31 August 2010

PIY Pointers: Picking Your Rescue Furniture

Hey my Paint-it-Yourself friends! Let's go to the very beginning.  Picture it - you are contemplating a furniture painting project for a needed space and you either:

A - have a piece (or several pieces) of furniture hiding in your garage/basement/mom's house (or in plain sight if you're contemplating a do-over of furniture you currently use)
B - you want to go thrifting to find a piece to paint (because who doesn't love the thrill of the hunt??)

There's a lot of old furniture out there, so how do you know what's worth saving?  Well the short answer is - it depends on how much work you want to do!  Let's start small, okay friends?  Rome wasn't built in a day and you have other things on the go.   Here are the top things I consider when deciding if a piece is worth rescuing with a fresh new transformation.

Take a look at the piece and ask yourself, do you love the shape of it?  Because this is really and truly the one thing you cannot change.  Does it have good lines?  Does it fit your personality?  If you're a french country kind of gal and the piece is modern and angular, will you ever truly love it?  If it's a fairly basic shape, then you're in luck because the sky's the limit for a new look.

Give the piece a really good once over.  Run your hands over it and check to see if it's wood/wood veneer or laminate.  I personally wouldn't choose to work with laminate, I have in the past but it tends to be cheaply made and you can't really sand it.  You can work on a laminate piece, it's just more limiting.  Open and close the drawers to see if they run smoothly and fit properly.  If they're a little sticky you can always sand the edges a little for a better glide or if they're on runners try a little WD40.  Put your hand on the piece and give it a little push.  Is it sturdy or does it feel loose in the joints?  Take a screwdriver and tighten each one then try again.  This often fixes the issue.  I bring a screwdriver to the thrift stores so I can do a quick tightening and see if a piece is worthwhile.

If you're new to Paint-it-Yourself, make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew in your early projects.  You want to feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing and displaying your piece and if you're working on a huge hutch that needs stripping and weeks of hard labour - you may start to resent your project.  Start smaller, learn as you go and move up to bigger pieces.  You'll also want to make sure you have an adequate sized workspace for a week or two (or however long your project takes).  If you're constantly having to move your piece and put everything way every time you work on it, it will take twice as long to do.  So set yourself up somewhere, whether it's the garage, the basement or a spare room and tell the family you're taking over the space for a while.

This is probably the most important deciding factor for me personally.  If I love the piece in it's bare bones state and I have a vision for what I want to do with it - I go with it, even if it needs minor repairs.  If it's a good, solid piece with great shape and I don't feel a spark, then forget it!  It languishes in my basement until I eventually get rid of it.  You have to WANT to do it!

So tell me, how do you choose what piece you want to work on?


  1. I am so scared of DIYs. It's pitiful. I've had a hutch that I want to distress and paint sitting in my garage for a year!

  2. Bookmarking this (and emailing it to my husband!). I looove your DIY projects and these tips are helpful (and encouraging!) :)

  3. Great pointers Lenore! I think you are spot on with everything that you pointed out.

    I love French Provencial, anything with nice curvy legs or lines. Or I also like furniture that has some character to it. I also usually have in mind what I am going to do with something once I spot it. If I find something and I love it (out thrifting of course) I always ask myself where I am going to put it when I am done and if I have the room. That determines if I buy it or not, since I refurbish for myself and don't resell.

  4. Those are such a great tips sweetie:) Thanks for that! Have a wonderful 1st day of September:)

    ps: I am hosting a lovely GIVEAWAY, so please join in:) ...I bet you will love it!!!


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore