Thrifty (Re)Upholstered ArmChair

And the parade of projects continues, thanks to this highly unusual spring into summer we are enjoying.

I just got around to recovering an $8 chair I picked up a couple of months ago from my favorite spot, the goodwill outlet store.

I actually rather like the fabric that’s on it. It was just beat to hell done for. It was frayed around the corners and filthy.

With a few few waves of my magic wand, here is the after:


The fabric I used came from the $6/yd section of Hancock Fabrics, and was practically identical in texture (linen-y/burlap-y) to the fabric that covered it before. The after effect is very Ballard Designs, minus the cost, don’t you think? I liked the finish on the frame of the chair, so I decided not to mess with it. I was a little concerned about using a light colored fabric (this is after all a household with children). Not to worry though, I scotchguard-ed the hell out of it.

Once again, Before, meet After:


No really, this project was so simple I almost feel guilty. Pretty straightforward stuff.

1. Remove about a thousand upholstery tacks, then the top fabric (there’s usually a muslin cover underneath that)

2. I used the old fabric pieces as patterns for the new fabric. I cut where the old pieces were cut, and slit where they were slit. This made things so much easier when it came time to attach the fabric  because everything fit perfectly.

3. Attach with a few thousand more staples. 

You want more information on the process, you say?

I can DO, but there are way cleverer teachers out there than yours truly, so I’ve sourced some really good tutes for you. Check out these resources:

Here is a great 3-part tutorial from Little Green Notebook. They are also the proud owners of the handy little chart pinned below (directly from the source, thank you)


Chalk-Painted Side Table

Ever since discovering how to make my own chalk paint, painting furniture has become so much easier and so much fun that I actually want to paint, instead of wishing for a magic wand. Here I have another piece that I painted in one evening. The Hubs needed a side table on his side of the bed instead of the ugly cumbersome tall dresser that inhabited the space, not that he cared. The man could live in a pile of rubble and still wake up whistling a happy tune. I on the other hand, need some visual balance.

This side table is one that I picked up from the side of the street for the best price of free! The table had nice metal drawer slides seem to just sing as they slide out. I could tell it was well constructed and sturdy, so I knew it was worthy of being refinished.  I already had the paint, brushes and plaster of paris, so all I had to do was mix and paint. I caved in to the distressing trend since distressing is so easy and fun with chalk paint.


Before – a little beat up and kinda grody right?



After – presto fabuloso!


This time I sprung for the Annie Sloan clear soft wax finish. I purchased the wax because I couldn’t find a good alternative locally. I spent a good week searching for Briwax or Trewax locally before it hit me that DUH, Annie Sloan is sold locally. In my search for thriftiness and just plain DIY stubbornness, I sometimes end up wasting other valuable resources: time and effort. Sometimes you just spend the money. I do consider the wax a good buy, since a little goes a long way. I barely scratched the surface when I used it on this end table.

I applied the wax with an old t-shirt. The instructions say to use a brush, but a t-shirt worked better for me. I put on a light coat and just rubbed/buffed it in. The wax gives the table a nice soft velvety feel to it.

I did consider switching handles but decided to stick with the original. For one, the holes are already there and fit perfectly, and it’s so dificult to match holes with new handles. I also feel that the handle style compliments the dresser and stands out more now with the new paint color. In the future I may chalk paint the handles too. (yes, you can do that!)

after2                        PICT0040

mirror re-do: the update to my update

One of my FB friends suggested that I distress the mirror a little to give it more character. I’d always been to scared to try the distressing method, afraid that I’d ruin the piece for good. This time though, I figured ‘what the heck’, let’s try it. If it doesn’t work out I can always paint it over, right?

I kind of got overzealous with my palm sander and rubbed off a spot on the surface, but that’s the beauty of distressing, it can’t look ‘wrong.’  Because I tend to be a perfectionist, I may refinish that patch.

here it is:


what I did:

I ran my palm sander over the corners (and obviously part of the surface), dusted off, then rubbed the whole thing with Minwax stain in dark walnut. I like it. It kind of gives the contours more contours, don’t you think?

Oh look, I found this one on ballard designs. Not exact, but along the same lines…Mine was definitely THE bargain.


image courtesy of