First Finished Project of 2018 – Painted Antique Buffet

You may remember from a December post that I created this Christmas coffee bar on my antique buffet.   I purchased the buffet off Craigslist in the Fall and had plans to paint it but with the holidays I knew I couldn’t get it done until a later time.

Although I like antique wood and don’t always paint it, this piece just begged for a fresh coat.

Last week I decided it was finally time to tackle the project.  I lightly sanded a few spots on the top that were a little bubbled.  As we all know, an antique will always have some flaws and not be perfect.  I view that as part of the charm of an old piece.  They don’t have to be perfect!

The buffet originally had a “back board” on it that I didn’t want on there so it had three holes on the top that I needed to fill in before priming it.  I only had spackle so I tried that.  Not a great idea.  I finally went to Lowes and actually bought wood filler and filled it in more.  Then I sanded each hole to a smooth finish.

The next step was to prime it with a primer so the paint will adhere.  I’ve used a lot of chalk paint lately but I decided to use regular latex paint on these piece.  I used a brush to get around all the grooves and corners first and then rolled large areas like the top with a small foam roller.  I use this piece to store all my teacups and since I wasn’t painting the inside I just left them in there.

It took about three coats of paint to cover all that dark wood!

For the final step, I sealed it with Polycrylic in a matte finish when ended up being more like a satin finish.


The hardware was a antique brass color and I wanted it to be more dark bronze so they all got a fresh coat of dark bronze spray paint to give it this look below.  Miraculously, I had saved a bunch of old keys from my yardsaling hunts and one of them actually fit and locks the side doors.

I also lightly distressed the edges with sandpaper to give it a an old worn look.

 I really love the new look and how it brightened up my kitchen area.

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I Can’t Resist an Antique Nightstand

While shopping at a local thrift store for a small coffee table, I found this little antique nightstand for $8 and just couldn’t resist buying it.  Although I don’t paint too many items to sell anymore, I just had to bring it home for that price.  I thought that maybe I could find a place for it somewhere in my house.   It also had the original glass knobs which I had removed already before I took this photo.

I loved the curved front drawer and the interesting “feet” on the front of the nightstand.

It did have some water rings on the top so I decide to chalk paint it.

Here is the result after several coats of chalk paint.  It was ready for purchase.  I posted it on Craigslist and some Facebook sites to sell and it sold quickly for a nice profit.  Interestingly, the person who bought it was going to paint it an off-white instead of the bright white that I had painted it.  Oh well, that’s what happens sometimes.  I hope the new owner enjoys it for many years!


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From Bombay to “Fixer Upper”

From time to time I find just the right thing I’m looking for.  This summer I found a pair of matching Bombay dark wood nightstands on a Facebook selling site in our area for only $40/both.  Finding solid wood nightstands for that price was a steal!  I had been searching for some nightstands for some family and these two Bombay nightstands were just the right height and size for their “Fixer Upper” style master bedroom which I was helping to decorate.  Keep in mind that no matter what the color of a piece of furniture is, it can always be changed to something else.  Don’t let any color keep you from buying it.

I forgot to take a before photo so this is one of them while I was taking out the drawers to paint them.  The wood is very dark and the pieces are actually from the Bombay store (if you remember that store that used to be around).

They also have this cool pull-out shelf at the top.  What the heck is that for anyway?

After removing all the drawers and hardware, I washed it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

I bought some white chalk paint from Home Depot and started the painting with a brush.  Here is what it looks like with just one coat of chalk paint.  I found Home Depot’s chalk paint a little harder to paint with than Lowe’s paint.  However, they now seem to have the same paint which I was not happy about.  Lowes had a very nice paint this summer that was a lot more “chalky” and painted on easier.  Now their paints seem to be very similar and I miss the former mix.   This piece actually ended up taking about 4-5 coats to cover up the dark wood.  You have to be patient and determined when you are changing something this dark to white!  Just stay at it!

