See How I Freshened Our Space Over and Over Again Without Breaking the Bank
Does your style preference change faster than you can afford to do anything about it? Does it feel impossible to make your home feel like it’s really “yours”?
Believe it or not, a lot of people feel this way, stay-at-home-moms in particular, and it’s totally normal to be switching things up often. I mean, after all, this is our home as well as our workplace. It’s important that your space evokes joy and comfort as well as functionality. Plus, as renters, my husband and I moved around a lot in the beginning of our relationship. But as is often the case with single income households, it’s not always in the budget to get the pieces you desire to change up the style of a room.
Don’t let this discourage you! I have had a variety of styles in my home, from shabby-chic to farmhouse to modern, and I always switch it up on a budget using pieces I scout out for cheap or ones I already have. It’s easy to do if you have an eye for style and a little DIY elbow grease. Here’s an example of an easy, affordable change I made more than once to the same two pieces.
This is how the pieces looked when we got them. They were a killer yard-sale find and a steal at only $30 for the pair. Aesthetically, they obviously could use a facelift, but the bones were good and it was structurally sound. They were the perfect size for my husband and I’s first place together, which was a 350 sq ft studio apartment, so every piece I brought into this place had to be small and had to serve a purpose.
First, we removed the dated hardware which had left stains in the shape of the handles. This was not an issue since we would sand these down anyway and paint it. Once we had the metal off the drawers, we took to the sander, sanding all the surface areas. This included the top, the drawer face, the sides and the lower shelf top. We left the legs alone due to the intricate shape of them.
Once the sanding was done, we cleaned and dusted the piece and prepped it for painting. Now most people go right for the spray paint but back during this time, every dollar counted! We were even couponing at the time to save as much as possible because our first child was on the way. So buying paint for these tables that i already paid $30 for would easily add up to be more than I felt comfortable investing in these little tables.
Luckily, my thrifty mother and I previously found out our county had a chemical drop off location that also allowed patrons to come in and take up to ten items each, all at the expense of simply providing ID. What does that translate to? FREE, baby!
So we scored a white paint & primer sample jar and a gray wood stain, among other freebies, and used a paint brush we already had lying around. At the time, my husband was building farmhouse furniture on the side to save up for a new vehicle before the baby came so we had some brushes and a couple spare drawer pulls from previous projects.
We painted the tables with the free white paint and primer. We cleaned the brush and let it dry to use it again. Once the paint on the tables and the paint brush had dried, I shook up the gray stain. I dipped the brush ever so slightly into the jar and tried to get as much off the brush as possible by scraping it against the rim. Then I lightly went over various areas, careful to keep my strokes consistent. Doing this created a faux distressed look and aged the piece in a positive way.
Once everything dried, we sealed it with a clear polyurethane sealer we also got from the chemical drop off center. We mounted two modern farmhouse drawer pulls.
Once we got them in the house, I immediately fell in love. We eventually made a narrow console table out of fence boards and a 2 x 4 to match them.
We kept these side tables this way for 2 years. Once we moved into the home we are in now, both mine and my husband’s taste in home decor had evolved. We wanted to do something new and fresh, something a bit less rustic and a little more modern. So we decided we needed to update our bedroom, starting with these tables again.
At this point, since we didn’t need to invest in purchasing the pieces, we could just buy some new paint for this job from the store. I wanted a spray paint this time for more ease and a more evenly coated look.
Lowe’s has a wide selection of spray paints which made my decision making extremely difficult, but we ended up going with an Oxford blue paint. We got the wood stain in Kona brown. We wanted to ditch the white and go for natural browns with a casual, clean pop of color.
This time, I didn’t want to go with the brushed on stain-distress as I had before, we agreed on a more modern look. After the sanding and prep, we flipped the tables upside down and spray painted the base (legs and bottom shelf) in the Oxford blue.
We used a really fine, high-grit sand paper to smooth out the top and the drawer face. We stained those spots in the Kona brown and sealed with a light, matte spray sealer we had in our garage. We also recycled some drawer pulls I got off amazon for a prior project that were the wrong size, but fit these tables perfectly.
I added some brown baskets we had in our closet to the bottom shelves that fit perfectly and really finished out the piece. We put the tables next to our bed, placed my $10 Facebook swap shop lamps on top and voila! We had two beautifully updated side tables for our new master bedroom. It’s been a year and they are still this color today and I love them just as much as I did when we finished them the second time. I’d say over the almost 4 years we’ve owned these, we’ve given them new life, not once, but twice now, and put these once shabby, lifeless pieces to great use.
Maybe it’s the penny-pincher in me, but I’m a firm believer in using what you already have for anything, and re-decorating a space is no different. So whether you want a subtle change or a complete room makeover, don’t limit yourself because of your budget. There are so many ways to work with things you already have and use them in a fresh, new and brilliant way.
Tried this budget-friendly redesign hack? Share a photo of your project and your new space here on our Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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