Stephanie has been living in her maisonette flat for a while now but juggling two jobs and working above and beyond ordinary full-time hours only until very recently meant that she hasn’t had time, opportunity or spare money to deal with decorating.
She had bought the flooring but that was another thing not yet done, so as she’d been going through a pretty shoddy time of things lately Mike and I decided to surprise her with a complete living room makeover carried out while she was at work.
First we needed to plan what we wanted to do. While Steph didn’t have any decent furniture or decorations at all, we wanted to make it homely, comfortable and practical for her. As with everything though, we had a budget to stick to. What emerged was a mixture of bargain hunting old, sourcing old furniture to upcycle, and sales-savvy new to create an entirely new room.
Stephanie’s living room is very small so utilising all the available space was important. We wanted to incorporate a living area, a dining area and an office area as she often takes her work home with her. However, we didn’t want it to look cluttered and overdone. The challenge was on.
eBay proved itself worthy in a matter of minutes where we managed to bag an oak nest of tables and pine bathroom cabinet from one seller as well as a dining table and pair of chairs from another. The total cost for everything? £38! And both pick-up points were just minutes from IKEA Lakeside where we planned on heading to.
Once we had collected our bargain finds it was time to get cracking!
First I removed the fabric seats from the chairs. The next step was to enlist a couple of helpers to give me a hand with sanding the nest of tables down. We used 100 grit sandpaper for this job.
The aim is to rough up the furniture enough to be able to apply a primer before painting.
Make sure the area you are working in is airy and well-ventilated before you begin. We used Rustoleum Surface Primer which sprays on quickly and easily.
The primer dries very quickly so by the time the final table in the set had been primed we were able to go back and give them another coat.
We love the shabby chic style with a houseful of kids as you don’t have to substitute functionality for style or vice versa. With so many children at home we can’t afford to be too precious with our furniture. It’s inevitable that it’ll get knocked about, dented and scratched, so the shabby chic style is absolutely perfect as it’s all part of the final finish! We thought this look would work well for Stephanie too and, after finding out her preferred colour scheme of blues and creams, we thought a Duck Egg Blue base coat would be ideal.
We used Rustoleum’s Chalky Finish Furniture Paint for all of the furniture in her new room. When you first open the tin you’ll notice the paint and oil layers are separated. Make sure you thoroughly stir the paint for a good few minutes before you begin painting.
You’ll see the difference after two or three minutes of continual stirring.
I painted each table with one coat of Duck Egg Blue and once it had dried, I finished each off with a coat of Antique White from the same collection.
The dining table and chairs were revamped in the same way.
Again we sanded them down before priming them all with Rustoleum Surface Primer.
The primer is available in grey and white colours but we found they both worked equally as well and provided great coverage.
Once again, I painted each item with a base shade of Duck Egg Blue followed by a top coat of Antique White from Rustoleum’s Chalky Furniture Paint collection.
The seats needed re-covering in order to blend in with the rest of the colour scheme. Of course, there is always the option of getting professionals such as South West Upholstery in to help if you aren’t feeling confident in doing the job yourself.
I decided to continue with doing it myself. Again, we find wipeable oilcloth much easier to deal with than cloth covers which need to be regularly removed and washed, proving a great hassle after the first time or two.
We found the ideal colour and style which complemented the duck egg scheme and overall style of the planned finished room perfectly from a range at Dunelm. Two metres of the fabulously priced fabric would be enough to cover both chairs and make a tablecloth.
To re-cover the seats simply remove them from the chair and set out upon a piece of fabric which is three or four inches wider at each side. Fold one side at a time up, affixing with an industrial staple gun or tacks as you go. Pull the fabric taught as you work around the seat.
Once covered the seat can then be fixed back onto the now painted (and fully dried!) chair!
If you want to give the shabby chic style a head start you can gently rub the furniture down in the direction of the grain with 80 grit sandpaper. Don’t over-rub – you just want to expose odd parts of the base colour and wood here and there. However, if you have full confidence in the kids doing the job adequately for you, you might as well leave them to get on with this final feature!
So, do you want to see how the entire room makeover finally went? We thought the results were amazing.
Take a look and see for yourself:
We bought the sofa, candles, blind, throws, rug and some accessories from IKEA. The desk was also from IKEA but from the kitchen table range and we completed her office area with a range of stationery from The Works. The artwork, cushions and some other accessories were bought from Dunelm and The Range. The flooring had already been bought by Stephanie from a range at B&Q but was fitted by Mike during our room makeover.
What do you think? Not too shabby after all, eh?