The Average Girl's "How To" Guide

Advice on how to live a well-balanced lifestyle

Tag: Furniture

How To: Make That Thrift Store Furniture Look Good!

by Rachel

I have a couple of examples of how I’ve made ugly outdated stuff look pretty good!


The Green Desk:

In college I traded an old crappy Ikea desk for this one. Now the legs were wobbly and it had been stained (over glossy veneer so it was very streaky and globby). When we moved to our house it was in the garage for almost a year when I realized I need a make up table! I stripped the paint (easy to do with paint stripper and scraper). The legs had been lost but I got new ones and some mounts at Home Depot and screwed them on. I bought glossy paint with primer in it so that eliminates a step and works well! Then, I just used a craft glaze for the surface which makes it nice and hard and gets rid of the tackiness. And Voila! I have a stellar new make up table.

The Blue Media Centre:

I went through a similar process with this one. No stripping involved but I just gave it a good wash (since I found it on the side of the road!) and a light sanding. I got the same glossy primer and paint in one paint and painted away! My husband cut a shelf to fit flat in place of the top drawer for out pvr and dvd player and I just had to buy new hardware, which is extremely easy to replace. This was my first major furniture project and It is one of my favourite pieces!

Blue Chair:

With a simple chair like this it is very easy to update. The seat just popped out of the frame. With a seat like this you just wrap it like a present with new fabric and staple the heck out of it. I put some baking soda and lavender linen spray just to help get rid of any thrift store smell before wrapping. This one I did need some help from my husband because it was a bit wobbly. Just needed some extra glue and screws. I gave it a good sand, then used spray primer and spray paint since it wasn’t such a big project.

As long as you have some time and motivation, you can customize any old piece of furniture for a one of a kind piece to suit your style!

I like smiling… smiling’s my favourite

How To: Thrift Shop – Furniture Edition

by Rachel

Last one! I think with this last post on thrifting, it should cover everything.

Furniture. It’s expensive as heck, and when you are buying a new house and starting fresh (as I did just over a year ago), you can’t really afford to go to a furniture store and buy all your stuff. 60% of the furniture in my house has been thrifted, and the rest has been given to me by family members. I have never bought and paid for something brand new (not too shabby!) but I think my house looks pretty darn good! So, when I am shopping for furniture, this is what I look for,

  • Things made solidly out of wood. Not plywood covered in a veneer. If it’s real wood it will be good and sturdy.
  • If it is real wood, and covered in veneer but it looks pretty good, look around the feet of the furniture, and there is usually a lot of chips, just make sure it’s nothing that’s going to bother you in future. Sometimes, keep in mind, you can take the veneer off then finish the wood underneath
  • There’s a lot of ugly stuff out there, but with a little imagination you can turn it into something awesome. Similar to chotchkies, if it has a cool shape but hideous colour or finish, you can refurbish it. All you might need is some paint/stain stripper and some new paint or stain! I often paint my furniture bright colours, always use a high gloss paint and try to find a nice glaze finish so it isn’t tacky. I also like to paint the inside of some furniture pieces too, so if it looks like crap on the inside, keep that in mind!
  • Knobs and pulls are REEEAAAALLLLY easy to switch out, and affordable. Always keep this in mind.
  • Don’t buy IKEA furniture second hand… its just not good enough quality.
  • Remember that Home Depot and stores like it sell legs and mounts for furniture and castors among other things. If you find something but it doesn’t have legs like you want, or the legs/castors are broken, you can buy them separately and add them yourself. Totally worth it.

It also helps if you’re husband used to work for his brothers furniture shop and knows a nice piece of furniture when he see’s one… but it’s not necessary.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it… cut it up, take it home, and make some furniture!

How To: Spray Paint!

by Rachel

It doesn’t just involve pressing a button and spraying shit down…

In the past few years I have developed somewhat of an obsession (it’s really the only word to describe it) for spray painting things. It just does such an amazing job of making old junk look waaaaaaaaaaay better and there are so many colours out there you could paint your chair aqua and your lamp red and your stool coral and… many many other things.

My number one tip: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CAN! Really, I could just end it there because all you need to know is on there.

I’ve spray painted in temperatures below 10 degrees, above 30 and with high humidity. It doesn’t work.

I’ve tried just loading on the spray paint without primer. It doesn’t work.

I’ve tried just shaking the can for 10 seconds instead of 2 minutes. It doesn’t work.

I’ve tried not prepping the surface. It doesn’t work.

I’ve tried spray painting in a non-ventilated area thinking “it won’t be that bad”. It is.

So, in conclusion:

  • Make sure it’s not too hot and not too cold. The paint will do weird things on the surface.
  • Always prime. I prefer a separate primer for metals, plastics and woods that are already finished. 2 in 1 is good for raw wood.
  • SHAKE THE CAN! Just do it. 2 minutes. Put it on a timer (and shake a bit as you go too!).
  • For any wood that’s already finished, give it a bit of a sand just to rough up the surface. The primer will stick better, and thus, the paint will stick better too. Make sure to clean off all the dust, dirt and sticky stuff for a nice smooth finish!
  • If you can’t be in a very well ventilated area, wear a mask. It’s so worth it.
  • Furthermore, make sure your space is well lit! So many times I have spray painted something in my dark garage, got it in the house and situated, then a month later see that I missed spots and it drives me crazy! ESPECIALLY furniture.
  • And lastly, so far, my favourite spray paint and primer is Rustoleum Painter’s Touch.

So before you decide to spray paint, go through the list and be prepared to do all of these things or you may never spray paint again.

Happy Spray Painting!

Wake up and be awesome




How To: Annoy Your Husband

by Rachel

Ask him at least once a month to help you move a piece of furniture… or, ask him to help you move three pieces in one day.

I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. -Rita Rudner

How To: Go Caarazzzzy

by Shannon

Rearrange your furniture!

How To: Get A Runaround Answer From Your Boyfriend

by Shannon

Send him a photo of the bookshelf you want, and ask him, So, what do you think, can we buy it?

That will guarantee he won’t answer Yes or No, even though that’s exactly what you’re asking.

%d bloggers like this: