Breathing new life into hand-me-down furniture, thrift store finds and flea market treasures is a creative way to save money and decorate your home with one-of-a kind, customized pieces. Whether using a new paint color to spruce up a table, new upholstery fabric to brighten up tattered chairs or a new stain to restore a youthful glow to a dresser, you can cultivate a stylish and signature look for every room in your house by letting your inner interior designer run wild.
Typically, second-hand furniture and thrift-store steals have seen better days in both style and condition, but if that couch or chair retains a solid foundation, making them look new again can be an easy fix. According to the experts at BHG.com, a slipcover can hide past damage and create a whole new look for an outdated piece; they suggest choosing one in a neutral pattern or color and using accessories for a punch of color and interest.
Give new life to an old piece by giving it a totally new identity. CountryLiving.com writer Sienna Fantozzi highlights an antique ladder repurposed as a cute storage solution for pretty quilts and extra blankets, a table constructed from old shutters and an old metal washtub flipped upside down for a rustic addition to your décor.
A dining room table by any other name is a coffee table, says BHG.com, which suggests cutting down a dining room table to coffee table height, painting it a new color and adorning it with a fabric remnant for a distinct look.
Entertainment cabinets have fallen out of fashion as television sets have become sleeker with wall-mounting potential. BHG.com suggests turning these once-useful consoles into sturdy shelves, accessorized with decorative bins, perfect for a dorm room.
Art is a captivating way to add warmth, style and texture to your walls. But sometimes you might love the frame more than the picture it surrounds. The experts at BHG.com suggest replacing an ugly picture in a beautiful frame with an eye-catching wallpaper remnant. The wallpaper can complement the look of your room, add color to a neutral room or dress your wall with an attractive pattern. Or, perhaps you’d like to incorporate your artistic ability into a new frame—paint, draw or reframe a photograph that has special meaning to you.
Sometimes fresh and clean is the best way to energize or downplay the look of old furniture and fixtures. BHG.com suggests recovering lamp bases and nightstand tables in white. With so many shades, you’ll have no problem picking the right one for your room.
If you are ready to try your hand at stripping, staining and refinishing a wood piece, HowStuffWorks.com writers Emilie Sennebogen and Jill Jaracz recommend putting safety first. Since chemicals in wood varnish and strippers are highly toxic, it’s essential that you protect your skin with proper clothing, your eyes with safety glasses and your lungs with a mask while you work in a well-ventilated area. Clean the piece well, repair areas of damage, follow the directions on any chemicals you use to strip the existing paint or finish, sand what’s necessary and take time figuring out what stain is right for your work of art, advise Sennebogen and Jaracz.
If you are a bargain hunter, a fan of DIY or just want to create something special for your home, a little time and effort can transform neglected hand-me-downs and overlooked treasures into wonderful, stylish additions to your home.