As a mental health provider, I am keenly aware that the mind needs to keep busy during times of global “crazy”. Let’s face it – collectively we all have been wading through nearly three years of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our lives. Everyone has had their own way to deal with stress, especially when we were “sheltering at home”. Some wrote books. Others explored beyond their backyards. My “stress reliever” was to learn how to refinish and refurbish furniture. So, with some paints and brushes that we had at home and a few extra cans I acquired from my local ACE Hardware store (double-masked, of course) – I started to de-stress with every paint stroke.
At first, I made hubby and me a small cabinet for cans to hold the endless amounts of plastic containers we accrued from take-out. Then I moved on to “estate sale finds” that I repainted and made space for in our home. A turn of events happened when neighbors would stop by asking me if they could purchase the piece I was working on.
This last week I gifted a little table to a hard-working woman who always helps me out at the local Goodwill. Now that stores are reopened and we are “free” to move about I find myself wandering the aisles looking for a few fun pieces.
This table below is a Goodwill find and it intrigued me. Small enough to be a desk, large enough to be a dining room table. I had to have it. So, for a mere $60 I took this home and started to work. My first vision was to make it all white-washed. I started to get rid of the old finish, sanding, and scrubbing. And then applied the white wash to it. Nope. I just didn’t like the effect. I then went and bought some grey wood stain. Nope. Didn’t love that either. Back to the store I went and this time I came home with a dark espresso stain for the base. Then I opened a can of soft blue paint. I discovered that “DIY accidents” sometimes happen with the best results as I dipped my grey-stained paintbrush into the bucket with my light blue paint. FINALLY, a color combo that seemed to work. Next step… I placed some flower furniture transfers on the leaves of the table. I didn’t even notice the leaves until I got the piece home. Below are photos of the steps from “love at first sight” to the finished product.
It is all about looking unique!
I have figured out in a short amount of time that people want unique pieces of furniture. “Statement” pieces. And, during these difficult times where stores can take months to deliver, people really are finding different avenues for their decorating needs. These few pieces – again from Goodwill, ReStore by Habitat for Humanity, Beacon House in Long Beach, and your neighborhood estate and yard sales finds – all flew out of my garage. Some before I could even put the finishing touches on them.
Let’s talk “embellishments”…
I have found that people like the little “extras” when I redo a piece of furniture. The furniture rub-on/in transfers (found on Etsy, for example) are super popular.
Next is the type of handles or drawer pulls you use. The one I have on the left and right side pieces is a sea turtle in a shabby chic motif.
Color is important, too. I use almost exclusively Benjamin Moore paint. I know that a lot of people love chalk or special order paints. I buy high-quality paints that last. Popular colors seem to be shades of teal, light sage greens, dark purple, greys, and basic cream. Using more than one color can lead to a dramatic effect.
Don’t forget that kid furniture is fun, too!
I LOVE creating fun furniture for kids! Especially if I can add an “educational lesson” to it, too!
How can something so labor-intensive be relaxing and help to lower stress?
I am not a runner. I don’t even like to run. But, I do like to give myself challenges, and learning to refinish furniture and play with power tools was exactly what I needed to do to help muddle through a pandemic. And guess what, I decided to keep it up even after the pandemic settles – although from the looks of things I may have dozens more pieces of furniture ahead of me.
I also decided to expand. Why stick with just furniture. I can make smaller items that will help channel some creativity differently.
So, I started decorating boxes, picture frames, and just about anything that can be morphed into art and/or a gift. Here are some of the early designs. Oh – in case you haven’t figured it out – blues and purples are my fave colors.
You are never too old…
Perhaps the lesson to be learned here – you are never too old to try something new. It may at first seem impossible … but you will never know until you try. For me, “challenge accepted!”
You can find many of the products used on my designs via ETSY. Links below:*
* I am not a brand ambassador for these stores at the time of writing this blog.