If you’re like me, chances are you have been taking hand-me-downs in furniture since you moved out of your parent’s house and even still when you’ve moved into your forever home. I don’t like seeing things go to waste, and unless I want something very specific, I will re-use and up-cycle pretty much everything I’ve ever owned. Honestly, I usually end up with my most specific items from up-cycled creations. So, when my parent’s decided to get rid of their wood dining room table (that was passed down from my Dad’s Aunt), I accepted. 5 years went by and I was staring at this ugly old table that still had amazing ‘bones’ and worked beautifully. But…it was definitely not my style. So, I did what I do best: I up-cycled it.
Stain and spray paint are my best friends and the entire transformation of this dining room set was done with the use of both. Oh, and a table-runner to jazz it up (honestly to hide my ‘imperfections’ at first). I scrolled my way through Pinterest, like any good up-cyclers and DIYer does, and got very into the two-toned look of tables that were very popular last year. I thought I could easily pull off that look and I set out to Rona to find two stains that were similar, but of different tones.
I found the colours I thought would work and got to work sanding the table. I didn’t want to fully strip it and thought that the nicks and cuts that were left behind from years of living would make it look weathered.
Well…it sure made it look weathered. A bit too weathered. There were patches of dark all over the place, falling into the grooves, with lightened spots towards the end of the table where it wasn’t used as much. But, with another sanding, another round of staining and a table-runner for contrast, I loved it. The bottom half of the table turned out perfectly, looking like the beautiful antiquated rustic dining room set I dreamed of.
With the table out of the way, I started in on staining the dining room chairs. Which, turned out to be annoying as all could be – I really didn’t want to have to rub down each individual spindle. I was also looking at a lot of ‘country cottage’ homes on Pinterest (seriously, Pinterest can save or ruin your life) and loved the different coloured chairs. I gleefully showed photos of green, yellow, blue and pink chairs around a table to my fiance; his take wasn’t as excitable as mine and he told me to calm down and reminded me that we didn’t live in a country cottage
I took that to mean only one colour should be used: blue. Let me take a minute to tell you that my dining room has a very yellow wall (with awful matching yellow flooring that was meant to be ripped out much sooner than anticipated) and is right down the road from a very purple living room….sometimes, you just have to trust your gut because thinking about this for more than a minute would point to Hell No. Luckily, it turned out great!
I don’t always like to use a practice piece of paper or board before I start projects: I like to just charge ahead and see what the fuck happens. Sometimes it’s amazing (all of my projects in my home now) and some are…not so good….like the spray-painted, wood, twine lamp that just wasn’t meant to be. I’m still not sure what I was trying to accomplish with that one.
I painted the top parts of the chairs and the legs and stained the seat, running out of patience and not doing the best job that I should have. Pro Tip: Take a damn break. Still, even with my less than handy work, my table and chairs turned out to be exactly what I subconsciously wanted and I honestly am loathing the day when we will need to replace them.
Guys, you’re going to have the feeling that you just ruined something great with your stupid idea. I get it nearly every single time I do an up-cycle. What if I ruined the piece? Should I have just left it alone? Did I just spend all this time intoxicating our home with
stain for nothing? RELAX. Take a step back and look at you project with fresh eyes, preferably the next day and before you do anything drastic like change it, again.
Michelle is an avid traveler, a great ranter, a lover of all things nature and beautiful. You can find her out of the city limits taking in everything that Earth has to offer. When she’s not dressed down in yoga pants and a t-shirt, you can find her piecing together the perfect outfit to show off in the busy streets with friends – careful to state that she is not a hipster. Her favourite city is Paris, with a yearning for its breathtaking streets, architecture, and fashion so strong that she repeatedly finds herself walking along the cobbled lanes and sitting down in the Tuileries with a cafe au lait, scribbling furiously in a Christian Lacroix notebook.
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