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

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! 🙂

Microwave Stand Re-Do – Using Homemade Chalk Paint


If you’ve read any of my other blog posts I’m sure you can gather that I love re-doing furniture, so naturally I was pretty sad when we downsized to a smaller home last month, as I took this to mean that there would be very few opportunities for me to re-do new pieces without any space to put them. Thankfully I was wrong! Although we did give up some square footage when we moved on base, I am finding that we still have the need for some smaller furniture items to re-purpose as storage/organization pieces, so I will still have plenty of DIY-ing in my future after all.

This particular project was actually born out of necessity, when in the midst of our crazy fast move, I realized that the new house had no microwave! I had forgotten that in our former home, the microwave was a permanent fixture and would not be making the move with us. I figured, no problemo, I’ll just buy the cheapest counter top microwave Walmart has to offer (“Westbend” I hear that’s what the rich people are using these days, right? lol). I did just that, and of course wound up with a defective microwave, so after an annoying second trip back to Walmart which involved having to schlep a giant box and a cranky baby P in 100 degree temperatures, I finally got a microwave that worked. The next problem was, with my new kitchen being fit for a dollhouse, every inch of counter space already taken up. Now I was going to need somewhere to put my super fancy Walmart microwave, lol. 

I started trolling Craigslist for microwave stands and almost immediately found one that looked promising at our local thrift store. When I went to pick it up the following day and the girl showed me to the piece, I was upset to see that it was not what I was expecting at all. Contrary to the picture online, the actual product was about two feet tall and wasn’t real wood, I nicely let her know “ummm, m’am, this is a night stand” lol. Thankfully she showed me something similar that was the correct height, real wood and the same price as the ugly night stand, it even had some extra storage underneath – sweet!

Now, since I know you don’t care about my microwave drama, I’ll get to the actual project, haha. I have always been a huge fan of chalk paint – in theory, but have never actually used it mostly because the good stuff like Annie Sloane is just way too expensive for me and because of my prior successes with re-doing furniture using latex paint, I’ve never felt the need to try out chalk paint. That being said, after two of my crafty friends both re-did pieces using DIY chalk paint, I knew I needed to give it a shot, especially because both of their projects came out beautifully! I figured the microwave stand would be a great trial piece, after all, I’m hoping that when we finally settle down our home will once again have a built in microwave so this piece would just be temporary.

The verdict on DIY chalk paint? AMAZING! Not only is it super cheap to make, it works great and by applying a furniture wax to seal the piece as opposed to a polyacrylic or gel top coat as I normally would, I eliminated a lot of drying/painting time on the tail end of the project. I am so grateful that I tried this out, even more grateful that it came out better than I could have hoped and most grateful to my friends Lisa and Courtney who I texted (and by texted I mean annoyed, lol) the entire time to make sure I was doing it right haha. Here is my tutorial and description of what I did, including the products I used, hopefully this inspires you to try out chalk paint on your next furniture re-do! 


Color is “Farmer’s Market” by Valspar, available at Lowes.



  • Sample Size 8oz container of latex paint – purchased at Lowes for $2.98 each, I used two because I wasn’t sure how much paint I would need for the project. I probably could have gotten away with using just 8 oz, as I did have a lot left over. Check out my post on my favorite products for refinishing furniture on the cheap to hear me rave about these little sample size paints, lol (really though, they’re the best). NOTE: Adding the chalk to the paint tends to lighten the color a bit, so try going a shade darker if you are trying to maintain a particular hue.
  • Calcium Carbonate – Fancy name for powdered chalk, haha. There are several different ways to make your own chalk paint including mixing paint with plaster of paris, but this method is non-toxic and according to my friend who has tried both, the calcium carbonate works best. The ratio is 1 part chalk to two parts paint. I purchased my Calcium Carbonate via Amazon here for about $10.00 with free shipping. 
  • Black Foam Brushes
  • Sanding Block or Sand Paper
  • Black Satin Rustoleum Spray Paint (if repainting the hardware)
  • Wood Filler (if you need to patch any gouges or holes in the wood)
  • Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in “Special Dark”  – purchased via Amazon for about $13.00, this will last you a long time. I chose to use the hard wax because it is easy to apply and once you have buffed the piece it is ready for use, as opposed to a gel or poly top coat which requires multiple coats and lots of dry time. The Minwax paste wax is also available at your local home improvement store in a variety of colors.
  • Rags (for applying and buffing finishing wax)


before picture

  before picture


Step 1: I began by removing all of the doors and hardware from the piece. Since I was going to reuse the hinges and screws I cleaned them off and hit them with a coat of black spray paint and set them aside to dry.


this is a very technical process, lol, I just stuck the screws in an old box so that the spray paint would only get the tops and not coat the threads.

this is a very technical process, lol, I just stuck the screws in an old box so that the spray paint would only get the tops and not coat the threads.

