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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Designing a Coastal Beach Bedroom on a Budget

Designing a Coastal beach bedroom on a budget is easier and cheaper than you think!

What was I thinking!!!???  I live in South Florida and have never had a room that was specifically designed in a coastal beach style.  That’s just WRONG!  I guess it just has never been my style…that is, until recently! I tend to redecorate rooms in my house quite frequently as I get inspired by a piece of furniture, or gazing through Pinterest or in this case, a visit to the beach. Last spring I was bored with a spare bedroom that hadn’t changed in several years.  It was painted Rockport Gray and had a rustic/vintage feel.

It just seemed like it was ready for a new fresh, brighter more coastal look.  Let’s go BEACHY!

I started by going through my stash (and I mean large stash) of paint swatches to find just the right blue wall color.  This Sea Salt Blue was the perfect palette to start the coastal beach bedroom transformation.  The only other thing I really needed to do was add some accessories and change out some of the rustic/vintage furniture as I found it.  Being the practical person I am, I started searching for beachy decor at yard sales and discount stores.

A new paint color instantly changed the room.

I found the knarly branch and Beach House sign at yard sales.

Two Yard Sale Finds – Branch & Sign

I had purchased this awesome headboard at a yard sale years ago for only $8!  So many people have wanted to buy this from me, but it’s just one of those pieces that I’ll never sell because it can be used in many different ways.  I also bought the high-quality cotton blue pillow shams at a yard sale for $8/both.

I found these two pillows at Steinmart and Homegoods.

Pretty much everything in this room has been purchased from a yard sale, even the matelasse bedspread ($5) and silk bedskirt ($5).

I just needed another pop of beachy color and decided to pick up this striped throw from Tuesday Morning for $39 (sort of a splurge for me), but it was perfect so I went for it.

Even the plantation shutters were purchased at a yard sale a few years ago and fit in very well with the beach cottage look.

Finally, the best deal in my house is this antique brass chandelier that was purchased many years ago at a yard sale for only $3!  I’ve actually had it for many years and even brought it from my former house where it was in my dining room.  I’m not sure it’s COASTAL/BEACHY but I love it so it stays.

Antique Brass Chandelier
Mercury Glass Lamps (TJ Maxx)
Yard Sale Etched Mirror $3
Got to have a beachy candle!

I found this Bombay dresser on the side of the road when I was out yard-saling!  Why do people throw away perfectly great furniture pieces???  I grabbed it!

Bombay Dresser FREE

I already had this vintage dresser that I had previously painted a light gray that I thought would work.  I pulled it out of the closet and updated it by faux-painting it with the same wall paint to give it a nice beachy look.

Two great friends blessed me with the mermaid and turtle decor pieces and the bedroom was complete (at least for now)!  Anyone who knows me knows that it will constantly change and items will get new items to make it even beachier over time.  I’m so happy I brightened up the space and now have my coastal beach bedroom for guests.  I’m still debating about painting the two dark pieces so stay tuned in for updated looks on another blog.  coastal-beach-bedroom

My mom and sister were just here visiting so my mom was given the new beachy room to enjoy.

My husband and I love the beach.  Although, the water is too cool for me in the winter, we can still enjoy laying in the sand and soaking in the rays.  We try to go at least once a week in the summer to soak in the rays and lounge in the warm water.  It is so relaxing and it inspired this week’s blog.


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Adding an Iron Gate Looks Like Palm Beach

Creating a Palm Beach Look With an Iron Gate

Several years ago after we moved into our current home, my husband and I were out driving in Wellington and I noticed a home that had an iron gate on the exterior of their front door. It wasn’t just a “functional” gate that looked like it would keep out criminals, but a very beautiful wrought iron gate. I loved it and decided at that moment that I would have to look for something like that for our house.

If you drive around on Palm Beach Island you will also see a lot of iron gates around the mansions that look like these below.  The gates are both decorative and functional to secure their properties.  They remind me of a French Chateau gate.

They add such a huge statement to a home. These gates stuck in my head for years.   Because I am so practical, I would check places like Craigslist to see if anyone out there was selling an iron gate that could be used outside of my house.  Nope, I wasn’t finding a thing.  In the meantime, I had found these decorative matching iron wall pieces at a yard sale in Wellington and fell in love with them at $40 for both!

Garage Sale Iron Gate Wall Art $40

I can’t believe I almost didn’t buy them because I didn’t know where I was going to use them.   Something told me to purchase them anyway.  I went home and  took down what I had on my living room wall and put them up above my couch.  I have always loved the scrolls and curves that they have.  Little did I know that they would become my inspiration for another project.

A few years went by and I started thinking about the exterior gate again. In 2016, I found a guy who lives in our area who manufacturers all things iron called Calabrese Creations in Iron.  One day I gave him a call and he made an appointment to come by our house. He really listened to my idea as I showed him my plan based on the two iron gates hanging on my wall. He took some photos of the wall gates and measured my outside entrance and he was on his way to make my gate.  Below is a photo that he sent me during the process before it was powdercoated.

