Yard Sale Candlesticks Get a Facelift with Chalk Paint

Something will catch my eye at a yard sale and I’ll just have to pick it up.  This was the case for these large green ceramic candlesticks that I purchased for $5 right in our neighborhood.  I didn’t necessarily hate the color, but I wasn’t sure I would have a place for them either.  They just were large candlesticks with a cute “shabby chic” design and for $5 they went home with me.  The price tag on the bottom of just one was $39!

I couldn’t find a good place for them in my house so when my son and his wife bought a home in the development across the street from us, I brought them over to see if there would be a place for them.   I always try things in various places and move accessories around a room to see where they might work best.  Sometimes they stay and other times they end up in another room.  I started by putting them on the mantel but they just didn’t seem right there.

Later on I added a mirror above the mantle and they were just too large.  I took them back home and put them in the garage to sell.  I even had them out on a site posted for sale but I didn’t get any buyers.

While working on ideas for their master bedroom, I came up with a new plan for them.  Why not get out my chalk paint and just give them a nice neutral coat.  It literally took me less than thirty minutes to transform them into what you see below.  Both of the chalk paint colors were purchased from Michaels and were already in my garage so it didn’t cost me anything.  I put one coat of the taupe/grayish color on first with a brush and then highlighted the embossed areas with white to bring that out.  I also added some white brush strokes to the body to make them look old.  The good thing about this project is it is better if the paint job isn’t perfect as I wanted it to look old and worn.

Since I was helping them decorate their master bedroom, I purchased some antique dressers on Craigslist and planned on going in the direction of a farmhouse chic style.  These would work very well.  I will share more photos of the bedroom when it is all finished but here is where the candlesticks landed!

It’s a beach kind of week!

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Quick and Easy Way to Update Anything – Chalk Paint!

This week’s blog is so simple that anyone can do it!  It only takes minutes to make simple changes on just about anything small.  Several years ago I found these decor topiaries at our local Goodwill store for about $8 a piece.  Pretty thrifty find, don’t you think?  Since they are fairly tall and I know what these things cost at retail stores, I grabbed them and put them on my fireplace mantel.  However, if you know me at all I have to paint almost everything that comes into my house!

I used them for several years with the gray, rustic hue on the pots.  I loved them!

However, since I have lightened everything else in my living room this year, I decided one day to chalk paint the bases with white chalk paint that I bought from Michaels.

Chalk paint is the best stuff ever!  I just painted it on and it immediately gave it the lightness that I was looking for and you don’t have to exact on something like this at all.  Actually, I just wanted it to look messy and half-painted.

Here they are mid-project.

After painting them, I love the bright result and I feel like I have new pieces!   I may not even have a place to put them now but I’m keeping them for future decor in case I need them.  It was such a simple way to update and brighten up the topiaries.


Time to go shelling at the beach!


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Palm Beach Sparkles with a Thrifty Crystal Chandelier


Do you still have the builder-grade fixtures in your home?  Old, outdated fixtures are one of the first things people notice when they come into your home.  However, picking the lighting for your house can be challenging and expensive.  I tend to love some glamour in my house and the perfect thing to add was a pretty chandelier.

Below is the fixture from Home Depot that I put up 11 years ago when we moved into our house.  Although it’s not totally outdated, I wanted something with more sparkle.  I had attempted to add some “bling” by adding some crystals to the bottom of it, but it was definitely time for a change to add some more glamour.  But my question was, “Can I really afford one?”

BEFORE New Lighting

I started the search for a fixture.  I went to Capitol Lighting, Home Depot and Lowes (all the typical places to find fixtures).  First of all, I knew the prices at Capitol Lighting would be high but WOW I wasn’t expecting those price tags.  They are quality and you pay for that with about $1200 and up!  Anyway, that place was definitely out of my Practically Palm Beach budget but I still wanted a crystal chandelier that wasn’t whimpy in size. I checked the box stores but just did not like anything.

I discovered this one below on Amazon.com.  Although it doesn’t have authentic Swarovski crystals, I thought I’d order it and give it a try since the reviews were fantastic on it.  I couldn’t believe the low price of $159!

I ordered this Amazon chandelier and it arrived quickly.  I am blessed to have a husband that can put up light fixtures so the process began.  He had to literally build the fixture with the detailed instructions.  Here are some photos from the process where we put out all the pieces on the dining table.  All the bubblewrap below contained the millions of crystals that would later make me want to hire someone to finish hanging them.  It took some sorting and guessing to get them all on.  We also ordered a large medallion from Amazon to put on the ceiling.  Every chandelier must have a medallion in my opinion.

The first step was to turn off the breaker for that area and remove the old fixture.  Then we attached the medallion that I had already painted a few days before to the ceiling with two screws.  Since I had the white paint that I used to paint it, touching up the screws would be easy.  We have put up enough medallions over the years that we have learned it’s easiest to attach it to the ceiling before trying to hang the light fixture.

