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!
Over the past several months I’ve been hunting for some ornate charger plates that don’t cost a fortune that would work well in my dining room. After all, anyone who watches Fixer Upper on HGTV knows that Joanna Gaines always sets the table with charger plates, cloth napkins and a sprig of something earthy. I have seen chargers on-line that are outrageously expensive and this thrifty girl knew there was an inexpensive way to get the look I was wanting. These chargers from Amazon.com are $15 each!
I saw a Pinterest idea of collecting silver-plated round trays and painting them to use as chargers so I started hunting for just them. Unfortunately, I have only been able to find about three over the past several months hunting thrift stores and garage sales.
This morning while browsing around our local Goodwill store I came across these red plastic chargers. There were six of them which is exactly what I needed. They were only .99 each so I grabbed them knowing I had a project ahead to make them fit into any season, not just Christmas or Valentines Day. I like to keep my dining room table “set” (staged) and I really needed some chargers to complete the look. I liked the scalloped edges even though I really want something a little more ornate down the road. I figured these would work at least as temporary chargers with a little work. Ok, they don’t look very “farmhouse” or French country… YET!
After washing them, I put my drop cloth over my counter and stove and got some chalk paint out that I had used in a previous project.
The paint I used was sort of Paris gray/taupe color. I just used a small paintbrush and started painting each one with a thin coat to cover the chargers.
This is how they looked while drying after one coat of chalk paint.
After a second coat was dry, here was the result.
I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do next but just decided to rub some lighter paint on the edges with my finger (see photo below). Project FAIL! I didn’t like the look. It looked like a little kid had painted on the edges and it looked messy. I had to repaint that one and come up with a new plan.
I always think that a dry-brushed paint job comes out the best. It looks rustic, old and farmhouse chic. Perfect! I dry-brushed each charger and let them dry. (Dry-brushing is when you dip the tip of the paint brush in the paint and then wipe off most of it with a damp rag before dragging is across whatever you are working on. After that step, I put on two coats of Polycrylic to seal the paint because chalk paint always needs to be sealed to prevent the paint from chipping.
The whole project only cost me the $6 (for the chargers) because I already had the other supplies in my stash.
This was an easy project that only took a couple hours (because of drying time) to finish.
I’m loving the new addition to the table. I guess I should put some flatware on it now but I feel like it is a Practically Palm Beach success story now.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!