I sanded with a fine grit sanding block in between coats (well, after most of the coats) and got off the dust each time to get a smoother finish. I actually used my vacuum hose with an upholstery brush to get off the sanding dust.  I also lightly sanded the edges for a distressed look.  I dry-brushed the hardware as well to cover some of the brassy finish.

Then I coated it with my favorite Polyacrylic clear coat to protect the paint job.

The room is coming together and these two nightstands were the perfect size to fit in this master bedroom.

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Painting and Waxing Over Painted Furniture

One of my standard rules as a furniture recycler is that I really only want to touch (paint) a piece of furniture once.  I usually put too much work into it the first time that I do not want to think about changing it another time.  However, I do get asked, “Can you repaint a piece of furniture that you have already painted?”  The answer is yes!   I have done it to several pieces, but I usually do it “kicking and screaming.”  I try to not do this much but sometimes it is just easier than trying to find something new, especially if  it is a solid piece you love.

You may remember a previous blog that I did on this wood yard sale coffee table that went from medium brown wood to white which made it look “shabby chic French” style with distressed areas.

The coffee table was white for several years and worked pretty well in the space.  However, recently I spotted a couch on a local Swip Swap sale site that I purchased and put in my family room to replace my other dark leather couch and it is a cream color. I fell in love with it and had been looking for this type of sofa for a while now.

When I put the two pieces together, something just wasn’t right.  Everything in that room was a vanilla color with no contrasting colors.  I now needed to get the table to contrast but still work in that room at least until I find something else I like better.  I started by taking some dark brown paint and dry brushing some strokes on the top (photo below.). It just wasn’t looking right and still had too much of a white background.  I knew I needed to make it darker to work with the new couch.

I found this dark wax in my garage that I had bought at Lowes and had never really used it on anything.  At one point I must have bought it for a project I had but never used it.  I also pulled out my Polycrylic to put on as a seal coat to protect it when it was the way I wanted it.

I took the brush and started very lightly brushing on the dark wax and wiping it lengthwise with a clean cloth which made some interesting stroke marks.  This was going to be totally experimental for me and I didn’t know what I was doing not having used this type of wax before.  This was a tedious, but necessary job to get the look I was wanting.  I stopped a couple of times just to give myself a break and come back to it for another look.  I liked where this was going!  The color it was becoming was exactly what I wanted.  It had a brown tint but I still wanted some lighter areas showing through.  I started rubbing the wax on the sides and legs with just the rag and it worked great.  After I had finished the look I wanted, I let it try for about an hour.  I then put two coats of polycyclic on with a brush to protect it letting it dry fully in between coats.  The thing to remember with the dark wax is to just apply it and wipe it off right away.  Don’t worry too much about getting things perfect.  It’s not supposed to look perfect.  It is supposed to look blotchy, worn and old.  I finished it in one day so it really did not take long at all.

I think it turned out sort of in a Restoration Hardware look.

I just love the carved detail in this piece of furniture.

Here is the final outcome.  I will definitely use that can of dark wax again on another piece.  The table contrasts and blends in so well now with the new cream couch and I am so happy I was able to give this table a new look and keep it.


Sunrise photo taken from our balcony on vacation this summer.
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Yard Sale Ornate Mirror Makeover

As an avid yard sale shopper, I look for unique things that I can envision fitting into a space in my home and sometimes other people’s homes.  This large, ornate gold mirror was one of those things I almost passed on but then decided that for $20 it was too great and took it home.  The frame was PLASTIC!  But then, who cares??  It’s pretty!  Of course, if you have been following me at all since I started this blog, you will know that I paint a lot!  Most items will get a new look with just a little white paint.

I looked around my house and couldn’t find a spot to put this mirror but at the time I got it, my son and his wife were purchasing a new home and I knew the perfect spot for it.  Out comes the white paint from the stash in the garage and the transformation begins.

First, I completely covered the frame with a couple coats of satin white paint from Lowes.  You could use any color but I’m in a white mode right now.  Then after it was dry, I took a small piece of sandpaper and lightly “distressed” some of the detail.  This gives it just more of worn, older look and allows some of the gold to show through as in the photo below.