Before getting a powdercoat

It took a couple of months but the day finally came and he installed it a few days after Halloween 2016. I think it is my favorite thing about my house now and I get lots of comments about it from visitors and neighbors who are in love with it just as much as I am.  See more photos below.

The scroll work is beautiful!


Time for a beach day!
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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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Yard Sale Coffee Table to French Country Treasure

If there’s one thing I have learned in the past five years it’s never, EVER pass on a solid wood piece of furniture that has lots of design if you have a place for it in your home.  Over my years of having a furniture painting business, I would specifically look for things that had character and “shabby” potential.  I just happen to love that look and if you are into repurposing, it also sells very well in our Palm Beach area as it fits in with a beachy look as well.  About a decade or more ago, I discovered I really loved the Rachel Ashwell “Shabby Chic” look.  It was soft, feminine and looked like it had been around for a hundred years.

And, it is actually a look that is fairly easy to do.  Personally, I’m not a fan of dark wood.  I’ve learned that the lighter the furniture, the less you see dust!  Yes, I have replaced brand new dark wood pieces that I bought with thrift store finds to paint because I just dislike seeing all that dust every day.  (That will probably be the best tip of this blog.)  Buy light-colored furniture pieces or paint what you have light!  You will spend a lot less time dusting.

While shopping garage sales one Saturday morning, I found this medium-colored solid wood coffee table.  To be honest, it was pretty ugly.  But, I loved the curvy legs and intricate design on the sides and legs and it was $15.  SOLD!

Yard Sale Coffee Table $15

I brought it home and decided to get some chalk paint out.  I gave it a couple coats covering the entire piece in a soft white chalk paint that I made from latex paint, some Plaster of Paris and water.  There are hundreds of recipes for chalk paint on Pinterest.  Here is one.

You can also splurge on the Annie Sloan version of the chalk paint or Lowes now also has a chalk paint that they can mix to any color.  That is a nice option I recently discovered.  This is what the Lowes chalk paint can looks like.   It is great to paint with and I use a nice 1.5″ brush.  I have learned that buying a more expensive brush will make your painting jobs easier.  The right tools are a must!  Instead of buying that cheap $3 brush, get the $9 one.  You will get a lot more use of out it, but you should clean it very well after each use with warm, soapy water.  Rinse it well!  You will have a much more polished product in the end.

It will most likely take at least two coats of the chalk paint to cover over a dark wood piece.  It helps to lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper in between coats to make the surface nice and smooth.  (This is not required but will leave a smoother surface.)  Wipe with a dry clean cloth to get the residue off before starting the next coat.  Finally I waxed the entire piece with Johnson Paste Wax.  Rub it on with clean, soft rag.  Let it sit for a few minutes (see directions on the can) and then buff off with another soft, clean cloth.  It gives is a matte finish that will protect the paint.

Here is the finished coffee table in my family room.

After a project is finished – the beach is always calling!

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Where to Find Colorful Palm Beach Bargains

Although I will never be on a reality show, I am a bargain hunter.  No, I’m not a coupon clipper but you will find me stopping at most every yard sale I see!  For this blog I thought I would highlight a fun morning of yard sale shopping so you can get an idea of what you can find if you are looking.

Over the past 20+ years I have been regularly going to yard sales/garage sales and have saved a lot of money finding cool things to decorate with or even things to repurpose and sell.  For me, it is definitely the thrill of the hunt to see what is out there.  I often times find unique items that you would never find in a retail store.  So fun!

When I created the “Practically Palm Beach” blog I immediately decided to do a little hunting for items with a distinctively Palm Beach/Florida look.  I guess I got inspired by the title!  I thought I would document what I found on just a single Saturday morning last month.  Remember that I distinctively looked for items that were typical Palm Beach area inspired or tropical in some aspect.  It didn’t matter if I was going to keep them or sell them later, I was just on the hunt for bright, colorful and tropical items.  I love a new project!  (Of course, they had to be a deal!)

My first “find” was just down the street in our development.  It was a set of very tropical  handpainted wine glasses for only $5.  The set was for 7 pieces since one had gotten ruined when the sellers explained that they tried to wash it in the dishwasher and the handpainted design got ruined.   Who cares!  They are adorable!  They are even cuter than the photo shows.

I also found a cute ceramic Pineapple serving bowl for $1.  It was colorful and tropical so I snatched it up.  No flaws!  I need to have a party.

The best deal I found were these Turquoise Jack Rogers sandals “practically” new in the box for only $15.  They just happened to be my size too!  If you aren’t familiar with this brand, it’s very popular in the Palm Beach area and they sell new for over $100 in the local stores.

Jack Rogers Sandals $15

Next I found a bright green glass vase for .50 and since it was a great color, I bought that too.  I plan to get some bright fuscia flowers for it to put on my patio.  Below are my deals of the morning.  It was fun to hunt down some tropical/colorful pieces for Practically Palm Beach.  Have fun bargain hunting and remember to keep your eyes out for things you could use to brighten up your life!  (The vintage tablecloth in the photo below was found a few years ago at a yard sale as well.)  Happy Bargain Hunting!



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Welcome to Practically Palm Beach

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