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Decorating On a Budget: Revamping Old Furniture

So you’re looking around your place and it seems to have developed dark under eye circles, it’s so tired. Or maybe your budget is fasting and you’re saving your calories for essential things only. Maybe you’re thinking of the environment and how our rampant consumerism is destroying the planet. Maybe you just love creative projects and you’re looking for the next one.

There are lots of reasons why you may choose to create a custom furniture piece from secondhand finds instead of buying something shiny and new. Personally, I’ve refurbished for all of these reasons for many years, and I’d like to pass along a bit of inspiration for those you who are low on funds, eco-conscious, creative, or all of the above.

Don’t underestimate the treasures to be found on bulk trash day. While driving through my neighborhood one morning, I found this hideous outdoor table out on the swell waiting for the trash heap.

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As you can see, it doesn’t look like much. It was actually a little embarrassing lifting this filthy thing into my car.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

But when it comes to refurbishing, you have to dismiss everything that you’ve learned about what has value. Look beyond the dirt and you’ll see a very classic and cool shape with lots of potential.

This table is made of fiberglass which makes it great for outdoors, but I wanted to create a look that could work inside or out. So, I decided to keep the base white and add some color to the top.

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A coat of high gloss white spray paint and you can see the difference already. A few months back when I worked on this project, I was going through a phase where a very particular shade of yellow had captured my heart and I used it on everything.

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When spray painting, be sure to start spraying just off of the furniture to avoid thick pools of paint at the starting point. And although it takes more time, aim for multiple thin layers of paint instead of trying to finish with one or two coats. This way you’ll avoid streaks, drips, and uneven coverage. Just have something else to do to occupy the time it takes to dry and walk away.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

Outside it becomes a cute little table for morning coffee or afternoon tea.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

Indoors it becomes a furniture piece that no one else will have. I love having pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. Now let’s just say that this piece was just too ugly to see the light of day. Are there any solutions?

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

Because I already had a coffee table and just felt like getting my hands on a project, I sold this piece to a woman who loved the color and was actually designing her new apartment around the color yellow. And I can promise you that she got this piece from me for much less than she would have found it in a store.

This next piece I found at a thrift store for $5. It was an awful dingy off-white, beige-ish color, and I honestly wasn’t sure what it had been used for. But I had more yellow paint, so on it went. I liked the potential for practical use and the old-fashioned lattice work on the sides.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

There’s no reason why painter’s tape can’t be reused over and over again. So long as it can still adhere, I just peel it off of my projects and wrap it around the roll again.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

There’s no shame in doing what’s best for your budget and the environment.

I decided to keep some white on this piece to highlight the details and keep it fresh. I like to think of it as grandma chic. What do you think?

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

It took a bit more effort to ensure that the white paint wasn’t spraying onto the yellow and vice versa, but I think it was worth the effort. I mainly used a piece of cardboard box to work as a protective shield for the parts that were already painted and dry.

iwannabealady.com diy home improvement refurbish old furniture

With simple projects that only require paint, you can make them as easy or complex as you’d like. Some other ideas for this piece could be to Modge Podge pretty paper on the shelves, or attach hooks underneath the top shelf to hang wine glasses for a bar cart. You get the idea.

Here’s one more project that only required paint. Please excuse the sucky picture quality.

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This mirror and shelf started out a brassy, gaudy gold color. The sort of thing you saw in your immigrant aunt’s house. The same house with the plastic covered furniture. Some of you know what I’m talking about. A fresh coat of paint has given it new life, and a better station in life, right next to my from door.

The lesson: Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to spend a lot of money, or any money, to make your home nicer. Many of you probably already have paint in the house and own stuff that would look a lot more interesting if you just refreshed it. Don’t forget to check out secondhand stores. Look past the griminess of a piece and focus on the lines and design. And the next time that your neighborhood is having bulk trash pickup, hop into your car and have a drive around.

Tip: If you’re too embarrassed to pull up in people’s yards and start loaded their discards, go out the night before pickup when it’s nice and dark. But at the end of the day, don’t let a temporary feeling get in the way of you creating something beautiful for your home. You can do it! Get out there, ladies.

How do you feel about refurbishing old furniture? Have you dabbled? Are you a pro? If not, what’s holding you back?

Don’t forget to find me on the other side! Instagram I Twitter I Pinterest

My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?


19 thoughts on “Decorating On a Budget: Revamping Old Furniture

  1. A refurbisher after my own heart! I love to take old pieces and make them new again. My favorite piece I’ve done would be an old desk that I turned into my vanity. I painted it a light blue and scuffed up the edges to give it a more distressed look and paired it with a stunning mirror. I use it everyday to do my makeup and I’m still so in love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello comrade! I love distressed pieces. A light blue distressed makes me think French country and romantic. It’s great that you get to use it everyday and you’re still in love with it. That’s one of the nice things about refurbishing is we can make a piece just what we want it to be which adds so much value. Have you got any projects in the works?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actively, no. Since it’s cold where I am and I do most of my projects in the garage, I am on hiatus until it warms up. But when that finally happens, I have a book shelf that I will be refurbishing to match the desk I recently redid (and blogged about), and an old dress that I will be converting into a tv console. And then some smaller stuff like a painting/staining a coffee table, my dinning table and some night stands, and eventually building an eating nook for the kitchen.


  2. Gosh, Rui and I keep talking about this project and that project and it never happens. We really want to get into it. We love refurbished furniture. We’re cheapskates, I care about the environment and love second hand stuff. We’ve been talking about making a guest bed for our guest bedroom off of pallets. People seem to be using them for all sorts of projects these days. Have you checked it on Pinterest?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! I’ve seen them made and habe considered one for myself. I like the minimal look, but I also keep most of my shoes under my bed, so it’d have to be on pillars. You guys should set aside a weekend next month just for that purpose and collect some in the meantime.

      I know what it’s like though. There’s always projects I talk about but never get to, or start and don’t finish. Little by little though. Maybe start with something small to get that sense of accomplishment 😊


  3. Ha! I know exactly what you mean about the furniture. I am not opposed to getting people’s junk. I feel it’s a great way keep items out of landfill. I do not, however, have your knack at making it better so i am the placer and hope that people like you will use it again.

    Liked by 1 person

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