That Time I Painted Upholstery…

We’ve had these set of three chairs that we snagged for free from the very nice people at our bank, of all places, for months. Two of them are meant for Brian’s office, but the third…the third one is all mine (rubs hands together maniacally). The chairs are in great shape, they just have a very 60’s, masculine vibe to them. I’ve used the third chair in almost all the rooms in our house, most currently in our bedroom. We have a weird little nook in our bedroom with Brian’s dresser and one of these chairs fits there nicely too. It really comes in handy when you want to sit and tie your shoes or set the laundry basket in for a couple days…or weeks.

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As most of you know, I’ve been working on our master bedroom and trying to make it feel a little more ‘polished’ and little less ‘hot mess’. Currently this chair is just too brown and orange for my needs. I want to lighten it up a bit and make it feel more rustic/shabby chic and less 60’s office waiting room.

I started by spray painting the wood frame an ivory color. I planned on removing the cushions and covering them in a nice gray, velvet….that was the plan. The bottom cushion cooperated nicely and was super easy to remove with a few screws. The back cushion was not going to come off easily I realized after removing half of the studs. My fear was that I would tear it up too much to be able to re-attach it. I had this problem with the last chairs I re-upholstered. I never could get the backs back on them, so they stayed off. Luckily those chairs didn’t really need the back cushion, but this chair does. It just wouldn’t be comfortable without it.

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Cut to me watching 37-ish tutorials on YouTube about how to paint upholstery. I know…I was skeptical to say the least, but after watching video after video, I felt somewhat confident that I could do it. Worse case scenario, it doesn’t work and I rip out the back cushion and try to recover it.

I bought some acrylic paint (some video tutorials used latex), and some fabric medium. The directions were pretty simple: combine one part paint, one part fabric medium, and one part water. I did about 1/4 cup of each since the area I had to paint was actually pretty small. I chose a medium gray color for my paint because the cushions were pretty dark. I didn’t want to choose a color that was too light and have to paint 10 coats.

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The first coat was scary. I really started to second guess my choices at this point. The paint is pretty runny and it looks a lot like a stain more than a coat of paint. Also it is really important to let your fabric have a full 24 hours to dry in between coats. Another tip that I found weird, but necessary, was to sand the fabric in between coats with a fine sand paper. It sounds crazy, but it really helped the fabric to soften up and feel less stiff.

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Luckily after three coats things started to look a lot better. The pattern of the fabric still shows through, so if you don’t like the pattern on your upholstery, this is not a good option for you. Also, the upholstery is NOT as soft as it was originally. Even with sanding between coats, it ends up feeling more like a canvas drop cloth. Still comfortable to touch, just a little more stiff.

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After I reattached my cushion, I decided that the ivory paint was too basic and boring.  I just wasn’t feeling it. So I grabbed some gray stain and dry-brushed it all over the wood frame. Then I grabbed a sanding block and roughed up the paint around the edges and the spindles. I love that rustic, well-loved look on this chair.

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I haven’t antiqued much furniture, but I feel like it really works on this chair. I kind of want to find more furniture try it on…(more maniacal hand rubbing).

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Also, I saw this pillow at the back of the store all the way from the entrance. It was practically screaming at me to take it home with that bold navy and white print. Then I got closer and noticed the blush pink tassels and it immediately went into my cart. And yes, that store was TJ Maxx.

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I have to say, painting upholstery was not something I ever thought I would try, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Would I paint a comfy chair that I love to relax in or cozy up and watch a movie in?…Probably not. But it works for a chair we sit in occasionally for a short periods of time. I feel like it adds just enough farmhouse/shabby chic-ness to the bedroom and is a nice contrast to the dark walls and wood trim.

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No More Plain Jane

So our bedroom is NOT done, but I thought I’d share the progress that is happening. Other than painting, this room has been pretty neglected since we moved in. I really wanted to keep the deep, navy walls, but things were feeling pretty dark and cave-like in here. My goal was to lighten the space up and add some finishing touches to it so it doesn’t feel like everything was just an afterthought.

