Painting to refresh used furniture is nothing new.
Over the years I’ve done lots of pieces using brand name chalk paint and now I find that making my own works just as well and it’s so easy to do.
Basically by adding Plaster of Paris to house paint it adds the grit needed to help it stick to the wood surface.
Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe:
1.5 cups Interior House Paint
1/3 cup Plaster of Paris
1/3 cup Water
*These are estimates. Once the supplies are mixed the paint will start to thicken slightly.
Mix the supplies together. First apply primer on the piece of furniture, then coat with the chalk paint. Seal with a clear coat intended for chalk paint. I tried a water based product that was applied with a brush, it didn’t have the toxic smell like other wax sealants do.
There are so many used pieces of furniture around and changing the colour can easily update them.
I keep a box of Plaster of Paris and there is plenty to mix up gallons of chalk paint with leftover house paint. It works well on cabinets, mirrors and end tables.
Once you have the basic supplies it’s so easy to whip up a batch for the latest thrift store/marketplace find.
Here’s a look at some of the decorating I did for our home this year as well as the wreaths I made. Pine from the yard was the main green used, I had been waiting for months to do some strategic tree trimming.
I started with pine that I cut from a bush out front. I kept the trees simple and saved decorating them until December.
From early November until mid December it is wreath making time! I love making them and sell them locally during this time.
This was boxwood clipped from our yard that became a wreath for above the kitchen window as it is long lasting and doesn’t drop needles.
This was the annual giant wreath that I make to hang behind the kitchen table and bring in that Christmas scent. It’s hard to tell here but the wreath is 3 feet wide and very heavy. It is made with spruce so it has a short indoor shelf life.
At the front area of the house is this corner where I keep extra material and wreaths before they are picked up.
Once it was December I added some baubles to the trees and a bow to the front door wreath just before Christmas. I like to extend the season and gradually decorate.
These Baby Blue Eucalyptus wreaths are one of my favourites because they smell incredible and are long lasting.
This year I was able to cut 5 branches long enough to be mini Christmas trees.
This was the other big (by our standards) Christmas tree.
Here’s another reminder of the transformative power of paint. More on this kitchen makeover from last year can be found here.
In our last home adding moulding throughout the house was a priority to add character. I haven’t done any yet in our current home but I brought this mirror from our last dining room which I plan to finally put up.
This was our last basement where I added this board and batten. I have some ideas for the wall treatment in our current home to give the space more character…they are quite finalized yet.
Here’s some of the materials I’ve been slowly collecting over the past year – paint mis-tints, some leftover Advance paint from the island cabinets and door architraves. I am also excited to sew some new cushion covers for the sectional couch.
To see what else everyone has planned check out the One Room Challenge page linked below:
It’s almost the end of the One Room Challenge, next week is the final reveal. This vegetable garden project didn’t quite get to where I had hoped it would in terms of building an additional pergola but we have had tons of leafy greens so that part was a success.
Everyday, we go out and fill this colander with swiss chard, baby greens, kale and some herbs. I’ve been taking photos to show what we’ve harvested because it is so exciting for us!
Sometimes we pick the Swiss Chard when the leaves are almost full size like this and I slice them into ribbons for a salad.
We make lots of kale chips because that is the only way the kids will eat it.
I’m glad that I bought the Swiss Chard and Kale as seedlings in May because it gave us a head start. The seeds we grew have worked but are way smaller still.
Sometimes we pick the greens in baby size too like the mixes that we usually get from the grocery store.
This is the Candy Cane Swiss chard that I got from the nursery and I love the colour of these stems!
Now we have lavender blooming in another area of the yard thanks to the former owner – what a treat! We have been garnishing drinks with it, adding it to desserts, and enjoying the scent of it inside.
I had been procrastinating with the deer fencing plan…that was until the deer started hanging out in our yard again. I went to get cedar 2×4’s cut and some deer mesh and starting building the structure. Getting these materials definitely reminded me of this ORC from 2017 that was featured on Apartment Therapy.
Staining the wood black was tons of extra labour but was worth it. I’m not sure if I’ll do white or the same taupe as the hot tub this time.
When summer is so short in Canada we are enjoying making the most of it and I’m learning which seeds to get ready for fall planting (carrots, beets, garlic). Cooking and eating salads is way more interesting with lettuce and edible flowers straight from the garden!
Have a look at where everyone else is as the end of the One Room Challenge here.
Here’s a look at our living room in our open-concept main floor when we first moved in. I was excited to have a fireplace again but this colour wasn’t right for me.