When I was finished, I brought the mirror over and hung it in their dining room.  It was the perfect place and reflects the light and crystals in the chandelier.

Don’t you just love their elegant French Chic dining room?!!

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Creating Distressed Shabby Chic Treasures

Any piece of wood furniture can be painted and distressed into a gorgeous shabby chic treasure.  The more detail it has the better it will turn out.  I recently saw this solid wood table at our local Goodwill store for $39 plus tax.  I contemplated walking away as I knew I would have to take a paintbrush to it and turn it white.  The other thing was that I don’t have a place to put it in my house.  Painting something with all the other projects I have to do just didn’t seem like a good idea but I just couldn’t walk away without it.  It was just a treasure for $39.

So here it is getting a coat of Kilz primer.  I had to do most of this piece with a brush since it had so much detail.  I used a sponge roller on the top only.  

After the primer was dry, I ended up doing about 4 coats of white latex paint!  This dark brown wood is very hard to cover, but I was persistent and here it is all white.  The detailing on this piece is so beautiful and I love how the white freshens it up!

The next step is distressing.  Simply take a 100 grit piece of sandpaper and lightly sand until some of the paint starts coming off the embossed areas.  You can sand any area that sticks out and would show wear if it was actually an old piece.  This technique works perfect on a dark wood piece because the dark wood peeks through just like it is supposed to.




Last, I put on a coat of Polyacrylic with a brush to seal and protect the paint job.  What do you think?

This cute piece will go over to my my daughter-in-law and son’s place and will be perfect next to their front door.

Here is it pictured a house by the front door at their house.  SO CUTE!  It’s Practically Palm Beach!

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How to Paint Upholstered Furniture

How many times have you passed on buying a piece of vintage furniture because you really hated the fabric on it and didn’t have the money to pay for someone to reupholster it?  I used to until I discovered that almost anything can be painted if you are willing to put in some time.  I would warn that it is very difficult to paint over a textured fabric such as velveteen or very “nubby” type fabrics.  Believe me I’ve tried and failed doing this.  However, if the piece is a simple cotton or a non-textured fabric, it can be done and look quite nice.

I read a lot about doing this on Pinterest before attempting it.  There are several different ways of painting the fabric.  This post will just show one chair that I have painted.  This chair was purchased at a yard sale for $3 and had what I call “good bones” so I thought I’d experiment with it.  If I tried and failed, it could go out with the bulk pick up with the garbage.

This is how the piece looked before I started painting the fabric.  I am definitely not in love with this weird striped fabric that doesn’t even work with a tufted back.  The chair was otherwise in perfect condition and very sturdy.  Even the caning was perfect on the sides.

The first thing I did was chalk paint the wooden frame and the caning with a light taupe/gray chalk paint from Michaels.  After that was dry I took a spray bottle and filled it with water and sprayed the fabric to wet it a little.  Pinterest told me to do this before the first coat so I followed their instructions!  It is supposed to help the paint soak in and adhere to the fabric.  I am not really sure that was needed after I did it.  Then I started chalk painting the fabric with a white chalk paint that I already had in my stash.  The first couple layers didn’t cover too well so I knew it was going to take many coats to cover this lovely blue striped fabric, especially since I was going white.


You have to lightly sand the fabric after each coat of chalk paint to keep the fabric from getting too stiff.  It still won’t be super soft but should still feel like fabric if done right.

Truthfully, I thought I was going to end up throwing the chair away as I was just tired of putting coat after coat on and sanding but I kept going.  In the end I even switched to straight latex paint for the final 2 coats.  Because I did that to speed up the coverage, the seat ended up being almost “leather-like” but even that is better than the original and I think it turned out real cute.


I wouldn’t say this is my favorite repurpose makeover, but this is a room that doesn’t get a lot of use so the chair works for now and looks good.  Time will tell on the “wear” to see if it holds up.  Next time you see something you like but you don’t like the fabric, give it a try!   You might be able to make it Practically Palm Beach style.