Step 2: I gave each surface of the piece a quick sand. I know people say that when using chalk paint there is no need to sand, but I just thought it couldn’t hurt and because I needed to repair a little damage to the top with some wood filler and would ultimately end up sanding anyway I went ahead and did it. I’m sure if you choose not to sand your piece will turn out fine! 

Step 3: After sanding I wiped the piece down with a wet rag and then a dry one to remove any dust particles. I then applied wood filler to the aforementioned spot of damage and smoothed out using a paint scraper. After the wood filler had dried, I returned to the piece and sanded it flat.

area where some of the wood had chipped off and it was uneven

area where some of the wood had chipped off and it was uneven

where I applied the wood filler before smoothing it out and sanding it down

where I applied the wood filler before smoothing it out and sanding it down

Step 4: Next I mixed my DIY chalk paint by pouring my two containers of latex paint (I used satin finish because sample sizes are only available as such, some people will tell you to use a flat paint when making chalk paint but from my friend’s experience, satin finish works better anyway) into a container along with 8 oz of calcium carbonate and mixing together until all large lumps had dissolved. The stuff is going to be thick like pancake batter but don’t worry, this is what you want! 

Step 5: Paint your piece as you normally would, using even strokes in the direction of the natural wood grain. Unfortunately, although it is said that chalk paint only requires one coat, I found this to be false in my experience, as did my friend Courtney (not sure about Lisa). It may just depend on the original color of the piece you are painting, but as you can see in my pictures, even with the dark red going over the light oak wood, I still required three coats, although I probably could have gotten away with two but I had the extra paint and some areas looked lighter so I figured what the hey? Good news in the multiple coats department is – dry time is significantly less than with non-chalk paint, I was able to return to my piece within a few hours and add a second coat. Pay attention to the humidity in your area though, some people say that you can paint after just one hour of dry time but I was working in my garage in high humidity so I allowed about seven hours.

Step 6: Once your piece has dried, inspect it for lumps or bumpy areas. If there are any just sand them down a bit. Some areas had a little dried white grit from where the chalk didn’t dissolve in my paint, so I just sanded them down and dabbed a tiny bit of paint on the spots. Now you are ready to wax!

Step 7: I chose to use the “special dark” wax because I wanted to add that “antique-y” look to my piece and I also found that in doing this the color of the paint was darkened back to it’s original hue, whereas it looked a lot lighter before wax. Confession: I was too scared to apply the wax myself for fear of ruining the piece, so I made J do it, lol. Use a rag (we used old t-shirts) and begin applying a thin coat of the wax all over your piece making sure to rub it into the grooves and edges. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes then using another rag, buff it out (as if you were waxing a car). The wax dries pretty quickly so if you are doing a very large piece I might suggest working in sections. Also, the wax is potent stuff so I’d recommend either working outside or in a well ventilated area. Once you have buffed your piece you’re finished and your piece is ready to use, just reattach your hardware and you’re good to go!  

hubby in action, applying the wax!

hubby in action, applying the wax!

how we have it set up for now

how we have it set up for now


inside storage area, I didn't paint the inside just the edges, I ran out of painters tape on my last project so I actually used shipping tape haha, worked great! Probably wouldn't recommend it on your walls though!

inside storage area, I didn’t paint the inside just the edges, I ran out of painters tape on my last project so I actually used shipping tape haha, worked great! Probably wouldn’t recommend it on your walls though!

The knobs were purchased at Target of all places! $12.99 for a pack of four, about what you would pay if you purchased knobs individually at Lowes or H.D.

The knobs were purchased at Target of all places! $12.99 for a pack of four, about what you would pay if you purchased knobs individually at Lowes or H.D.


The total cost of this piece was around $50.00 (the original piece being purchased for $35.00 with the addition of paint and new knobs). We are LOVING it, it fits in with our kitchen so well and matches our DIY menu chalkboard that we have displayed in the living room. I am also delighted to report that even with one of baby P’s favorite activities being slamming doors into furniture, it hasn’t even gotten a scratch! 🙂

mischievous squishy baby knocking the door into the furniture, he knows he's being bad look at that little face! haha

mischievous squishy baby knocking the door into the furniture, he knows he’s being bad look at that little face! haha

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