interest of not wasting money like that on my next piece, I went to Lowes and instead of purchasing a quart of paint in my desired color, I had them tint an 8oz sample size (see below). Get ready to have your money-saving mind blow – it cost $2.98 (say whaaaaaaaat?!!?), I thought to myself “why you no think of this soon stooooopid???” haha. The truth is, for a lot of pieces, you’ll find that even with this tiny sample size you’ll have a ton left over. Be sure to keep it, they’re great for other craft projects! NOTE: Unfortunately, these little samples are only available in satin finish which is not ideal for furniture (a flat paint would adhere better), however, my pieces look great and I haven’t experienced any chipping so I guess it’s not that big of a deal.

Valspar 8-oz Cathedral Stone Interior Satin Paint SampleOlympic 8-oz Aqua Smoke Interior Satin Paint SampleValspar 10-oz Radiant Orchid Interior Satin Paint Sample

7. POLYACRYLIC TOP COAT – This is a great top coat, it holds up well but is water-based so it’s a good alternative to a heavy oil-based top coat. I have used this on many of my pieces. If the piece is more for looks and isn’t going to experience a lot of bumps and day-to-day wear and tear (I used this on my chalk board frame and the little make-shift bathroom pedestal), I always opt for this product because it is easier to work with and requires less dry time than the oil based gel top coat. I usually purchase the satin finish because I prefer my pieces not to look super shiny, but if you’re piece is going to be touched and need to be wiped down a lot a gloss finish may be better suited to your project.

8. PLASTIC DROP CLOTHS – Here in NC our weather is not too conducive to painting outside, as most of the seasons have one factor or another that will make it pretty difficult (spring – rain, winter -cold, summer -humid etc.). Since multiple coats and a lot of drying time is required for furniture, the chance of you getting a solid 12-24 hours where there is no rain, the temperature is favorable and there is no wind to blow debris or bugs onto your project is pretty much none, haha. Additionally the fluctuating temperature makes it hard for me to paint in my garage since the temp in the garage is pretty much always the same as it is outdoors. Taking this into consideration I do all of my furniture painting projects in my living room or office on a big plastic drop cloth and even though my house will look like a project-zone for a few days it is well worth the finished product! I prefer plastic to canvas drop clothes because I am always paranoid that spilled paint or stain will seep through the cloth and onto the floor, which would not be the case with plastic. When I am finished I simply take it outside shake it out and fold it up to reuse for my next project!

 12-ft x 9-ft Plastic Drop Cloth


Painting Laminate Furniture Using Latex Paint

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Ah good ‘ol laminate furniture. If you don’t own a piece yourself, surely you’ve heard of IKEA (hello particle board wonderland lol), the stuff is everywhere. It’s primarily loved because it is cheap. To put it into perspective, when we were stationed in Pensacola for a hot second before I discovered the wonder of re-doing furniture, we purchased a new wood bedroom set that cost us over $1,200.00 (I kick myself for this now, but whatever ya live, ya learn), meanwhile we were able to furnish an entire condo for less than that when we did so using particle board/laminate furniture. Problems is, the stuff tends not to last and when it does it starts to look even cheaper than it did when it was originally purchased (if that’s even possible lol). If you’re lucky enough to come across a piece that’s in relatively good shape, you MAY be able to save it with a quick re-do (unfortunately I cannot guarantee it will survive your next move, haha). Lucky for us thrifters out there, since particle board or laminate furniture retails cheap, it’s resale value is next to nothing, and for under $100.00 you can probably snatch up quite a few pieces in one shot. Another benefit to redoing super cheap pieces is that it’s a great opportunity to try out funky colors or unique designs, chances are if you mess up or totally hate the item, you’ll only be out a few bucks and a little time 🙂 Check out the before and after pictures of my laminate redos below to get some ideas. Again, I am sorry to say that I do not have step-by-step pictures for this tutorial but I will try my best to explain in detail.


