Do you have furniture in your own home that has seen better days? Maybe it doesn't work with your current decor. Have you been furniture surfing on Facebook Marketplace and just not finding what you're needing? Maybe the fabric is wrong, or the paint is chipped. Maybe you realize that much of today's furniture is not the same quality it used to be. Or maybe you feel a sense of stewardship and would rather re-envision, but need a little creative nudge.
One of my favorite things to do in my own home is to source furnishings cast off by others
and make them over into something totally new. For me, I love the creative energy it requires and the fact that I have a totally unique, one-of-a-kind piece!
Being a great parent, I made sure to embarrass my kids. "Shopping" curbside on trash day in the better neighborhoods was like a treasure hunt! But now, we have so many other resources, such as Facebook Marketplace, EBTH.com, and Craigslist.
The chaise in the first photo was found in an Appleton, Wisconsin, antique store about 8 years ago. I paid more than I hoped, given it's condition, but I knew it had the potential to be a stand out piece. It had been a DIY reupholster with a green and gold mock baroque fabric probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It was poorly upholstered and the cushions had not been refreshed. $200 was plenty to pay for it. A few years passed, we moved into a different home in a different city, and I finally had a place to property place the chaise - but it HAD to be professionally reupholstered. The fun, new coral leopard print fabric came from Lots-O-Fabric in Waynesville, Ohio, and the professional reupholstery work was done by A to Z Upholstery, who also added new and additional padding. Now, it has a place of honor, in our living room in Perrysburg, Ohio, still sporting the coral leopard.
And see that orange chair? There is a pair of them,
one on each side of that lamp, that were purchased about 4 years ago for $45 from a small consignment shop in Clintonville, Ohio. While the original burgundy fabric was in good condition, it was pretty outdated. No problem! Back to Lots-0-Fabric and A to Z Upholstery! I specified less buttons and no skirt, then picked this fun faux bois hot pink and orange polka dot fabric - totally fresh!
Sometimes though, the piece needs a different type of makeover - and a smaller budget. For this master bath makeover in a historic home in Dayton, Ohio, we were able to save a significant amount of money by reworking the existing vanity to replicate a $7,000 vanity found at Restoration Hardware. After being removed from the room, legs were added to raise it to a more desirable 36" inches, decorative trim was added, doors were removed, drawers were added, and it was painted in a distressed finish with Annie Sloan paint. To finish, new hardware was selected to complete the vintage feel, and a modern touch was added with a beautiful granite top and nickel faucets. Additional storage and drama was brought to the small space with a custom hutch between the sinks. What do you think of this budget makeover?
My dining room has only ONE new piece of furniture - the Thomasville dining table. I scored big time with the bamboo and cane dining chairs, winning with a bid of $35 for ALL FOUR on EBTH. I knew when I purchased them I would repaint and reupholster them, it just took me a while to decide what color fabric! The captain's chairs at each end of the table came from a second hand store in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, called Experienced Possessions, a favorite spot of mine for more than 20 years. Sale price for the pair? $75. I had the cushions made by Al's Upholstery in Toledo at the same time I had the seats reupholstered for the bamboo chairs.
The china cabinet is another score from EBTH, won with a bid of $150. The only current update to that piece is the new coral gloss paint inside.
The vibrant green table is a favorite on social media. A $100 Target item that began its life black, before going to cream, and now Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac, it takes pride of place, being seen as soon as you open our front door. The table has moved 4 times with us, is 16 years old, and is living its best life.
Last but definitely not least, this ugly buffet was a powerhouse of function and a real steal at $50 from a Washington Township, Ohio, garage sale. This piece received the grand treatment - Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac truly made this a skid row beauty makeover of the highest caliber! New lucite and polished brass pulls are beautiful, but I didn't stop there. Take a little peek inside!
Green velvet lines the bottoms of drawers and green gloss reflects light inside the cabinets. But the most over-the-top change? Definitely adding the Thibaut wallpaper to the drawer sides is the show stopper! I'd hate to think what a piece like this would cost new, if you could even find it. I'm pretty sure more than the $200 or less I have in it.
Sometimes I get really crazy ideas. For instance, when I purchased this armoire on Facebook Marketplace for $100 and decided to use silver leaf and cover the entire piece. It wasn't hard, but it was time consuming and a bit messy. I gave it an undercoat of navy blue, then laid
each 5" x 5" sheet of silver leaf covering inside, outside, and even the hardware. I have less than $200 in it now, but I think it's definitely a statement piece!
Another Facebook find through a local Buy Sell Trade group! At one time this heirloom table was a real beauty with its tortoise shell finish, but its best days were long gone. I needed an inexpensive kitchen table for our new home and this shape and size fit the bill perfectly - except for the condition. This was my first experience with Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac and I've never looked back! $50 table + $50 in paint and primer = 1 gorgeous table!
I've had these chairs for several years now and
they're about due for another update, but I still love their look! When I received them from Ebay, they had been someone else's bad DIY project. I had them painted ivory and reupholstered with this aqua on the front and a coordinating stripe on the back, then had silver nailhead trim added. When I gave the instructions to the upholsterer, he was very skeptical, but when he delivered he said they were the most beautiful chairs he'd ever worked on.
I have so many projects I've done like these, I think I could write a book! If I've not inspired you to re-envision skid row furniture (or if you want to see more), I encourage you to checkout these creative re-envisioneers!
Do you have a piece you'd like to re-envision but need a little help? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.