Tag Archives: Budget

Dressing Table Ideas…

When I was at Uni my Mum helped me earn a few extra quid selling my old tat at a Car Boot Sale. It worked, we earned quite a bit but I came back with a car full of other people’s tat too!! The only thing that has survived that haul some six years ago was a dressing table. I spent a whole day stripping the orangey varnish off and another applying a limewash finish and Rennie Mackintosh handles to the drawers. Since then it has gathered dust and gradually turned orange again in my old bedroom at my parents house.

She could do with a bit of TLC

Pine ages in the sunlight to what is fetchingly referred to as a ‘cigarette yellow’ tone, as you can see mine is looking pretty orangey which I think is a little bit of the overhang from the old varnish as well as the sunlight. So, seeing as she has made the transit from the Shropshire countryside and finally been summoned to my house in London after all these years I think she is in need of a make over. What do you think?

I have got a few ideas. I’m definitely going for a white legs, wood top like this:

But I’m not sure that I want to go dark on the top. I like the light wood. We have light wood throughout the house on the kitchen sideboards, on the floors in the hallway and lounge, so I am thinking of keeping the top quite light.  But I don’t think I want to leave it just plain either.  I love these ideas using old French typography:

French Typography Side Table via Curbside Collector

But then I thought that what with all of the crap that I am going to be keeping on it, it might look a bit cluttered. Also, half of the words would be covered up and half revealed so that you wouldn’t get full impact of the text. What to do? I wanted a pattern, I thought about using Rennie Mackintosh as an inspiration as the handles are Mackintosh and I have a Mackintosh jewellery case. But again, I thought that this might be too much. Then I came across this beautiful idea…

Kara Paslay came up with the idea of spray painting through lace. This is genius, it is so feminine and delicate looking-perfect for a dressing table. I had no idea that it would look so pretty!!

So what I want to do is find a piece of lace with a pattern on as large as this one above. I have been scouting around on the net but not come up with anything so large so far. What I would like to do is spray the top white so that the pattern that comes through will be the wood (hopefully!). What do you think? What would you do? Have you had any experience doing anything like this? Any tips?

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Things I have learnt so far…

I have not been ‘at this’ for very long and I know that at the moment you may have seen very little DIY but believe me we are working hard just to have a place in which we can carry out DIY at the moment! And all the while I have learnt a few things that I would like to pass on and see if you agree with…

Spend money on good paint brushes, the ones from the shop where everything costs one hundred pence lose their bristles and leave a pattern of them in your paint…rubbish!

Don’t spend a lot of money on buckets, cleaning equipment and sponges. If your house is truly a 2ndhandhouse then you will ruin every single piece of DIY/ cleaning equipment within the first month of hard graft. Save your pennies for that Cath Kidston dust pan and brush set for next year when all you’ll need to sweep up are the odd crumbs from one of your numerous and famous dinner soirees that you hold at your beautiful new abode.

Save all your tubs from the margarine, tomatoes and meat to be washed out. Used to stand empty paint brushes in, store old nails that you don’t want to throw away just in case and keeping all your screwdrivers together,  you can never have enough of these!

Do spend money on white paint, buying the cheaper stuff is a false economy as you’ll have to do more coats which, while probably costing you the same in the long run, will eat into your time and put a strain on your back, neck, arms, social life.

Things take longer than you imagine they will. Always. Without question.

Make sure that you have EVERYTHING that you need for the job you are about to start before you start. Just because it’s upsetting to start a job and then have to run to the nearest DIY shop before you can finish!

Prioritise your money. There is so much to do in 2ndhandhouse that whenever I go to the DIY store I find myself buying all sorts of bits and pieces that, if I really think about it, I won’t get round to using for months. It’s a waste of the money that I could be using for the project that I am on now.

Get to know some local tradesmen. There are things that you will not know how to do, no matter how much you Google them. Tradesmen are knowledgeable, experienced and often are really creative. They tend to have great ideas for room lay outs and materials that you never thought about using. Local tradesmen that you find through friends are also a lot better than finding random people on the internet who will often be working under a brand name, charging you extra for that brand and fancy website. Local tradesmen, recommended by friends, are also great because their work is often showcased in your friends homes.

Remember that you can take stuff back. If you bought the wrong type of glue for the job, the tool you bought doesn’t actually do what you thought it did or the fitting you bought is the wrong size for it’s intended setting then, take it back. Buying and renovating a house is expensive enough without having excess materials that you aren’t going to use lying around. As long as they fulfil the requirements for return then go for gold! The place that we bought our tiles from operate a policy where you have to buy a pack of a certain size (in our case it was 30) but you can bring back the rest for a refund. In our case we only used just under half so we can get a refund on the other half. Obviously, you can’t take a half used pot of paint back ( you wouldn’t take a half-eaten chocolate bar back to the supermarket would you?) but if you are clever and don’t damage the packaging a rash purchase can be reversed. This doesn’t of course, mean that you don’t have to go back to the DIY store, which you do if you want the refund and this may add to the feeling that it has become your second home!

There’s probably many, many more. So let me know yours! What gems of knowledge can you impart to me? Is there anything you gree with/ don’t agree with? Like to share any funny stories of how you found them out? Let me know!

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