Furniture transformations for people who aren’t good at things

I really adore my new apartment in Bloomingdale. I love the low rent, the exposed brick, and the suspiciously high amount of light for a basement unit. I love the fact that I have access to three different Metro lines, and I love the fact that a local loiterer recently yelled, “Whoo! There’s a new booty in town!” as I biked past him on North Capitol. That cat-caller has one hell of a sense of community.

Like many new apartments, though, it is a work in progress. I am on the hunt for a sweet vintage cabinet, for example, to round out the northwest corner of the living room. And our decorating isn’t quite, quite finished.

We got a lot closer last weekend, though. You know how many creative-but-distracted people have this brilliant queue of DIY projects that they are totally going to get around to, it’s just that it’s been a crazy week? We finally ticked one off.

Longer ago than I care to admit, I garbage-picked this dresser. It was in good condition, save for plenty of scratches – and it has a lot of storage space, which is one thing that my new pad lacks.

We decided that it could both ensconce our linens and support our television, and serendipitously fit perfectly on the raised brick step at the base of what was perhaps once a serviceable fireplace. We decided that a great shade of mustard would look rad against the exposed brick.

I have no idea how to do anything practical. I cannot stress this enough. If I can manage a project like this, a kitten without any paws can.

You start by sanding the piece you’d like to paint. This basically means that you grab a piece of sandpaper and rub it all over the thing until it looks terrible. Also, definitely make sure you lay newspaper on the ground before you do this, because cream-colored dust will fly everywhere. I am pretty sure it doesn’t matter which newspaper you use to line the floor – I assume that New York Times works just as well as News of the World, but I can’t actually prove this.

In any event, once the furniture is all sanded, you could either a.) abandon all the pieces for a day or two and let them sit on your floor, because you got invited to a friend’s house, or b.) begin painting right away! We used paint-and-primer in one, for the sole reason that I liked the color the most. If you choose a paint that doesn’t include primer, you probably need to paint primer on first. In any event, here is what the pieces of the dresser looked like after Coat One of The Shade of Yellow Paint I Liked Best.

At this point, you might notice a rookie mistake…it probably would have been a better idea to remove the knobs before painting. Novice move. We removed them after coat two, though, and since we put them back on in the right place, it doesn’t matter much. Since the knobs were sort of a faded metal color anyway, we painted them black.

Here is the finished product. I am thrilled with the results! I also can’t wait to paint all the other assorted wooden structures in my apartment. Be warned, overly-Gothick-cubic-hand-me-down-nightstand-from-the-1980’s – YOU’RE NEXT.

– An all-too domestic Natalie

About Natalie Shure

literature, life and latte lady

2 Responses to “Furniture transformations for people who aren’t good at things”

  1. Did you title this post directly at me? I swear. I love this post so much! I fail at anything crafty, and furniture and home decor projects terrify me. But I feel like I could do this one and not totally fail! Thanks for sharing. PS, the dresser turned out great!

  2. That looks great!
    Babe and I just moved, and I’m coming up with some pretty crafty, not-so-expensive ways to decorate, create happy/comfy space, and furnish the place. It’ll take a few months, but it’s fun!

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