Drawer tables are a thing, right?

Now, I am quite fond of the saying: waste not, want not, so when faced with a couple of redundant drawers, I was eager to come up with a new use for them. Left over from my now made-over sideboard, these two drawers were in line to become wooden planters for the garden, hanging box/shelves things, or – quite brilliantly – side tables. It was actually the Mr who accidentally came up with this idea when we first moved into the house and had nowhere to put a cup of tea when relaxing on an evening, and he turned one of the drawers on its side and rested his hot cuppa on the top. Because the drawers are narrow, they fit perfectly either side of the sofa, something I think we would struggle to achieve with shop-bought side tables.

I quickly came round to the new table idea – so, one rainy Saturday afternoon turned into another upcycling/makeover project and voila, these little gems were born.

A few people have suggested this idea is a bit mad, but I for one am quite proud of this reuse, and they match the rest of the living room (bar the horrible red carpet) beautifully. Who’d want to waste them anyway?

Take two old drawers like this one

Take two old drawers like this one

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Paint grey – this is Warm Pewter matt emulsion by Dulux, which I used for the sideboard

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Mask off stripes and paint two coats of colour. I went for Banana matt emulsion by Habitat and gloss white by Johnstones Paints to bring contrast and to tie the colours to the sideboard further

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Once completely dry, carefully peel away masking tape to reveal the finished design

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This one fits snugly between the sofa and some shelves

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A great place for our side lamp (need a new lampshade – ideas please?!)

What do you think? Is this mad or savvy upcycling? The only thing I would change is to fill the holes left by the drawer pulls.

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Furniture Makeovers: Simple techniques for transforming furniture by Barb Blair

It’s Saturday afternoon and I am waiting for the first coat of paint to dry on my sideboard project, which I have finally got round to doing. Keep posted for a blog on it when it is finished. I thought I would take this time to tell you about a great book that I was given recently.

Furniture Makeovers: Simple techniques for transforming furniture by Barb Blair is a great book filled with ideas and inspiration on how to source, strip and bring a bit of life back into an old piece. For anyone, myself included, who wants to transform their home with one-off pieces that have been sourced on a budget and repurposed with care and attention, Barb Blair has some of the best ideas on how to achieve this, and how to do so with simple and easy-to-follow technique using paint, wallpaper, stains, stencils and anything else you could think of pasting onto old wood.

Furniture Makeovers: Simple techniques for transforming furniture with paint, stains, paper, stencils and more, by Barb Blair

Furniture Makeovers: Simple techniques for transforming furniture with paint, stains, paper, stencils and more, by Barb Blair

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With a foreword by Holly Becker, founder of  Decor8 blog (take a look if you haven’t already – it’s full of great ideas), I was excited to get stuck into this book and try out as many of the projects that I could and even use some of the techniques and put my own spin on them.

An experienced finder of unloved pieces to make new again, Barb tells you where to look for the best items, the types of wood that will last a makeover, the conditions to look out for, what tools and materials to use, how to strip and repair pieces before painting and also how use various finishes, from wax to matt emulsion and stencilling to decoupage.

Each project in the book is named, such as Artemis, Blanche, Jules and Lottie, which features on the front cover. My favourite, particularly since I an undergoing a sideboard project of my own, is called Amabel. I would love to know the shade of grey used, as I think it is just lovely, and would be perfect in the living room. She has left the legs in the original state and stencilled on bold orange arrows on the top to add something a little different.

My favourite - Amabel

My favourite – Amabel

Lee and Cabbot - a great use of decoupage

Lee and Cabbot – a great use of decoupage

Lee and Cabbot were to unloved ends of a desk, which were chopped off to become two chests. They were made over using decoupaged paper and some lovely wooden knobs – I love the result.

Finally, as  I wouldn’t want to give everything away, there’s Barb’s milk men. By using white matt spray paint to cover an assortment of glass vases and milk bottles, she has created a display fit for any modern home.

I'm going to see if I can collect some nice jars and bottles to make some milk men of my own

I’m going to see if I can collect some nice jars and bottles to make some milk men of my own

In her introduction, Barb says, ‘I hope that this book will inspire you to discover a creative passion, see potential in the world around you, roll up your sleeves, and create furniture masterpieces of your very own!’. Well, thanks to you Barb, I now have plenty of ideas on how to make my new home, truly my own. I’m off to make a cuppa and carry on with that second coat.

Upcycling: What to do with…?

I had the pleasure of being bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding last weekend and after a very lovely day, I was pleased to be given one of the gorgeous table centre pieces, which the bride made herself. The day was lots of fun and the venue was styled beautifully in a colour scheme of cadbury purple and white. 

Now that the Big Day is over, I am the happy owner of one of the bird cages and I need inspiration of what to do with it next (as it is currently housed in my basement). Friends and family have suggested leaving it as it is and putting it in the garden, using it as a hanging basket or placing it in the bathroom as a decorative piece. But what do you think? Shall I leave it as it is or transform it into something even more stylish, while keeping the memories of the wedding alive too?

What shall I do next with this beautiful wedding table centre piece?

What shall I do next with this beautiful wedding table centre piece?

The venue was decorated in a purple and white colour scheme

The venue was decorated in a purple and white colour scheme

 

Video: Update furniture with decoupage

Following on from my post about different ways to use wallpaper, I came across this great video from Clas Ohlson on using leftover bits of wallpaper to create a unique piece of furniture. I am going to try this idea out for myself as all you need if a couple of paint brushes, wallpaper (or even old wrapping paper or newspaper cuttings), PVA glue and some time – and a piece of furniture of course. I remember seeing an old episode of Kirstie Allsopp’s Kirstie’s Vintage Home where she used cuttings to cover the back of a bedside cabinet and loved the idea then too. What do you think?

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Kirstie Allsopp transformed this bedside cabinet using old scraps of wallpaper (Image: Daily Mail extract of Kirstie’s Vintage Home)

Project #1: Sideboard makeover

You may remember my post about losing out on the best John Lewis bargain sofa ever, but I must tell you that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. I didn’t walk away from the furniture clearance in Warwick empty handed after all and managed to buy myself a lovely mid-century style sideboard for the neat little price of £15. Filled with the disappointment of losing said sofa, I plucked up the courage to ask the kind seller to give me a fiver off the £20 asking price and he said yes! You might say I am cheap, but you never know if you never ask.

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The sideboard would look great as a storage solution, dressing table or chest of drawers, but after watching Kirstie’s Fill Your House For Free last night on Channel 4, I have been inspired to use it as a media unit for the television we have yet to buy.

It needs a good sanding down and lick of paint before we can do anything with it, so the plan is to strip and prime it before the move and add colour when we have definitely decided what we will use it for. I would like to do it up in the style of the lovely Oliver Bonas furniture range that was launched recently and am swaying towards the idea of doing it grey with yellow and darker grey drawers. I may even remove one of the drawers completely and have it as an open shelf.

Mavis Chest, £515, Oliver Bonas

Mavis Chest, £515, Oliver Bonas

As for the handles, they will be coming off too to be replaced with some lovely decorative ones – I love the ones from Anthropologie.

Want to see the finished result? Tell me what you think…

Fill Your House For Free

Like many other women out there, I am quite partial to a good shopping trip, but nothing gives me greater pleasure than a good bargain. Those who know me personally will know that already, so it will come as no surprise to them that Kirstie Allsopp’s new Channel 4 programme Fill Your House For Free  (Tuesdays 8pm) is right up my street.

Kirstie Allsopp's Channel 4 scrapbook

Kirstie Allsopp’s Channel 4 scrapbook

The idea is that you can achieve a stylish, trendy and personal interior for absolutely zero pennies by scouring local furniture clearances, online marketplaces, antique fairs, skips and salvage yards. While it might take a little bit more effort and elbow grease to find and update something to suit your space, the results can be very rewarding – as the homeowners who enlisted Kirstie’s help found out and something which I aim to find out for myself.

Bitten by the freebie bug, I have already been looking on Freegle, Gumtree and Freecycle for ideas and pieces of furniture to include in the new house. I am trying to keep an open mind and thinking of ways to re-paint and re-upholster items to give them a new lease of life. The thing at the top of my wishlist is a mid-century style sideboard for either the living room or bedroom – I would love a nice teak one, but at a few hundred quid on the high street, finding a cheaper one has become my mission.

Loca Sideboard, £699, Fashion For Home

On the wishlist: Loca Sideboard, £699, Fashion For Home

Watching Fill Your House For Free last night, I soaked up even more ideas and the Mr has even become inspired to make a coffee table out of ‘something’. One thing’s for sure, the cheaper we can furnish the new house, the better!

Is there anything more satisfying than getting something great and paying absolutely nothing for it? I think not. Forget the high street, I’m off to the car boot!