Originally I thought I’d paint everything white, including a wash on the tiles but then changed my mind and I’m glad I went with black instead. At the time it felt like a huge risk but it’s just paint and I was happy with the dramatic results.
Here’s the progress…
Before: Beige trim and blue walls.
After: Now the fireplace is a feature and I the room has a more modern feel.
Before: The yellow/beige colour didn’t have the same impact with objects displayed.
After: The tiles now look natural and still go with the house.
Now with the black paint, the spotlight at night and natural light during the day create a great space to make seasonal displays.
This is a wider view of the room before I painted the kitchen cabinets. Once you start changing one area it can start to make everything else look incohesive.
This was not my first time painting a fireplace. 7 years ago we had just moved into our first home near Montreal and this was my first project. The photo will link to the blog post showing how I used chalk paint on the wooden mantel. This is the same couch that has travelled with us from Montreal – Toronto and now Kelowna.
Instead of dreaming of a renovation someday, is there a simple paint fix that could make a big change today?
After showing this before and after photo of our new kitchen that was done with very little resources, I’ve had a few questions from people wanting to know how to their paint kitchen cabinets.
This is the second kitchen I’ve painted and yes, it takes many hours to do but the results and low cost are worth it.
Here are some before & after photos of our former GTA home. I started by painting the cabinets in 2015, then trim & crown moulding and in 2016 we replaced the counter, sink & faucet and added a backsplash. When it came time to get rid of the old counter, sink and faucet I posted it for free on Kijiji and someone came to pick it up – everything got reused.
Primer -STIX by Benjamin Moore (It is expensive but doesn’t require any sanding!!)
Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Pearl Finish
Velour or Foam Roller
TSP to clean and degrease the cabinets first – very necessary!
I considered renting a sprayer to do the cabinets but instead used a roller since I have limited moments of time to work so I could slowly paint a little bit each day. Also if you’re using a sprayer and working in a garage you have to make sure that the temperature isn’t too cold.
Choosing a Paint Colour
There are unlimited colours to choose from. For our last house, I considered a dark colour but since it was a galley kitchen with white appliances I decided on white so that the appliances would blend in and the white would make the small space feel larger.
For our current kitchen, I used the same shade of white as the last time because it worked and I love the name – Vanilla Milkshake. I like classic style and for the number of hours it takes to paint the cabinets, I don’t want to grow tired of the colour.
The shade of beige/grey for the island is Pashmina, which has brown tones rather than purple tones which work with the cooler white.
There are so many shades of white if you go that route and while the paint chip may appear like a dark white it will like a bright white once it’s on the cabinets. In my experience, white and beige/grey look lighter when painted on cabinets.
Cabinet Doors off or on?
For the last house, I kept the doors on to paint because I was apprehensive about taking the doors off and not having the hinges line up properly afterward. It worked fine and I had good light to work with but some areas were hard to reach. It took me one week of late nights and one day to complete this entire kitchen (while my husband was out of town!).
This time I took the doors off and did all painting in the garage. It felt like the process went on forever because I would only work for about 1-2 hours at a time and this kitchen has 24 doors and 12 drawers.
I painted the upper doors first, then the bottom doors, then the drawers.
Each cabinet door needs:
1 coat primer front
1 coat primer back
2 coats paint front side
1-2 coats paint back side
Then you should ideally wait 5 – 7 days until the paint has cured. This step is important. I was eager to restore order and put the doors back on before the paint had cured and I chipped the paint. Even once the paint has cured, small chips happen in frequently used areas like around the knobs and door openings.
Process Photos from Both Kitchens:
The first kitchen had a few more steps after painting. The white opened up this space but it was so basic still. The backsplash was what pulled it all together and the quartz counters elevated the kitchen.
Our Current Kitchen
This is how the kitchen looked when I was still painting the walls white.
More to come with how to add more details to the kitchen such as:
We have a transformed kitchen thanks to new stools courtesy of Wayfair Canada and several coats of paint on the cabinets.
There was no renovation involved and it feels like a new space.
We love our stools which were sponsored by Wayfair Canada. These kick-started the whole project and kept me motivated to finish all of the painting. They’re adjustable in height and kids can’t stain them. I’ve linked to this Williston Forge Halsted Bar Stool below.
This is a photo of the kitchen when we first moved in this summer. As you can see, paint and furniture choices make a huge difference.
The outer cabinets are white and the island is a taupe/greige colour. I had planned to change the drawer pulls but it turned out that the screws were glued into the knob and couldn’t be removed. This is a detail of how the brass knobs look on the island.
This was the before – some knobs are more tarnished than others.
