Redecorating on a dime

Considering HGTV is basically the only channel on in our home, I think it's safe to say that I was bitten by the "Design on a Dime" bug this winter break. It was the first time that T and I actually had zero plans to go anywhere or do anything over the break and let me tell you: It was glorious. 

I'm sitting here on my last day of winter break, relishing in the inexpensive and easy home renovations that we were able to do over the course of a week and feeling very accomplished. If only I knew redecorating would be this easy, I would not have put it off for two years!

Project #1: Painting four areas of the house

Total cost: $68.16 {two new cans of paint, brushes, rollers, tape-- we reused older paint we had from a prior painting job when we first moved in}

Downstairs bathroom before (plain white walls-- and sorry for the selfie. It was the only pre-painting bathroom pic I had...)

Downstairs bathroom after (I purchased those prints + frames for $69.90 total. Frames are from Target, and the prints are hand-drawn from my friend Hillary Kupish at they rock!)

Pre-paint entryway before (sorry again-- I forgot to take pre-pics! This was from a Halloween party that we had, and yes, that is a fake cigarette...)

Entryway after

No pre-painting master bathroom photos, but this is the color we chose for our master bathroom (which was a hideously plain white before). It's kind of a Tiffany blue-ish. However, if not matched with the right accompaniments, it has the potential to be very little-boys-room-blue. That's why I'm adding a lot of feminine accessories and complementary colors/patterns so that it stands out instead of looking too much like a primary color. I'll be hanging succulents in here as well to off-set the blue. 

I also purchased these shelves at Target for $25 total and LOVE them. I had most of the candles, etc., that are on them, but bought the two miniature succulents there as well for $9.98. I'm going to pick up another set for the opposite wall in a few weeks. 

Project #2: Rearranging living room furniture

Total cost: Free!

I never liked the fact that our couch faced the TV because when we had company over, the conversation arrangement was quite awkward. I subscribe to Real Simple Magazine, and this month's issue was all about finding balance. Amongst several great articles was one about "feng shui." I've never really felt the need to feng shui my home, but they had some great tips about furniture placement that made sense to me. Instead of having this wide open space like we did before where everything centered around the TV, once we moved the Christmas tree out, we created a new seating arrangement which feels like a cozy conversation nook, but still is functional to be able to watch TV if we want. 

It's amazing what a simple switch of furniture will do to your home! Aside from creating better space for conversation, it also opened up our living area so much more, so it feels very wide open and has a great flow. 

Living room before

Living Room after

Project #3: Restoring vintage night stands

Total cost: $48.67 (plus the night stands we bought this summer for $75 total)

Our friends were selling these gorgeous vintage night stands this summer and we were in the market for some new ones. Their design and hardware was really beautiful, but unfortunately the paint was chipping pretty badly and it was an older, yellowing color that we had trouble matching. Instead of trying to preserve the gold trim but picking the wrong base color, we decided to repaint the entire set completely to better match our bedroom decor. The night stands turned out great!

Night stands before

The project in its entirety took about 36 hours, but about 28 of those hours were spent waiting for the various applications to dry. It is definitely something that could be done on a weekend for sure. I started at 10:30 on Saturday morning and they were finished by 9:00 Sunday evening. 

I had heard about this great painting/priming/bonding/glazing product called "Rust-oleum" which is basically "furniture painting/restoration in a box." Sold. Easy and simple was the name of the game for me, because I've never done any type of furniture restoration before, and quite frankly, construction is not my forte. 

They sell Rust-oleum at Home Depot, so I went down there on Saturday morning and the staff were super helpful. The great part about this kit is that I got to select which paint color I wanted based on my project, which the paint department mixed for me without cost. Home Depot actually has an end cap up right now which shows various products being refinished with Rust-oleum. I was sold. 

I chose the color "Seaside" for my project but allllllmost went with Federal Grey. Now that I know how easy it is, I could re-do it in a couple of years I suppose. :)

The Rust-oleum furniture transformation kit costs $35, but we had to buy masks, gloves, some sponge brushes and paint remover first (paint remover/thinner is not necessary for this project, but because our night stands had a lot of chipping paint, we didn't want to paint over the chips and instead opted to remove all that old paint entirely) which brought us up to $48.67. Not too shabby!

It took T about an hour to chip off all the paint from the night stands, but once he got that done I began step one of the process which was to apply a de-greaser to everywhere paint would be going on the furniture. This took about 30 minutes total. 

After I applied the de-greaser and cleaned it all off, I had to wait another hour before I could apply the first coat of paint. 

The first coat of paint took me about an hour for both pieces + the drawers on all of them. I had to wait 3 more hours to apply the second coat of paint, so I caught up on Parenthood episodes I'd missed while I waited... :)

Three hours later, I applied the second coat of paint which took another hour, and then I needed to wait three more hours to begin step three, which was to apply an {optional} decorative glaze for more of a vintage feel. We decided to do it this time, but I am not sure I would do it on another project. 

While we waited for that second coat of paint to dry, we took my parents out to dinner for their Christmas present, so we passed the time well. 

When we got home that night, I applied the optional decorative glaze, which comes out like a dark brown stain. I think the idea is to have more of a wood texture emerge from the furniture, but the key here is to apply the glaze verrrrrrrrry lightly or it will turn certain parts an orange color if it isn't wiped up quickly. The kit contains a large roll of tacky cloth that is used to immediately remove the majority of the glaze once it's applied so that it isn't stuck on there. 

After the glaze was applied which took another hour, I had to wait eight hours, so I timed it well with bedtime. I finished the glazing part around 11:00 at night, and then when I woke up, I applied the final step which is a thick bonding liquid that kind of looks like glue. I had to re-paint everything again with this bonding material and then it had to sit for 12 hours before being brought back into the house and before the drawer handles could be re-attached. 

Overall it was an extremely easy process, and I am definitely going to do it again! This kit is great for restoring garage-sale or Goodwill furniture pieces that might not be in the best shape when you get them, but with the right DIY tips and tricks can look like a brand new piece of furniture when you're finished. 

Here are some "after" photos of the night stands:

So for $290.70 we got:

1) Four new spaces painted in our home (master bathroom, downstairs bathroom, upstairs hallway/landing area and entryway)

2) Two new night stand pieces for our bedroom

3) A new setting arrangement for our living room space + much more room downstairs

4) Updated decor for the master bathroom

5) Updated decor for the downstairs bathroom

(Both bathrooms were totally unfinished before...)

6) Rug for our entry way


Overall I am really happy with everything we were able to do for under $300 which was our budget! I feel like I have a completely updated home and we were able to do this in a very limited amount of time. We started these projects on December 29th and they were finished January 5th. :) 

I'd love to hear some DIY projects you've done "on a dime"-- comment below for inspiration towards my next home upgrade project!


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