From Curb to Chic: Side Table Makeover

You may know that doing the Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer is an annual tradition for me. The two-day walk gives lots of time for long talks with my friends. Last year, an old friend asked our group to think about what our “dream job” would be. I already have my dream job, but I took the opportunity to reflect on what an alternate or next career could be… something I love doing, but which is not so practical… the easy answer was that I’d love to refinish old furniture with fresh looks.

It makes me so happy when I can take a piece of furniture with great classic style but a little (or a lot of) wear and turn it into something beautiful and full of personality. I’ll list some of my favorite past projects at the bottom of this post.


Now on to today’s post… It has been a while since I picked this little end table up off the side of the road. My oldest was with me and remarked, “There’s mom being mom” in the affectionate way you talk about a lovable, quirky relative.

While I loved the Chinese/ Chinoiserie style of this little table, I was a bit intimidated by its poor condition. You can’t really appreciate in the picture how water-damaged, chipped, and uneven the wood was. Still, it was sturdy enough, and with my newfound love of gardening and greenery, I thought it would make a great plant stand.

I sanded the table aggressively, used wood glue on one of the legs that was cracked, and then painted it with three coats of white latex enamel (leftover from the interior trim of our house). I didn’t even try to fully even out and fix the surface, letting a lot of the dents and scratches show and add character.

The white paint did a good job brightening up the table and made it look more finished, but it was kind of plain… time for a touch of gold spray paint to cap the legs, and I love the finished product!

Here is my new old table in our living room. I think I’ll probably move it up to my bedroom later, but I’m still experimenting with how to use this handsome accent piece!

If you like this project, check out some of past “fabulous furniture makeovers”:

Wow, that was a longer list than I expected. I guess I have a good start on that next career, when I’m ready!

Happy furniture hunting and painting!

“Jewels”

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Vintage Find: Marble-topped Coffee Table

I think you know by now that I love a great vintage find – what a great way to add character to your home, save money, and keep things out of the landfill.

My latest treasure is a marble-topped coffee table I found on Craigslist. I looked for a few weeks before finding something the right size and style for our space. This table has just enough curves and details to show its history – the seller said, it was his grandmother’s from the 1950s – without being overly ornate or fussy.

Paint and some minor repairs brought this vintage table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

A quick paint job in glossy black gave the base of the table an elegant new look, and there was a small chip in the marble top that I repaired.

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

 

I think our living room is finally complete, so I will post some more pictures of the space soon!

 

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

“Jewels”

Lining Bookshelves: Decorating Inside the Box

I’m always amazed at how easy it is to beautify a bookcase by decorating the back. There are lots of great examples out there of using paint, wallpaper, wrapping paper, or fabric.

In my most recent project, I wanted to add some color and personality to our baby/ toddler’s room. I was thinking of a solid red background for his shelves, but then I lucked out and stumbled upon this fun graphic paper from nineteenseventythree.com. At four dollars a sheet, I was able to cover the entire back of the bookcase for twenty dollars and have some gorgeous paper leftover for cardmaking or another art project. The company is based in Britain, but I found the paper at a local store, Lavish, in Hayes Valley.

Red wrapping paper on bookcase

Graphic red and white wrapping paper lining a nursery bookcase.

For our first’s nursery, I spray-painted the backs of old white Ikea bookcases with blue, masking off some white “stripes” with painter’s tape, and I loved that effect, too. I was able to take the back piece off to paint, which made it a lot easier. I never took a picture of the furniture specifically, so you will have to make do with a baby pic and the shelf in the background.

Blue and white painted bookcase

Blue and white stripes painted on back of nursery bookcase.

I think the nursery projects were my favorite results, but I’ve also experimented downstairs with our living room and kitchen storage. I went through a die-hard Arts and Crafts phase, when we bought a lot of very heavy wood pieces in that style. I still love these bookcases for their classic look and incredible quality, but I wanted to brighten them up for our current decor. I chose Imperial Trellis wallpaper in Silver by Schumacher for its gorgeous classic pattern and the glow of the silver. It’s pricey, but you need so little for a project like this that I bought a single (well, it comes as double, though you can find it sold as a single with a cutting fee) roll for this project and one wall in our powder room, and I will still have some left over. I have to say that the effect was not as dramatic as I hoped, because they are still very dark and heavy, but I think it’s a move in the right direction, and I couldn’t bear to paint or alter the shelves in any other way.

Imperial trellis wallpaper on bookshelf

Imperial trellis wallpaper in silver. (The bookcase styling needs some more work.)

Finally, I also applied some fabric to the back of some glass-front shelves in our kitchen. I got the idea, because I felt that our white bowls, cups, etc. were just “disappearing” visually in the white cabinets, so I wanted to add some color for a backdrop. It was a quick fix using fabric scraps from another project, but I think it’s an improvement!

Fabric lining kitchen cabinet

Green print fabric lining display cabinet in the kitchen.

Mounting tip: In the past, I have used 3M mounting strips of various kinds for attaching fabric or paper to the back of a bookshelf. With the wrapping paper project, I was eager to get started and didn’t have time to run to the store, so I just used blue painter’s tape, and it worked fine. Since the wallpaper came in small sheets, I also used tape on the back to join the pieces as I applied them. If you are using a heavier material – such as fabric or wallpaper – or a material that you want to preserve, the 3M strips are stronger and photo-safe (not that these are photos, but I assume that means they are not acidic, etc.). I definitely wanted the photo-safe for mounting on our Arts and Crafts style bookcases, for example. However, the blue painter’s tape is an easy and inexpensive tool, if you’re in a hurry and hanging something light and not-too-valuable.

More favorite papers:

Stunning temporary wallpaper for your next DIY project!

Tempaper Self-Adhesive Gio Temporary Wallpaper in Silver

Graham & Brown Trippy Wallpaper in Orange

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York Wallcoverings Silhouettes Fretwork Trellis Wallpaper, Mint Green/White

Hope you enjoy making your furniture look outside-the-box by decorating inside it!

“Jewels”

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