Recently it occurred to me that I’m actually the second or third owner of most of the furniture in my home. In my world, buying something ‘new’ often involves some sanding, polishing, painting and changing of hardware… because the item isn’t new at all, just new to me.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to make a six or seven figure income, owning a home is hard enough without having to dish out big bucks for tumblr-esque interior design. I’ve always gotten around that expense by equipping my space largely with recycled, re-purposed or re-finished treasures.
I don’t know about you, but to me it seems silly to turn your nose up at buying things used, when eventually everything you bought new becomes ‘used’ anyway!
So, I thought I’d share four of my favourite furniture rehab / DIY projects with you guys today. Most of the items I’m about to show you were garage-sale finds. All were used; one was actually stored outdoors under a pile of junk and exposed to the elements (I got that one for free!)
What you’re about to see is just the result of a little vision a few licks of paint and some TLC.
Dated Jewelry Armoire
I didn’t do this one with the blog in mind. I did this one just because… this is what I do. That means that, unfortunately, I don’t have any ‘before’ pictures of this jewelry armoire that I picked up at a steal at a garage sale in Trinidad a few years back.
When I got it it looked old-fashioned and dinky. It had rickety legs and a boring dark wood laminate finish. Some wood glue, a couple quick coats of turquoise paint and it became a lovely, feminine piece that adds a dash of ‘fairy tale’ to my room.
For someone who works (mostly) from home, I move around a lot. Being a digital nomad means I have to be able to work wherever I happen to be in the world. As a result, I’m always trying to make whatever place I’m currently calling ‘home’ into an oasis of peace where I can also be productive.
Needless to say, I can’t buy brand new furniture for every single place I visit in a year. So, I rescued this desk from underneath a pile of greasy junk in someone’s garage and it now lives in my room in Trinidad…
I’ve got to say, this piece needed a WHOLE LOT of love. The garage where it had been stored was covered, but otherwise open to the elements. Between cleaning it, filling in the chips and dings, gluing, sanding, painting… and then re-painting when some weird oily substance started seeping out of the wood, I got a full-body workout!
I didn’t bother to remove the drawer pulls as they’re a little rusty and I plan to change them out one day. Still, I think the result definitely no longer looks like somebody’s trash!
I’m in England most of the year, but I made sure to create an attractive, well-appointed work space that allows my creative juices to flow when I go back to Trinidad… I need pretty things as much as I need my room to be functional enough to double as an office, even if I’m only there for a few weeks each year.
Chest of Drawers
When I first saw it, this little number didn’t have a lot of personality… but it had potential. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The end result is unique, funky, distinctly feminine and NOT IKEA at all!
I sanded this down then applied a primer… which I later regretted because it took DAYS to dry (still not sure why, but I have some suspicions). Then I applied white paint to the body and gold paint to the legs and trim. The gold paint was actually a spray lacquer, believe it or not.
It was a bit of a pain getting straight edges with spray paint… but totally worth it, if you ask me!
The crowning touch is the gold hardware I added. The unit originally had no drawer pulls, but I thought they’d add some femininity to the otherwise plain, unisex piece. I think it worked!
If you want to go the extra mile for a truly unique finish, consider painting the inside of the drawers as well. I love the little pop of colour I get when I open them!
Gin bottle Lamp
I didn’t find out that Gin and Tonic was such a popular drink in the UK until I dated, then married an Englishman. He allegedly bought this bottle of gin specifically because it was pretty and could be used for a DIY…
Yeah… nah… I didn’t believe him either.
Anyway, it’s empty and it’s mine now and soon it will be a lamp! I just need the shade…
I was so proud of the fact that I wired this lamp myself! It wasn’t rocket science though…
You can buy a lamp-making kit pretty easily online. Just get a pretty wine bottle, a shade, a bulb and your lamp kit and you’re set! I plan to do a few more of these to use around the house…
Most people don’t get super excited about pre-loved furniture, but if you’ve been reading the Sunshine Diary for a while, you already know that I’m not most people. I spend an inordinate amount of time trawling the Facebook marketplace, I daydream about garage sales and my heart goes pitty-pat when my husband suggests we go to a boot fair.
In fact, there are very few things in life that I can justifiably say MUST be bought brand new.
Don’t worry, toothbrushes and underwear are among those things!
Having bought a new house last year, I’m in a phase where furniture rehab is pretty much all I do with my spare time. There are still so many projects I’m working on! I absolutely love tasteful, pinterest-worthy home decor, but I won’t pay top dollar for it.
I’ve still got three bedside tables, a shelving unit and a vanity mirror lined up to work on. Keep following the Sunshine Diary if you want to see how it all turns out!