Giving furniture new life

In an effort to update my blog more often, I'm going to write about random things I do around here. My big kick lately has been giving furniture a new color -- i LOVE color. Anyone who saw my house in Charleston knows that I'm not afraid to brighten it up. We've muted the tones a little out here in Washington, but still are not afraid of bold color. I am putting up a few pics of items I've recently given a makeover. I keep forgetting to take before pictures, which is a bummer, but I'll get better!

First off, we have these rockers. I looked all over for some cheap rockers, but believe it or not, you can't get them for less than $100 a pop. My neighbor sold me her old ones (2 rockers and a table) for under $100, which I thought was a steal. Not garage sale cheap, mind you, but better than anything I'd seen. Only problem was they were a little beat up and your plain old ugly white. Not nearly cute enough for my front porch! So, a little bit of sanding and a couple of cans of spray paint later, wa-lah! (Is there an official spelling of wa-lah? I feel like it's probably some fancy french word I'm not smart enough to know. Fill me in. Maybe it's voila! I read that word a lot but never knew how to pronounce it. . .okay, off on a tangent, that's for another blog). So, a little gray primer spray paint, then my final color, and here are my rockers. Actually, I had originally picked a more "mauve" color from the store, thinking it matched my trim and laterns. It didn't. Everyone kept saying you couldn't even tell there was a difference, but I'm a little anal (i've come to accept this about myself), so I had to go back and buy the "georgia brick" paint and re-spray. A couple of cushions later, we had a nice little porch.

Now there was the issue of a side table. The aforementioned table I bought with the chairs was too big and box to fit nicely between my rockers. I will get to that piece later. So I found this gem for $4 at a garage sale. I loved the lines of it, but again, it was a boring brown wood. Very smooth surface, clearly an indoor piece. I could have spray painted again, but I wasn't sure if I'd like that thick, finished look. I decided to try my hand at "weathering" furniture for the first time. It was cheap and small, so I figured even if it was terrible, it wasn't that big of a deal. I went at the piece with a hammer and screws first. Very fun. Then I mixed some paint (I just bought one of the small sample jars in the color I wanted) with waters and brushed on. No real pattern, just get it covered. When that dried, I sanded the whole piece down. That really helped with the shabby chic look. After that I added another coat of paint (not watered down this time). Again, I tried to be sloppy. Finally, I finished it off with a coat of polyurethane to give it a shine. I'm pretty happy overall. Admittedly, it's a bit more shabby than chic, but since it's just a porch piece, I think it works!

Back to the table that came with the rockers. I didn't want to get rid of it, and I figured our back yard could use some color. Kept it easy, and simply used a bright blue spray paint with no primer. I didn't really care how great it looked, since it was in the back and wouldn't be scrutinized. We have these two lime green plastic adirondacks that needed a friend, so I threw her in there. My bright backyard makes me happy.

This last piece was the first thing I took on in our new house, and I have to admit -- I'm pretty darn tootin' proud of it. I found this nasty old black workbench in our new basement. REALLY should have take a before picture! It was a little beat up, but again, I liked that shape, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I bought some primer and paint and went at it. First I sanded the whole piece down to try and take off the rough edges and huge scrapes. Then I just threw on a few coats of primer, and finished with a few coats of my white. I removed the old handles, and found the cute blue hardware at Lowe's. I found some cute baskets that fit perfectly in the shelves, and my piece was complete. I love this thing, and literally use it everyday. The baskets give us extra clothes storage, and I used the drawer for all of my random things that might normally accumulate on top of my dresser.

So that's it for now. That's how I took four old pieces of furniture and gave them new life. If you have any questions, let me know. I really know nothing about any of this, but just try things and see what happens. It's really fun! If you don't want to mess up something in your own house, just go grab a piece at a garage sale and see what happens. And I will definitely take "before" pictures from here on out (I just get so excited to get started it escapes me)!


  1. WOW!! I am so impressed!! I would love to have skills like that...but alas, I do not. I love all the pieces and maybe one day I'll get the courage to do something like that myself!

  2. Voila IS the french word you are looking for :)

    LOVE your projects!!!!

  3. Nice work! I have some things I'd like to paint, but I'm so done with this house...maybe when we PCS I'll tackle some projects.