One of the main challenges I always have while decorating my apartment is finding the decor I envision, at the prices I want. Neither of those are ever easy. Either I can’t find what I have in mind, or when I get close, somehow it’s the most expensive item in the store. I can drool over those high ticket items all I want, but let’s get serious, I’m no Rockefeller.
But it’s ok! This is where my handy-dandy DIY skills get to shine. This is where I get to do my favorite task of trying to figure out how to get the look I want for as little money as possible.
For example, I wanted to expand my home bar area by adding 3 shelves above my bar cart. I wanted them to be gold to match said bar cart. My search pretty much turned up empty except for one option that was almost the right dimensions (from a store that will remain nameless) for over $100 per shelf. My other option was an IKEA favorite of mine that I’ve been keeping my eye on for a bit, and it just so happens that the EKBY JÄRPEN/EKBY BJÄRNUM combo was the perfect size, style, and price I was going for. The only drawback was that the brackets are only available in aluminum. Womp, womp.
The right choice for me was clear and I’m glad I made it. Did I want to spend $300 on shelves from Unnamed Store, or around $60 for IKEA shelves and a can of spray paint? Um. DUH. The way I see it is if I can spend $60 total on a DIY version and use the extra $200+ toward other fun things like going away for the weekend or, I dont know, paying my bills, you’re damn straight I’m taking that route.
Let’s all just take a moment to reflect on the magic of spray paint. All I did was spray the brackets and screws with metallic gold chrome paint and it completely changed the vibe of the shelves. Done and done. So easy.
I styled them with the help of my growing glass and bareware collection, and a DIY framed print.
Even though it was super comfortable, I got really sick of having a bulky sofa in my living room. It took up most of the wall and didn’t leave room for things like side tables and lamps, etc. I didn’t want to commit to a really expensive sofa that I might change my mind about, so we went to IKEA and picked up a Karlstad. The standard size was still a little too big so we settled on the loveseat. To be honest it has been great! The feature that sold me was the removable/changable slip cover. The thing I disliked most was the legs.
There are sites and online shops dedicated to making custom legs for IKEA furniture, but if you’re on a budget and want a solution fast, look to your local hardware store.
Standard block legs that did not fit my style at all. Luckily it’s easy to change. Cheap, too!
First you need to change the bracket on the bottom of the sofa to fit the new legs.
Then attach the new bracket.
This bracket is going to make the new legs fit. I got my legs and brackets at Lowe’s for under $15 and I simply painted them the colors I wanted.
Just screw those in and you’ve got brand new legs!
So far so good. Now I can afford to change them any time I want by either re-painting or just picking up a new set for under $10.
If you want to be the Halloween hostess with the mostest, you need this Ouija board tray to serve your guests their cocktails and treats. Also, maybe conjure some spirits while you’re at it. Just kiddingggg…kind of.
You can find basic serving trays like this at most stores that sell home goods. I got mine at IKEA.
I wanted to use a classically creepy image and the Ouija board is one of the most iconic things I could think of. It works perfectly for this. I searched for the right image and decided on the William Fuld/Parker Brothers version. This is the image I associate most with the Ouija, and I like the cheekiness of the Parker Brothers name being on there. What a fun toy…and not satanic at all…it’s Parker Brothers!
Above is the image I used for my tray. For it to fit I had it printed at 24 x 18 on heavy paper. You can crop and resize it to fit the size of your tray and then take it to your local print shop. I went to FedEx Office.
First, I painted the tray black and then I cut out my Ouija image to fit in the bottom of the tray. I used Mod Podge in a matte finish to stick and seal the image on. Easy!
It looks legit right? I just hope the wine glasses don’t start moving over the letters to spell things out. Although, I’m sure if I drink enough wine it’ll look like that anyway.
I can be a bit of a Halloween traditionalist, you guys. I like my October nights lit by the faces of Jack-o-lanterns and I like those Jack-o-lantern faces to be classic. However, I still like to mix things up sometimes, and get serious, it’s not exactly practical for me to have carved pumpkins sitting around as light sources for the entire month. When I saw the orange FADO at IKEA, I didn’t just see a colorful orb lamp, I saw a potential Jack-o-lantern.
The FADO is a pretty cool lamp on its own. It has a spherical shape that is a throwback to the mid-century space age era and it gives off a nice, soft, glowing light.
Pulling this off is really as simple as drawing or painting a Jack-o-lantern face onto the lamp. I used chalk to draw my ideal face shapes and then painted over it using a charcoal colored chalk paint. You can use a sharpie, a paint pen, or whatever you’d like. I just liked the chalk paint texture against the frosted glass of the FADO. It also looked more vintage to me that way.
I love this little guy. Look how cute he is! And the glow sets the perfect mood light for Halloween movie watching.
I have this problem where I envision something that I want and either it doesn’t exist or the closest thing I can find costs, like, a million dollars and still isn’t exactly what I had my heart set on. I have another little problem where I see something generic in a store and immediately start planning how I could change it to fit my personal style and make it, well, less generic. This happens way more often than you’d think. I’m all “Blahblahblah we can paint it and then cut this off and then maybe screw these together…” My husband stares at me for awhile before voicing his concerns, which I usually just brush off, and reply with a casual “It’ll be fiiiiine.”