  • Latex Paint (I use 8oz sample paints available at the paint counter of your local home improvement stores, I talk about them here)
  • Bonding Primer (read my post on favorite products for brand recommendations)
  • Black Foam Brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Clear Top Coat (polyacrylic or gel work great)



  1. First wipe your piece down with a damp cloth and a little dish soap (it is important that your piece is extremely clean, any residue with make it harder for paint to adhere to the piece), then wipe down again with just a damp cloth. Then remove any hardware, to include pulls or other metal pieces. Once piece is clean you are ready to prime.
  2. Bonding primer is some heavy stuff, make sure you open the windows because any oil based paint is going to be rough on the senses lol. Make sure you’re wearing a mask, just those little disposable doctor looking ones will do. Start by painting an even coat onto your piece, it is going to go on super thick and it will look awful, full of brush strokes and uneven, this is fine, this primer is just to help the paint adhere to the piece as well as cover any existing imperfections, you will not see it once the paint goes on. After the piece has been covered in a coat of bonding primer allow it to dry for several hours (generally my rule is to wait 12-24 but for the primer you need not wait so long).
  3. Now you are ready to begin painting. Use a foam brush to carefully apply a coat of paint to your piece. After the first coat is complete allow 12-24 hours before applying the next coat. Aside from a good top coat the key to keeping your piece from chipping is lots of dry time! The amount of coats you will need depends on the color paint you are using, for instance when using black you may only need two, but when using a light color you may need up to four. Since the paint you are using is not oil based, feel free to wash the brush in between coats and reuse it!
  4. After the last coat has dried, using a foam brush apply your first layer of top coat, making sure not to leave too many streaks or bubbles behind. To ensure a good protective coating on your piece, I would do three top coats, allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between. If you are using a water based top coat you can wash the brush in between coats and reuse it,, but the brushes are cheap enough that if you feel like using a different one for each coat the whole project will probably only cost you $3.00 in brushes anyway.
  5. Once your piece is finished replace all hardware, either with new pulls or use spray paint to update the old ones. I like to use Rustoleum brand spray paint in a satin finish.
  6. Bask in your cheap-furniture glory! You are finished and are a money-saving, crafty S.O.B :)!!!




I sought out this piece because I was looking for a small table to act as a sort of entryway table for some dead space in my living room. The piece cost $40.00 and was pretty sturdy, but as you can see was missing some pulls so I purchased new ones from (a great resource for new pulls, just make sure they are the correct size). I used Valspar “Borough” and General Finishes Urethane top coat (also available on Amazon). The piece has held up well, we are constantly bumping into it and placing our keys and other items on it as we walk in the door and it has only gotten maybe a tiny scratch here or there that are not visible. TOTAL COST: ~$55.00


I had wanted a small desk to go in our “shabby chic” style guest room and this seemed like it would be perfect. I purchased it off of Craigslist for $25.00 (while I was there the guy also tried to sell me his house – weird lol). This piece was pretty strange as it is half real wood and half fiber board, so I did end up doing some sanding on this one. Since it was so cheap and wasn’t going in my main living space I decided to try my hand at distressing this one and it came out pretty good, after painting I simply sanded along the various edges and corners. Good thing I distressed this because this piece did not hold up so well, it has a few chips here and there mostly on the top but you would never notice that it wasn’t part of the distressed look. If you notice, I reused the pulls I removed from the project pictured above so that was a big money saver. The color is Valspar “Hazy Dawn” and the top coat is Minwax Polyacrylic.  COST: ~$28.00


Our guest bathroom is a double dose of suck since it has no nearby linen closet and no storage lol. When I came across this weird Aladdin-looking thing for $15.00 at a local thrift store I knew it would be perfect for the bathroom. I simply removed the front piece and added baskets (purchased on sale at Michaels for $6.99 each). Since our bathroom is beach themed I went with “Sea Air” by Valspar for the color and gave it a Minwax Polyacrylic top coat. This piece has held up great, although being that it is in the guest bathroom it does not see too much action so this is not a very good measure of my painting methods, haha. COST: ~$29.00


After my girls threw me the best baby shower in the history of ever, I wound up with TONS of books for my tiny unborn P. I had actually bought this bookcase for $5.00 with the intentions of using it for a different project which didn’t work out, so it had been sitting in the garage for months despite my husbands weekly attempts to let him take it to the dump lol. This thing is flimsy as hell and was pretty gross, but I didn’t care because it was $5.00 lol. For the record, I don’t necessarily expect this to survive our next move, but for now it looks super cute in the nursery and you would never know it was such a piece of junk to begin with. I kind of rushed through this one since I was 8 months pregnant and SUPER excited to get it into the nursery lol, however, it has actually held up pretty well, maybe a scratch here or there but nothing on the exterior that can be seen. I matched the blue in P’s bedding using “Angel Eyes” by Olympic (available at Lowes) for the exterior and to switch it up I used my left over “Borough” by Valspar for the interior. COST: ~$8.00