How to Upcycle Furniture + My (old) New Bedroom Dresser!

I'm excited to share this up-cycled DIY project today!

I mentioned a here few weeks ago that we were given a ton of old furniture from a family friend. We were so overwhelmed and grateful to be given so much, especially in the midst of buying and moving into our first home. However, for as nice all the furniture is, a lot of the pieces are pretty dated in terms of color, style and hardware. I decided to try my hand at upcycling the pieces and giving them some fresh life - and fresh paint :) I started in the bedroom.

I was given two coordinating bedroom dressers that are Johnsonville brand and from what I understand from the previous owner, are about 25 years old. The top of one of the dressers was scratched up pretty good, but other than that, these pieces were in excellent condition. They just needed a bit of beautifying, which I'll admit, is something that I love doing. Here are the steps I took for this home renovation/DIY/upcycling project!

To give you an idea of what I was working with. The "before".

To give you an idea of what I was working with. The "before".

1. Choosing the Color.
The first thing I decided on was a color story for my bedroom. I know that sounds so lame, but think about it! You really want to love the bedroom, because you spent 1/3 of your life sleeping in there. I have always loved white bedding and blue accents, and as much as I try to convince myself to branch out and try some new colors, I always come back to these shades for my bedroom. Blues and whites and all the colors in between are just so soothing, so I caved and once again went in that direction. This Anthropologie dresser served as my inspiration for the furniture. I chose the Behr shade "Pencil Point" (based on seeing it at my sister-in-law's house, thanks for letting me copy you, Lauren!) and I had it mixed into Valspar's Chalky Finish Paint at Home Depot.

2. Assembling the Tools.
I used this Purdy 1.5-inch brush and this Purdy 2-inch brush to paint with, several different weights of sandpaper (similar here) to distress the furniture and the Valspar Chalky Finish Sealing Wax to finish the piece with a satin finish. I also painted the furniture on a disposable drop cloth (similar here) and used several old t-shirts cut up to wipe the furniture down in between paint coats.

3. Executing the Strategy.
With this furniture, I was going for a gently distressed look. I didn't want the paint to look too chippy, and I wanted the finish to say "I've been worn in with love, not a chisel" (if a piece of furniture can talk). So I gently sanded the furniture's surface, then wiped everything down with a damp cloth. Next I painted the furniture with two coats, the first coat being ever so slightly sloppy (but thick coverage) and the second coat being more careful to keep the strokes all the in the direction of the wood grain. I let each paint coat dry overnight. Then I went back over the furniture with a heavy-weight sandpaper, and I proceeded to beat up the furniture I had just so lovingly painted pretty. I focused especially on the edges and corners, really wearing it down into the original stained wood. I also spent a lot of time sanding down the hardware and letting a bit of the gold gleam come through. After the piece was distressed to my liking, I wiped the furniture down with the damp cloth again and let it dry. Then I finished the piece with a coat of the Valspar Chalky Finish Sealing Wax. The wax goes on more like a lotion, and I got the best results by applying it in small sections and then wiping it off with an old t-shirt. It basically seals the furniture without any sheen whatsoever, so the pieces maintain an aged appearance.

4. Assessing the Cost.
The furniture cost me nothing. Which is glorious. Here's a breakdown of the other costs:

Paint: $29.99
Sealing Wax: $16.99
Paint Brushes: $8.83 + $10.11
Sandpaper: $2.97
Drop Cloth: $6.69
TOTAL: $75.58

5. Admiring the Results!
I am so happy with the outcome of this project. The furniture looks exactly as I hoped, but somehow even better in person. It adds just the right anchoring element to our bedroom and yet still remains calm and soothing.

I forgot how much I love making old furniture new again! I think I'm embarking upon a new hobby, you know, to go along with my bird watching and whatnot. My garage is full of projects-in-waiting!

Have you ever upcycled furniture? Got any great how-to tips to share?

P.S. In case you missed it, my other recent new-house projects have been planting my first vegetable garden and attempting to stay positive in the midst of moving and live in the moment.

I Thought I Should Tell You.

Photo by  Rachel Koontz .

Photo by Rachel Koontz.

I hope you had a Happy 4th of July weekend! I love this part of the summer, the absolute center of the season when bathing suits are appropriate apparel pretty much everywhere and a makeup free face is the only kind of face to have.

I thought I should give you a little update about what's been going on in our household lately. It's been wild. And I'm not exaggerating.

Some of you know that my husband's job has taken us to a few different locations over the past several years, and we are coming up on another year of opportunities. Oh, I'll just give it to you straight.

6 weeks ago, we were considering a move to Madrid. Remember that little trip we took?

4 weeks ago, after making the tough decision not to move to Madrid, we considered moving back to New York. We considered options in the city and in upstate.

2 weeks ago, after deciding not to return to New York, we decided to stay put right here and live in our suburban hometown.

I was probably the most surprised of all. Because I actually wanted it. And I've never wanted it.

1 week ago, we put in an offer to buy a house here. So did 2 other people. Our offer was rejected, and i cried over the loss. Someone else is picking out a couch to plop right in front of that John Wieland-designed fireplace. Drat.

Now I have to interrupt myself and say that, while it is a bummer to miss out on the house, I'm pretty sure that my tears weren't solely over brick and mortar. Or in this case, a celestial collaboration of stone, siding and heaven's own paint choices. The sheer emotional exhaustion of the potential scenarios truly had my panties in a twist. MOVING TO MADRID. LEARNING SPANISH. MY BABY LEARNING SPANISH. HOW TO I BUY GROCERIES IN SPANISH. JUST KIDDING. MOVING TO NEW YORK. MY BABY ON THE SUBWAY. SO MANY GERMS. SO SO MANY GERMS. JUST KIDDING. STAYING IN THIS HOMETOWN. WHAT. I NEED A CIGARETTE. OH WAIT. I DON'T SMOKE.

It's kind of been a lot.

Thankfully, I've learned to roll with the punches and detach from old dreams and get on board with new ones. Good or bad, that's the stance our little family has taken lately. We aren't going to ignore our bummed-out feelings. But we are going to get excited about the new potentials.

I'm not done yet though.

Yesterday we put another offer in on a house. This one is special. Idyllic location, charming farmhouse-esque features. Only problem, it's a short sale. That's a really misleading term for what it actually means. We've been advised that it could take the bank 3 months to respond to our offer. So. We wait. We keep house hunting. We do that dreaming thing. Oh, did I mention that the house is a borderline dump and needs a ton of work?

The house is a borderline dump. It needs a magnificent amount of work.

I'm not being cute. Like every room of the house needs major amounts of attention. In over our heads with a fixer upper? Yeah probably. But such is life, amiright? If anyone knows John Wieland's availability, that would be great. Or Jonathan Scott. He will do just fine. Actually, Stevie truly sweats about my crushing status on the Scott brothers. I NEED CABLE AGAIN.

Whew. That's really all I wanted to say. I just wanted to fill you in! We are here, living on the southside of Atlanta, for at least another 12-18 months. And although it's been a whirlwind, whiplashing journey to arrive at this conclusion, I AM SO HAPPY. My baby gets to hang out with his cousins. My husband gets to jump into his dream role at work (did I mention? He's super amped about this new role. Side note.) We get to stay close to our family and make more memories with our hometown friends. And I get to dive into some new dreams. I'm brewing over some things now :)

Life is crazy and good. Crazy good, actually.

Thanks for all the love and support, friends!

PS - Oh, and I forgot to mention that I went blonde. And got a new car. When I said that things are happening, they are!

PPS - If you haven't already entered my Sonnet James dress giveaway, you should! This rad giveaway ends Tuesday at midnight!