And that’s what happened this time. I wanted a cocktail ottoman to use as a table and footrest, in some great color, probably tufted, with a little gold to tie in with the rest of the room. Couldn’t find it. When I saw the surprisingly sturdy VITTSÖ nesting tables at IKEA I instantly knew how I was going to make it happen. I would just need to upholster…and paint…and drill a little. NO BIGGIE. No, seriously, it’s a lot easier than it sounds.
Finding the perfect fabric was actually the most annoying part. I went to 4 different fabric stores before I found the perfect green velvet at Deco Home for $80/yard. Totally worth it. It’s durable and lovely and perfect for a project like this. Exactly what I wanted.
ANYWAY, I’ll get down to it.
I put together the frame of the table and sprayed the entire thing with metallic gold spray paint. You can use whichever gold you like.
I sprayed all the hardware and those little glass cushion sticker things gold, too.
I picked up one yard of 2″ thick foam from the craft store and cut it to the size of the table. Using a sharp knife or blade makes it super simple. Just run the blade through a couple of times. You should maybe put cardboard or something down so you don’t slice up your floor.
The larger table in VITTSJÖ nesting tables set has a glass shelf on the top and a wood (MDF) shelf on the bottom, but since this is a hack, I switched them. Why? Because I needed to use the MDF for upholstering and tufting purposes. The glass shelf would be for holding books and cute decorative items while keeping a clean, floaty look.
After that I did some really annoying measuring and marked where I wanted my buttons to go. Ugh. Math is hard.
Then I used the multi-purpose drill bit on my Dremel to make the holes where I’d be pulling my tufting cord through.
I covered the foam and board in batting and my velvet. I pulled the fabric tight enough to round out all of the edges. The corners were tricky because of the metal nub where the top connects to the rest of the table. I just sliced the corner piece of fabric, pulled the fabric back around the piece of leg, and then stabled it securely into place. When I connected the pieces back together I just tucked any raw edges that were showing.
At this point you can leave it how it is or you can get fancy with tufting. I did a shallow tuft since this will be used as a table sometimes and I don’t want my serving trays to lay all wonky and wobbly on top. I also don’t want to be digging crumbs out of deep tufting craters after every shindig.
These regular button covers are fine but if you’re using a thick fabric you might need to put in a little extra effort.
Instead of securing the fabric with the back of the button like you normally would, you might need to sew the fabric closed on the back using a heavy duty thread. I use “outdoor coat” thread. It works perfectly.
Thread a large upholstery needle with the polyester cord.
Find your holes on the bottom side of the board and push your needle through as straight as possible. Pull one end of the cord through to the top.
Use the needle to go through the back of the button and pull the end of the cord through.
Then put the needle back through the hole to bring the cord end back through to the bottom side.
Pull the cord tight and secure with staples. Stapling in multiple directions makes sure it doesn’t slip over time.
We got these DALFRED bar stools from IKEA as sort of a temporary thing. At $40 a pop they were a pretty good option and close enough to what we were looking for at the time. Eventually I got bored with them and they didn’t go with the rest of our room. I didn’t feel like buying new ones though. I had Rust-Oleum gold spray paint left over from my dresser makeover so I whipped that out and decided to jazz them up a little.
Originally I just wanted to give a gold dipped look to the legs but ended up taking them apart to do the seat and inner ring. First, I taped off the amount I wanted to paint on the legs. I used a piece of plastic wrap to block the rest of the leg from getting overspray. You can use more tape if you want to be proper about it.
Quick Tips: 1) Spray in a well ventilated area. 2) If you get spray paint on your hands use veg oil then dish soap to get it off. 3) If you decide to paint your seat, and it’s going to get a lot of use, it’s probably a good idea to spray some sealer on it.
Anywayyyy this is how they turned out:
I did the hardware too. Ooo lala.
Before and after. It was really easy and took no time at all. The total project (for 2) runs under $100!
You guys, I have slacked on updates for you. I am the worst. Remember that banquette I made awhile back (last year)? Remember how I wanted a different fabric and planned on changing it? Yeah I changed it…like…forever ago. The new canvas goes so much better with my original vision inspired by my favorite cafés in Paris and my own personal style. I’m hoping to score some new furniture and accessories for the new look too.
I got this fabric at Ikea for $8/yard. It was fantastic to work with and is exactly what I originally intended for this piece.
Head over to the original tutorial for instructions on how I hacked this Ikea Expedit bookcase.
I put the large mirror above the banquette because hanging mirrors and pictures higher up on walls creates the illusion of higher ceilings, because it draws your eye up…or something. Also because it reflects sunlight and chandelier light into my adjacent kitchen. Plus I just like it there. To finish up the space, I displayed my metallic prints of the LA Farmers Market in 1946 in frames from Ikea and grouped them in a set of 4. I love these prints because theyre vintage and they’re food themed without being too obvious. The mid-century fruit bowl was a lucky find at Goodwill for $2.