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Creating a French Look with Thrift Store Chairs

Right now I am loving the French style of decorating for my home.  Maybe it’s a phase, but I have been in it for quite a while.  It’s classic and classy.  For the past year I have been searching for different dining room chairs in that style.   The real problem was I had perfectly fine dark wood chairs already, but ever since I fell in love with this particular style, the dark brown dining chairs I had just did not seem to work with that French style I wanted.  My chairs in the photo below were purchased from a local Havertys with a dark expresso square table when we first moved into the house. I decided that I really only needed six chairs and started my hunt even more seriously at the beginning of 2017.

I searched on-line for six cute French style dining chairs in this rounded back style for quite some time, but was determined to find some used ones instead of spending a lot of money.  The thrifty part of me could not spend $1200 for six new chairs from that I found.   After all, I already had eight perfectly functional chairs to go with my round dining table I had found at a thrift store for only $10!  (Another one of my fantastic finds.)

Restoration Hardware Chair $419 and up!

The chair pictured above from Restoration Hardware starts at $419 for one chair!  I can tell you this “thrifty girl” can’t do that price.  So the hunt was on!

Homegoods Chair $129

I scoped Homegoods and TJ Maxx but they never had six of the same style chairs in the store – – AND they were still $129 each which was beyond my thrifty budget.  I even diligently searched Craigslist every day for something similar that I could paint or fix and just wasn’t having any success finding French chairs.

Then one day early in 2017 I remembered it was 25% off day at my favorite thrift store and decided to take the 30 minute drive there.  I wandered through the store looking inside and outside. After almost giving up and heading to the car, I decided to take one more look inside and there they were.  Six chairs in the exact same style I was looking for!  I couldn’t believe it.  I noticed the price was $199 for the six chairs plus an ugly glass table that was just randomly paired with them. With the 25% discount, I decided this was too perfect.  Score!  These chairs were going home with me as they were the perfect style.  I knew they had possibilities and were sturdy and in good condition.  The glass table however was donated back to the store and left there.

Thrift Store – Good Bones!

Now we had to find a way to get these home since we figured not all of them would fit into our SUV that already had the side chair I also just found there (see photo below).  It also had great “bones” and it was only $45 so I had to get it.  I will probably do a makeover on this one eventually but now back to the dining chairs.

We planned to come back with two SUVs and pick it all up but then decided – – let’s just strap them to the top.  Why not? That’s what that rack was put on the top for right? Here is the guy helping us load everything up.  I had to get over feeling like “Sanford and Son” a long time ago with all the furniture I have lugged home on the top of my car over the years.

Tying down the hatch!
Had to put a couple on top of the car too!

Although the style of the chairs were perfect, I had plans to change the color just a bit.  I couldn’t be more excited about how they changed the style of my dining room and only cost me what almost one chair would have cost me.  Here is how they looked when I got them in the door and put them around my table.  It was instantly French and much lighter in the dining room!  Some may say it was a lucky find, but I say I was blessed because they were so perfect.

Just home from the thrift store

I loved the new look but the color of the frame was a little too “light oak” for me and did not match the top of my faux-painted tabletop.  Brushing on a basecoat of gray chalk paint was the first step.  This just happened to be a color that I had used on some other furniture I had painted so I just used it as the base color to give it more of a gray tone.  Lowes mixes any color you want in their version of chalk paint so you can do any color you like.

After it was dry, I then took some white latex paint I already had in the garage and “dry-brushed” it on to create an old worn look.  I also painted the caning on the back to change the yellow to more of a white color (on left in photo).  Next I sealed the wood parts with my Polycrylic sealer and a paintbrush.

Notice how much whiter the back is after painting over the yellow.

I decided to leave the fabric on the seats for now because it was a nice light neutral color.

The chair on the left is before chalk painting and the one on right is after the process.

Before and After


I sold the eight dark chairs on-line and actually the new chairs didn’t cost me anything in the end.  I even had money left over after selling them.  The perfectionist in me knows I will someday lighten the outside edge of the chair backs and legs even more to make them more white and cover even more of the gray but I love the chairs and the new lighter French look.

Another project done!  It’s sea and sand time again.




