A 20-something's quest to design with fun, fancy, and flair!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

DIY Dressing Table Makeover, Part 1

Now that I have some bedding picked out for my new apartment, I thought the next step would be to start getting some furniture. I already have a few existing pieces and in order to go along with my budget I wanted to reuse as many of them as possible - and why not? Great pieces of furniture can be redone to match so many different decorating styles, and getting creative is so much less wasteful (and so much more fun!) than buying something new. 

I've been looking for ideas for a makeup desk, and the picture above is one that I absolutely fell in love with. It definitely has an antique vibe but one that could be modernized based on color and the actual piece of furniture. The metallic accents and drawer pulls also add a beautiful luxurious touch. With a few tweaks, a desk like this would go perfectly with my new comforter.

Reality check ... this is what I actually have to work with. Not quite the beautiful vintage desk I was inspired by, but my old makeup desk from Target is the closest thing I had! It was white when I bought it, but in a streak of 7th grade inspiration I painted it all sorts of crazy mismatched shades of purple and magenta (middle school was not the best time for me, clearly.)

There is some hope for it though, as it has these really pretty floral accents on the side panels and a row of embroidery etched into the top. I thought that at the very least, I could bring it back to its original (slightly lackluster) glory by re-painting it white. But student budget in mind, I refused to buy proper paint and stole some white Behr ceiling paint from my dad.

The paint worked just fine, but it had a super glossy finish that I wasn't expecting. Luckily I was dumb enough to paint the table outside in extreme humidity, so the paint actually dried a bit tacky which dulled the gloss. Phew!
(Do keep in mind high humidity = very long drying time, probably about 2 hours per coat.)

As you can see with the side panels, painting the table a little imperfectly (humidity, big paint brush, not focusing on going over every single inch) made the table look worn. I ended up liking this slightly distressed look because even when you can see the purple beneath it gives the table the antique feel I was going for.

Here is the table in its halfway finished stage. Next I am going to add a few more distressing touches and some gold or silver accents, depending on which goes better with the bedding. Now a few tips for those of you DIY-ers out there who are replicating this project (or any project involving painting furniture):

1. Minimize paint spillage. Because there will be a lot. That means a big dropcloth (old bed sheets work great) and lift your furniture up from the ground (I elevated the table on soup cans to get the very bottom.) I also wouldn't recommend having a hot date planned for after working on a project like this, because out at dinner later that night a friend pointed out that I had a bride-of-Frankenstein streak of white paint in my hair.

2. Do not, for the love of God, paint furniture outside during a rainstorm. The paint will take forever to dry, your hair will get frizzy, and it will be an overall mess. Spare yourself.

3. Don't wimp out and give up after half an hour. It took me three times, but after finally covering myself in bug spray, getting a decent iTunes playlist together, and enlisting backup support (ie. mom) I got the table painted in about two hours total, minus waiting time between coats. If you think you can slap paint on a piece of wood and make it look cute, you're probably wrong. I was wrong. Point taken.

Updates to follow as I finish up the table!

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