The best decorating advice I have ever received was not from a big name designer, magazine, or book, but someone who I found was always right. That someone was my mom. She was passionate about making a house a home and I remember more than once hearing her say – Don’t decorate a room all at once. Let it evolve. You will be so much happier and will enjoy the room for many years to come.
I follow her advice when I decide what I am going to do to each room in my home. There is no rush to get it done – I have lived with hand-me downs my entire married life. I don’t need the newest, best, or greatest – just what makes a room comfortable, light, and pretty enough, will do– no cookie cutter perfection – just a casual, comfy place that has good light to read by, a place to put feet up, watch TV, and a surface to place a drink. Pretty comes last, but I will admit – it is the most fun!
I have been enjoying the fun part the past week helping my family room layer by layer evolve to the prettier stage.
Image: Country Living
A few years before I started blogging, I was planning to do an overhaul of the family room. I had stripped the room of its décor and left only the big pieces of furniture. I painted the walls in a soft white color, then Ed lost his job and I just stopped. The expense was not necessary. The room was comfy and fulfilled our needs just as it was. Wants went out the backdoor. Since then, I have collected many images of how I want the room to look. This room(above) is a bit formal, but I love how all the colors are mixed on top of the white backdrop and unobstructed windows.
Another photo of the type of look I am trying to achieve in my family room. Love the pink throw – that is a big – WANT!
Before and After Furniture Makeover
This sideboard is a hand-me down from my mom and dad. I have had it for about 4 years. As you can see it has traditional styling with a country twist, has beautiful lines, and is in perfect shape. Even though it is beautiful piece just as it is, the orange-y brown color doesn’t excite me. Since the layers of the décor in this room have been grounded in white, it is time to add the pops of color to get the room closer to my vision. This piece will be the first big color infusion. It is also the first thing you see as you enter the room and I want it to invite people into the room with a big smile.
It adds an entirely new energy to the room – exactly what I was trying to achieve. All done with the power of paint and some new hardware.
There are still more layers of décor to add, things to change or remove, but the room is starting to have a personality again.
When I put the original pulls back on after painting, they were too dark and the styling was too traditional. I loved the label pulls that were on the library file drawers I recently redid in my studioffice. I went in search to find something similar to use on the sideboard. I found these brass label and drawer pulls in the Van Dykes Restorers catalog after seeing them on Pinterest on a dresser that Destiny from A Place For Us made over. I wanted un-lacquered brass, but they were sold out until July. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I opted for the bright brass and aged them myself to tone the brass down down a bit. Here is the link to the post on how I aged the brass.
how to cover the unfinished back on a piece of furniture
The sideboard was designed to go against a wall. The back is made of a stained plywood board. Since I use it as a sofa table and the back shows a bit, I also needed to address a way to improve how the back looked.
before: In the top photo you can see how the back of the sideboard used to look – dark brown and blah!
during: I found beadboard wallpaper on clearance at Lowes and bought a roll to cover the back. Very easy to do – took less than 20 minutes as the wallpaper was pre-glued and I just needed to wet the back, book it for a few minutes to get the glue released, and then applied it to the back. I needed 3 pieces to cover. I used a mat knife to trim the excess.
after: Pretty Beadboard backing!
Once it was painted the same color as the rest of the sideboard it no longer is an eyesore. Someday – maybe lamp cords will be a thing of the past.
I made Chalk Paint using the Calcium Carbonate Powder recipe to paint the sideboard turquoise. Using this recipe over the non-sanded grout or Plaster of Paris DIY chalk paint recipes has one advantage – it does not harden at all after being mixed. If you are painting larger pieces and need more than a small amount of paint – then I would suggest you use the Calcium Carbonate Power.
I made the paint color by mixing two colors of turquoise paint I had leftover from previous projects. Glidden Peacocks Plume and Valspar Seafarer were the colors I mixed 50/50 in a bucket to come up with the color. I used two coats and let the paint dry. I then added a white glaze over it to add more lightness and depth to the color.
I used a coffee can to mix the glaze mixture using:4 parts Valspar Clear Glazing Liquid 1 part white paint Optional: 1/4 – 1 part water – just a little to thin the mix if needed
Working on one area at a time, I brushed the glaze/paint mixture on very liberally, waited a few minutes and then dragged another (dry brush) through the glaze and wiping the brush in a rag to clean off the glaze, so I could repeat the brushing off process. In the photo above – the glaze was just applied – I have not dragged the dry brush over it yet. Once you do – the white color will lessen. You can drag a dry brush over the area a few times to get the look you are after. I wanted subtle. I repeated the process until all surfaces were covered.
After the glaze was added, brushed off and dry – (wait at least 24 hours) I sanded all the edges with medium grit sandpaper to age the surface.
Many readers ask me how much they should sand a piece before painting. I sand everything before painting it with fine or medium grit sandpaper. A quick going over with the paper attached to a sanding block is all that is needed to rough the surface a bit. It only takes a few minutes, but will help with lasting adhesion. When distressing – it is up to personal choice how much aging you want to add.
I then added one thin layer of Fiddes & Sons paste wax, let it dry to a haze, and then buffed it with a soft cloth to bring out the shine. I like this wax – it costs more than Johnson’s, but goes on like a dream and does not smell as much. Johnson’s smells pretty intense, especially if you can’t work outside.
If you look closely at the doors, you can see the white brush strokes of the glazing coat that was left on. Any glaze or colored wax will add color depth to the painted finish. You can do the same thing with Liming or a white wax over a clear wax coat.
The new label holder drawer pulls add character and make the sideboard look more like a one-of-a-kind piece.
a few details…
When painting furniture with doors, I sometimes don’t paint the inside of the doors. If it was summer and I took this to my garage to paint, I would have removed the doors and painted both sides. Since I had to paint it in my family room, I decided to tape around the lip on the back and just paint around the edges. When the painters tape was removed, the insides of the doors, looked nice and neat with the outer edges painted only.
I bought the glass knobs for the doors at Lowes. They had silver centers that I spray painted gold using Rustoleum Metallic Gold spray paint so they would match the drawer pulls.
The new lampshades were a “find” on a recent trip to Target. They are from the new Threshold line. There were just two of them sitting all by themselves on the shelf. They had my name on them, so I had to bring them home :)
Paint is truly a DIY decorator’s best friend. It is amazing how it can transform a space so quickly and affordably. It literally can change a room in only a few hours. Now I gotta tackle painting my “mollifier” in the room. More to come on that soon.