My first step in lightning up the room was to address the windows. I thought about buying new curtains that are a little more sheer, but I really liked the blue, heavier ones that we got when we got married. The baby likes to nap in our room and the curtains make it nice and dark when we want it to be. I decided first to take down the old roller blinds that were on the windows. They have been on the windows since we moved in and served their purpose for blocking light, but I really was ready for something that looked a little prettier (also they were broken and wouldn’t open up all the way). I hemmed and hawed as I always do when it comes to window treatments. I finally decided on 2″ wide, faux wood blinds in a bright white. I really love the contrast of them with the dark wood and dark walls. They are also super easy to clean and allow us to have a lot more control over how much light comes in.

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My next focus was the bedding, or lack their of. Our plain white bedding just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. It felt unfinished. I dreamt of white, fluffy hotel-like bedding, but instead our bed was looking more like something you would find in a college dorm room. So I began a hunt for bedding. I wanted something light, and something with some color and pattern to it. I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I change my mind often and I wasn’t 100% sure what I was looking for, so I just couldn’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on new bedding. Luckily I already had a down comforter that we liked and just had to find a duvet cover and some shams. I searched far and wide, but ended up on a steal at TJ Maxx….I honestly found like six choices there that all would have worked. I settled on this one because it didn’t feel too girly and had a little gray and a little aqua in it that would pull from other things already in the room. I’m super happy with it and it was only $30!

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I ended up back at TJ Maxx (I swear this isn’t an ad, I just love them!) and looked for some throw pillows to add more color and pattern to the bed. I love mixing color and patterns for more interest and I think it feels so much more intentional and sophisticated. I had to sneak a little pink in there in one pillow and also added a little to some diy abstract art on the walls.

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I still have plans for the other side of the room. I’m on the hunt for some sconces to replace the lamps by the bed. I also have a big chair makeover, that I’m nervously preparing for, and I have plans for the mirror (the one covered in toddler handprints) that I can’t wait to get started on!

My Own Corner Office…

Corner of the living room, that is.

When we moved into this house I had grandiose ideas of Brian and I sharing an office. A cozy little space where we could each have a desk and stare over our computer screens loving at each other…but I soon came back to reality and realized that it just wasn’t meant to be.

We have a great sized office, plenty of room for two. The problem is, my husband and I have very, very, very different work styles. I am a very visual person and I need my workspace to be clean and clutter free or I cannot focus on my task. And without throwing Brian under the bus, I will just say that he does NOT work that way. What looks like complete chaos to me, totally makes sense to him. He has a lot going on, and really needs all the room he can get. So for the sake of our marriage, I have graciously bowed out and given him full range of the office. Now I mostly just close the door and stay out!

I have been working on my laptop all over the house without any real designated space for myself. I had been setting up at the kitchen table for the last couple of years, but with two little ones and living out here on the farm, I feel like I am ALWAYS in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and handing out snacks. So I started to search for a spot in the house where I could set up a little desk and have a place to leave my laptop and work stationed and not have to keep picking up and moving everything. I ended up stealing a little corner of the living room. It’s a nice, central location where I can see/hear the kids while I try to get some work done.

After I had my spot scouted, I just needed a desk. I wanted something pretty low profile that would fit in the corner of the room. I stumbled upon an old mid-century style desk in the attic. I really liked the size, and it was in good shape. It was also really lightweight (ie. easy to get down from the attic). Luckily it belonged to Brian’s mom and with her permission, I got it out and set it up while I tried to figure out if I should paint it or stain it.

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I decided to do both.  The desk is not real wood so I couldn’t sand it too much and stain it. So I used a polystain on everything but the legs and drawers. I love polystain, it’s so easy to use and added the dark wood color I wanted. For the legs and drawers, I just removed them and spray painted them black. I thought about painting the handles too, but I left them gold for now.

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It’s been really nice having my own designated work space where I can be creative and focus…and ignore all the shenanigans going on behind me in the living room. My only complaint is that I need a new chair for my desk. I love this chair that I’ve been using which I talked about here, but it really belongs in another spot in the house. It’s also only really comfortable to sit in for about 30-45 min. I need something a tad cushier. I’ve been looking a little bit and so far this is what I’m thinking. Not necessarily this one, but something similar.

If anyone sees something similar for a good deal, let a girl know!!