Something about this time of year makes me feel seriously inspired. Maybe it’s the barrage of Fall-time Pinterest DIYs that flood my feed. Or maybe the pumpkin-flavored everything has magical, creative powers. Fall is here (despite the lingering hot weather in Southern California), and I am excited.
Mike and I have had these barstools since we first moved in together like 8 years ago. They were free (from a friends garage). They have always been just sort of blah; there to just serve their purpose of hosting people’s bums. The barstools and I came to a crossroads. I didn’t love them, but I also didn’t want to just get rid of perfectly usable seating. Conundrum!
And then this DIY hit me like a ton of bricks. A simple upcycle-project would save these stools from imminent banishment. The stools and I sighed with relief.
Not great, right? Obviously, these chairs were just screaming for a makeover, and here is how I gave them a second–actually, third life.
Stuff you will need:
Barstools or chairs
White spray paint (with primer)
White spray paint (flat)
Fabric of choice
Staple gun / staples
Metallic gold leaf paint or spray paint
Step 1: Disassemble old bar stool
Flip your barstool over, and unscrew the top from the base. (This one was super easy)
Step 2: Wipe down and clean stools and stool tops
Lysol wipes are your friend. You definitely want to make sure that the stool is squeaky clean before re-upholstering the top, and spraying the base.
Step 3: Spray barstools with 1st coat of white spray paint (with primer)
I used this Krylon paint and primer. The first coat will look a little patchy, but that is ok. Get as much coverage as you can, using the entire can for both barstools.
Step 4: Allow first coat to dry, and apply 2nd coat of spray paint
Once first coat has dried (10-20 mins), apply the 2nd coat of spray paint. I used this Rust-oleum Flat White spray paint.
Step 5: Cut and staple fabric to seat tops
Make sure your fabric fits over the seat, all the way around. After you have sized your fabric, cut it and then begin to staple it to the underside of the seat top. (This is super fun!) I ordered my fabric from this etsy shop, and used this Stanley staple gun.
Step 6: Paint it GOLD
When the barstool is dry and reassembled, customize your chair with gold, metallic detailing. I used this Martha Stewart guilding paint. I painted the knobs and the foot bar, and it really pulled the stool together nicely, in my opinion.
And here is the finished product:
I love Emily’s transformation! Totally different, right?
The first apartment that Tuvia and I lived in was tiiiinnnyyyy (as in smaller than the number of letters I used in “tiny”). Since we were trying to fit into a space and we weren’t sure that we wanted to commit to hardcore furniture just yet, we outfitted almost our entire apartment in IKEA.
The pictures from the first apartment are all from my old cell phone so the quality isn’t the best but it should give you an idea of what we’re talking about.
the view from the front door- I am literally wedged into the front door
The picture above is before we got any furniture into it and the one below is as much of the living room/dining room/entryway/den as I could get in the tiny quarters available
ignore random mirror leaning against the wall
We used vertical space as much as we could, obviously. The table was from IKEA and expanded for when we had guests. The coffee table was actually there on loan from a friend who got it for free from Craigslist. The guy he got it from had made it from pieces of wood and the top is bottle caps with a piece of glass on top, but his girlfriend was making him get rid of it. She clearly has no appreciation for fine furniture. I kinda miss that table…
You can kind of see a little better in this picture
This is before we put anything on the walls, but I can’t seem to find any pictures of the finished product.
Anyway, once we started that way, it seemed to make sense to continue. It serves our purposes and our wallets. So far everything has held up beautifully through three (yup, three) apartments, two moves, and a very active toddler with a propensity for climbing on everything. (One day I’ll get pictures up of the second apartment so you can see how we used our furniture there, plus I like it a LOT better than the first)
We do have a few things that aren’t IKEA and while in my own way I worship that Smaland-ish store, I’m oddly proud of the things we have that are from elsewhere. I just like having things that not everyone else has and being able to say that not everything is IKEA.
The list of non-IKEA furniture includes:
a baby grand piano (gift), the couches (Jennifer Convertibles), our beds (Sleepy’s), dining room table (Craigslist), chairs (West Elm that we slowly collected over time), ottomans (Target), side table (West Elm), all the furniture in Aiden’s room except the Expedit bookcase, various accessories like pillows and curtains and what not, and….my great-grandmother’s desk!
Okay, I’m realizing that we have way too many pieces of furniture, but let’s focus on the desk (sorry about the quality of the photo)
Not only is it not IKEA, but the fact that it was my great-grandmother’s makes it a billion times more special for me. A lot of people in our neighborhood are lucky enough to have hand-me-down furniture but ours is limited to this one thing and I love it.
My mother sent me a picture of my great-grandmother, Baba, but hasn’t learned how to turn off the flash on her phone and I haven’t learned how to unflashify (it’s a word) the picture:
Baba, Zeida, my two older brothers, and my sister
The desk isn’t our usual taste and we were thinking of painting and changing out knobs, but my mother really didn’t want us to and I find that I’m happy to have it as it was intended- scratches and all!
We’ve only had it since we moved to our current apartment, but it’s been in our bedroom in a state of disgrace for two years. Two years! I continued the filing system I created when we were first married, but our filing needs have changed since then.
So, last week when Tuvia put up mirrors and did various smaller things around the apartment, he also put up shelves above the desk!
Tuv making sure the first shelves are level
As you can see, we put two shelves on each level
The shelves were a bit of a debate because I wanted pretty ones, possibly floating shelves, a more built-in look, or white, but ultimately the $2 IKEA Ekby Laiva ones won out because they’re $2.
The six shelves inviting us to put our what-not on them
the requisite Tuvia-in-front-of-project picture
We always try to clean up right away, it makes things easier and definitely makes me happy.
the shelves with the desk and oh, boy those are scratches on the floor!
The top shelf holds all the playbills from the plays Tuvia was in during college. His aunt had him autograph it every year and gave it to him when he graduated. I love it because it’s sort of a timeline of our story: the play I first saw him, the play when I met him, the play when we got engaged, and the play a little before we got married.
I must have gone through our files four or five times to figure out what supplies we still needed and we went to the Container Store. Home Goods rocks my world, but the Container Store is my happy place. It’s so ORGANIZED! I realize that’s an obvious statement, but I feel energized and relaxed just by walking into that store.
Tomorrow I’ll update with our Container Store purchases and pictures of the desk now that it has our stuff back on it. Have you gone through a desk redo or added shelves to keep up with your needs? How about a new filing system? I love to hear how people organize their files! I’m odd that way
P.S. the drawers of the desk are so wonderfully organized and functional now that I’ve gone through a desk-purge!