Hanging a chandelier is much easier with two people so we worked as a team on two ladders while my husband attached all the wires and attached it completely.  Below is the chandelier early in the process when I was trying to figure out how to hang all the crystals since the directions were not the best.  I think it actually took me about 5 hours to get them all on correctly!  It’s very tedious work but worth it in the end.

After attaching all the crystals, here is the chandelier.  I also added a chain cover (also from Amazon) which is a bit long so I’ll probably shorten it a bit eventually.

After it was all put together, I’m really happy with the look and all the sparkle it added to the room.  When the sun shines through the window, it creates a lot of little prisms around the room too.  For only $159 plus a medallion, I think it’s definitely “Practically Palm Beach!”

Did someone say “Beach?”!!!!!!

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Thrift Store Pitcher Gets Makeover

Recently when shopping in Goodwill for a cute vase for fresh flowers, I spotted this cute light yellow pitcher.  It was a pretty large pitcher and was marked $7.99.  It seems to be old but I am not an antique expert so I am not sure.  My guess it’s probably a reproduction but I loved the curves and style.  Get in my cart now, you little cutie!

I was pleasantly suprised when I got up to the register and it was 50% off of this piece!  Yay!  Even better!

Although the butter yellow is cute, everything in my house is white and the yellow had to go.  Out comes a can of white spraypaint.

I tipped it upside-down to spray the bottom first and started spraying.  Always spray outside in a well-ventilated area.  I found that this particular paint was leaving some small sand-like bumps which is probably from the primer in it.  Uh-oh!  I let it dry and took some find sandpaper and sanded off any little bumps that I saw.


I actually ended up trying another can of white paint (see below) that I had in the garage to finish it up without getting more bumps.  This style of Rust-oleum seems to spray more evenly and easily so I should have just used it from the start.

The pitcher looks so fresh and white now and I will be able to use it as a vase and as a decor piece.  It will not be used for beverages.  I think it adds a bit more French style to my already “Frenchy” decor in my house and will be used year-round.  It looks like a real ironstone piece (at least from a distance).

I plan to use the pitcher to hold fresh flowers, but it looks just as pretty just sitting next to the other white pieces I have in the dining room.  I wish I had the room for a collection.

Use as a vase for flowers

Check back next week for more Practically Palm Beach tips!

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Why I Love White Dishes!

White dishes have been one of my obsessions for many years.  The reason I love them is they go with every season, event and holiday and you only have to have one set to store.  I have to admit that a great friend (you, Jennifer M.) shared this great tip with me over a decade ago and it just stuck with me.  You can simply add the colors of whatever season it happens to be to the table.  It is such a nice blank slate to start with and any color you pick works with them.  Forget storing many different sets for all the different holidays.  White is just more “practical”!

Pinterest Photo
Pinterest Photo


If you are a thrifty person like I am, you also probably keep an eye out for interesting dishes like the ones in the Pinterest photos here.





When I am at a thrift store or a garage sale, I am always looking for pretty white dishes.  In fact, my main every day plates were found (as a set with coffee cups, smaller plates, etc.) at a yard sale for $15 for the entire set (stack in front in photo).  I didn’t take the entire set out of the cabinets for the photo  – – sorry!  I’m not a fan of heavy plates so these cute lighter china plates are just perfect.

Recently, while shopping at Goodwill I found a second set of some cute IKEA white plates for about .69 each so I just couldn’t resist.  They are the ones in the back right in the photo.  I have to admit that after I got them home, I discovered they don’t fit in my dishwasher so they will have to be handwashed when I use them.  I guess the Swedes either don’t use dishwashers like Americans or maybe it’s just my dishwasher rack.  Anyway, I still love them and they could easily be mixed and matched with my other dishes when I need extras.

This little white tea set was my husband’s mother’s set.  Isn’t it just adorable?  I know it means a lot to my husband that I saved it all these years even though I never knew his mother before she passed away.  It rarely gets used but it is fun to have just as white decor.

I have actually sold of some of my white dishes recently because I just didn’t need that many pieces!  I’m fortunate that I live in an area that it is fairly easy to find a buyer for items that I really don’t need using Facebook Swip Swap sites.

I also sold this creamer/sugar set (didn’t need two sugar/creamer sets) and this Pottery Barn plate set (below) that I deemed too heavy after a few years of using it.  SOLD!


I’m almost embarrassed to say that even after purging my kitchen cabinets this year, I still have more white plates than I need.  Truthfully, I am sort of crazy about organizing my kitchen cabinets and keep all the white items in one space just for a nice consistent, organized look (see photo below).

I will try to remember to snap some photos of various holiday settings in the future and share them on a blog someday.

I think I am really needing a beach day soon…see ya!


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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 Amazon.com 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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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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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.  http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/08/testing-1-2-3-versions-of-chalk-paint.html

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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