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Adding Bright Colors to Vintage Furniture

A trendy way to repurpose old furniture is to add a bright pop of color to any vintage furniture piece.  People seem to like adding at least one colorful piece to a room that makes a statement, especially in south Florida. I find most of my furniture and accessories at yard sale or thrift stores and then dive in making it new, fun and interesting with lots of different colors.  I use a satin latex paint on most of the items I paint. Using the original vintage hardware, but spray painting it updates their look.  Depending on the actual piece, painting with a small sponge roller is the easiest way to paint the bright colors on.  It can take up to three coats to get the brightest hue.  I use a good quality brush for hitting the details or hard to reach places.  Here are just a few examples of pieces that were painted over the past few years to create some new great looks.  Every room can use a pop of color!

BEFORE – Great bones, but boring!
AFTER – Bright Pink pops!


This dresser was painted with Coral Cables latex paint.


Fuscia Nightstand


Turquoise Dresser


Coral Nightstand


Light Blue Dresser/Console

Using red spray paint, this otherwise ugly brown rocking chair became a beauty.

Red Rocking Chair


Turquoise Nightstand


Mid-Century Coral Nightstand


Tiffany Blue Dresser

These pieces below were special-ordered in a beautiful pink for a customer from the west coast of Florida.

Bubblegum Pink Dresser & Nightstand


Turquoise Side Table
Bright Coral Bench
Tiffany Blue Nightstand
Turquoise Antique Chest
Coral End Table
Bright Pink End Table

I sold all of these pieces on Craigslist or my Practically Palm Beach Facebook page but it was really fun painting bright colors on otherwise boring furniture.  If you want to make a bold statement in any room pick your favorite pop of color and start painting!


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Repurposing Decorative Frames

Practically Palm Beach was specifically created to show you how to save money decorating your home and to share money-saving tips in general.  This post will focus on how to repurpose a beautiful frame you may already have.  If you are like me, you have a couple saved in the garage that you just could not part with.

Below is a framed oil painting that I bought at a yard sale in our neighborhood several years ago for only $25.  It is a very large frame measuring 48″ x 36″ on the inside.  The frame was originally painted gold and it didn’t quite fit into my style at the time so I painted it black and rubbed a little silver rub on the edges.

Large Framed Artwork Piece

I always loved the large ornate frame, but after several years I just didn’t want the painting any more.  I sold the painting at my yard sale, but kept the super large frame.  If you have ever gone to a store to get a picture framed you already know that a frame this size would be hundreds of dollars!  So I stored it in my garage until I could come up with a plan for it later.

One day while shopping on our local Swip Swap Facebook page, I noticed someone was giving away a mirror that they had removed from their bathroom wall.  It just happened to be the exact size that I needed 36″ x 48″.  Wow!  I immediately contacted the person and said I was on my way.  I decided to paint the frame white as I am trying to brighten up everything in my house.  My husband then helped secure the mirror with some mirror tabs on the back.  I will tell you that we had to do just a little whittling of wood on the back of the frame to get the mirror to fit in just right.  I love mirrors which became my next problem.  Where do I  hang it?  I searched around my house and the only place I could find was to remove a picture I had in my bedroom and replace it with the large mirror.  Here it is in my bedroom (with the reflection blotted out).  I can only imagine how much you would have to spend on a mirror this size at a retail store.

Framed a Large Mirror

The other idea for a frame you just can’t let go of is to create a chalkboard to hang inside your door, in your kitchen or even at your place of business.  For this project, I bought a piece of thin board from the local hardware box store and had my husband cut it to size.  Then using chalkboard paint, I simply painted a few coats on it with a small sponge roller.  Each season gets new text.  My handwriting needs a lot of help, but I don’t worry about it too much.  Pinterest is great for getting chalkboard ideas for every season.



Below are three other frames that I made into chalkboards and and sold.  It’s fun to have a chalkboard to write notes on or just to be creative on.  A customer hung the last one in her salon and shared this picture with me.  Have you tried making one yet?

Customer Photo – Hair and Makeup Studio – Wellington, FL

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