Here’s one process photo with the island being primed. I was also in the midst of making lots of eucalyptus wreaths that weekend too!
On the island, I added some trim that was simple to install and added some character. Along the edge of the countertops I sanded the wood edge and stained it black.
Here’s another look at the before and after.
Now the kitchen feels more like our style and it’s ready in time for Christmas. My parents are arriving in a couple of days and I know that we’ll be spending most of our time gathered around the island cooking and eating. We like to say that a family that eats together, stays together.
I didn’t show any progress pictures from this project but I documented the process along the way to post later.
Today is the last day for the One Room Challenge reveals. What I like about participating is how the event gives me a deadline to finish a room in the house otherwise I tend to let them stay unfinished for months.
I didn’t think that this room was going to come together on time because I’ve been looking for a secondhand cabinet and hadn’t found what I was looking for. When I did the Board & Batten Boys room in 2017 it took months until I found the right solid wood bunk beds and that was in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where the population is into the millions!
Kelowna and the surrounding area is a much smaller population but after no luck on Kijiji, Craigslist and Marketplace I lucked out at Habitat for Humanity Restore yesterday and had the final piece. Secondhand shopping is so much fun when you find what you’ve been looking for.
Here is the cabinet with louvred doors that I brought home last night and painted this morning. I still need to find hardware and raise the height to make it work as a standing desk.
Another more challenging part of this room was installing the floating shelf above the desk. I used blind shelf supports from Lee Valley to display the plants.
Some work still needs to be done in this area but it’s so close to being ready.
I painted the mirror a glossy black to play up the round shapes of the wood and give it a more modern look.
I loved this ceramic lamp base that was hiding beneath a very big and brown shade, I’m still looking for the right shade. Part of the inspiration for this office was the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg that mixes traditional, modern and whimsical decor.
Remember what this room looked like at the beginning of October?
There are so many spectacular rooms that have been transformed in these past 6 weeks that are definitely worth checking out at www.oneroomchallenge.com.
This week’s update for the One Room Challenge is about a quick and easy project.
We no longer have our plants or pots so I set out to get new ones for the office. Finding plants was easy but to buy new pots gets pricey and I needed quite a few. Now that we’re starting off fresh in so many ways and I’m continuing to use secondhand as much as possible I went to check out thrift stores for pots. I decided to unify them with paint and in a grey, imitation cement look. Here’s the before (I’m still looking for a pot for the fern).
I used a chalky finish spray paint (and did a terrible job of it) to have a base for the paint to adhere to.
Then I painted them with a couple of different grey paint samples, Benjamin Moore Willow Creek and Baltic Grey to be specific.
Here’s the finished look. Now that the pots are all the same grey it’s not as busy with lots of colours and the plants take centre stage. Being able to choose secondhand items for their shape rather than colour made it much easier to find the right pieces however I still need to find a couple more!
These will be going on a floating shelf that I’m planning to put up above the desk.
Here’s the link to see how the other One Room Challenge projects are going:
After 5 wonderful years in Newmarket, we are now about to start a new adventure in a new home in a new city – again!
In March the opportunity to move closer to my family in Vancouver came up and within 3 weeks we got the house on the market and sold. We bought a new house in Kelowna, BC and to make the big move we sold all of our furniture except for our beds, couch and coffee table.
We still had almost 40 bins of stuff to move but in my experience with moving, often furniture doesn’t fit the same in a new space anyway. Most of our furniture was secondhand and even though I loved what we had, it will be fun to have the chance to find new pieces and do it all again.
The hardest part about packing for me was all of the materials to make projects that I hadn’t done yet. Some materials I kept but all of those scraps of wood and moulding couldn’t come with us, luckily they will be used by others instead.
I had planned to take photos of the empty house before we moved but there just wasn’t time- these are a few I had on my phone. What I did realize was that the house still had so much character from the moulding and still felt like home, despite the fact that it was empty in the end.
We’re still waiting for our belongings to arrive at the new house so I can’t start any projects yet.
My husband and father-in-law, who flew from Colombia to help drive our dog and the car out, have been sleeping on camping mattresses until our beds arrive.
In the meantime, I’m staying with our kids at my parents a few hours away until we have our things and can properly get settled into the new house. Aren’t parents the best?
Here’s Cali (via a Facetime call) at our new home in Kelowna. As with our other houses, this one is in great shape and in a nice neighbourhood. I have lots of projects planned but they will just be cosmetic ones to personalize it and add some more architectural interest.
The first thing I’ll do is paint – that is always the easiest, fastest and least expensive way to make a huge difference.