Urban chic furniture makeovers

Do you remember the lovely antique desk that I showed you in my last post?
That was before. My dad’s friend sanded the original wood down.

Then I painted it. Here is the after:

desk after

Do you like it? I love it!

I painted it a pale turquoise. I let that dry, then painted that over with gray. When that dried, I lightly sanded the corners so the blue could peep through. After I wiped the dust particles off, my dad put a finishing coat on the desk.

I think it has a weathered, loved look but at the same time emanates a certain sophistication.
exposed wood

One of my favorite parts of this desk are the drawers. Except for a pull-out keyboard tray that I used to store my laptop, my old desk no drawers and the top was permanently cluttered.

I also have a surprise reveal! About a week ago, I bought a chest of drawers at a thrift store to reduce clutter in my room. I used to permanently have bags and bags of fabric, ribbons, paint and other arts and crafts supplies in my room with no place to put them because of lack of storage.

So I bought a chest of drawers that looked like this:
dresser before

And turned it into this:
dresser after

There was also this, a missing leg-cover thingy:
leg missing tip
Which should look like this: leg with tip
But I decided to live and let live. The chest of drawers is on carpet, so it doesn’t wobble.

I cleaned out the desk (it had cobwebs in it- ick!), painted the last drawer, splashed on some turquoise wherever I thought it was missing, and I bought and installed new knobs. I love its boho vibe. My favorite part of this chest of drawers is its sponged gold-painted design on top. Although it’s made of handsome wood and has lovely detailing, it was being sold for $45 because it was missing knobs, paint, a leg thingy (pfft! like I care!), and was dirty. I’ve seen dressers of inferior wood quality and lesser durability being sold for three times as much. However, that didn’t stop me from bargaining it down to $40 (I tried for less, but the shop owner would not budge). Gotta got corners where you can, and I knew I’d be buying knobs.

I’ve become better at bargaining. I think it’s because I’ve grown more assertive as I’ve matured. In my teenage years, I was so concerned with what people “would think.” I didn’t want people to think I was “cheap.” Now, I don’t care what people think. If you can pay $15 for something that was originally $30, why wouldn’t you exercise the power of bargaining? Some people may call it being cheap, I call it being financially savvy. There’s obviously times when you need to use your discretion. For example, the ring I bought at Coney Island was $7 and I paid $7 because it was new and handmade. Trying to bargain it down by criticizing the designer’s handiwork would have been tacky and rude.

I have one more thing to share! Check out this magazine stand I got at a secondhand shop:
magazine rack
It’s wrought iron with marble detailing. I got it for $18, and they retail for $40-$50.

I’m not sure what my next move craft-wise will be. I’d like to display the beautiful artwork my students made for me when I finished teaching. Perhaps in a lovely scrapbox or in a book. Or I may very well dust off the old sewing matching and make myself a skirt.

If any of you are thinking of doing a project like I did above – refurbishing wood furniture – please be sure to invest in safety gear: goggles and a face mask for sanding. When you’re scratching particles off of old wood, you really don’t want to breathe in that dust. It’s also a good idea to have a box fan continuously on to circulate the air while painting and have the windows open and/or do it outside or in a garage.

So what do you guys think of the transformations? Any makeovers that you’ve done recently?


About Jul

Life is better than perfect, it's beautiful


  1. Love the turquoise painted number – so chic! 🙂 Jen xoxo http://mystylisticlife.wordpress.com

  2. i totally love your chest of drawers!! that’s so awesome! hey, i kinda want to get back into embellishing furniture (more collage-y than your fun/classy style, but still), so if you want a basement/garage buddy, i am totally down with breathing in paint and mod podge for a few hours!

    • definitely! i’m missing a chair for my new desk. the chair that i’m using is ikea orange to match my old desk. we can go secondhand store hopping together and then remake the pieces we find into something new!

  3. EmEscapader

    I LOVE the chest of drawers…I’d like to do a similar furniture makeover, because the last time I painted anything for my room, it was a shelf when I was nine…And I’m pretty sure I just covered it in pink and yellow hearts. Typical.

  4. soooo cool. i like that you left that chest rough. one of my favorite looks on thrifted/vintage furniture is the peely paint look and it kills me when people paint over it. good job!

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