Furniture

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

How to make knobs or drawer pulls

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, the cost of changing out the knobs can add up very quickly. The same goes when sprucing up a dresser with new drawer pulls. So I experimented with a couple of different inexpensive ways to make my own, and turns out it’s pretty easy to do! 

First option: Stones

Stone-knob-on-drawer-close-up

For these knobs, I ended up buying river stones from the dollar store – I live in LA and though there are beaches nearby, finding stones that are smooth and the right size proved to be too challenging!

rocks

To turn the stones into knobs, all you need are these nifty things called connector caps (or barrel nuts) and bolts. 

hardware-for-knobs

You can get connector caps in different finishes, like the bronze ones in the picture and you can get bronze bolts to match but since you don’t see them, I went with regular ones to save some money. If you do this, you just want to make sure that the bolt and connector have the same thread size and to stick with either metric or imperial (mixing the two won’t work). The length of bolts you will need depends on the thickness of the drawer face. In most cases, 25mm (1”)  long bolts should work well. 

I found these silver colored Barrel Nuts and bolt sets on amazon.com (20 for about $5) – they work great as well but the only thing is that the bolts are a bit too short (20mm instead of 25 mm), so I bought longer bolts (I had to get metric because the barrel nuts are metric) to make them work.

Knobs-silver-cap-nuts

Wether you use the connector caps or barrel nuts, the steps are the same. The first thing I did was find rocks that have a flat side and I sanded it down to remove any residue and have a better surface for the glue to grip. I cleaned off any dust and also cleaned the connector caps.

sanding-rock

I mixed epoxy glue, and dipped the top of cap to cover it with glue and then placed it at the center of the stone. 

stone-knobs-mixing-epoxy Stone-knobs-Putting-epoxy-on-the-caps

I placed the knobs on a bed of gravel (I had that from another project – it’s actually for aquariums!) so they could be flat during the drying process. You could also use sand for this.

Stone-knobs-letting-the-glue-dry

Then it was just a matter of using the bolts to secure them to the drawers.

Putting-in-knobs

And that’s it – my bathroom vanity got a whole new look thanks to these stone knobs. 

Rock-knobs

Second option: shells

For these drawer pulls, I used shells from the Dollar Store (same issue as with the stones), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and made a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Next I inserted the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

I poured epoxy glue into the shell cavity (I used the type that mixes together as it’s poured), making sure to mix the glue with a tooth pick and that there’s enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

I placed the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then I moved the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

When the bolt is placed properly, I used a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double checked that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then I placed the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. You could also place the shells in sand like I did for the stone knobs. This allowed the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt.

Another way to make these knobs is to use oven bake clay (I used Sculpey) and barrel nut and bolts like I used for the stone knobs. I filled the cavity of the shell with the clay, pressed the barrel nut head into the clay to make an imprint, making sure the bolt sits straight, and then baked the shell in the oven as per the manufacturer specs (I baked mine for about an hour @ 275 degrees F). Then I used epoxy to glue the barrel nut to the shell. 

Shel-knobs---oven-backed-clay-method

For either option, I let the epoxy harden and voila, beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to a dresser or a cabinet!

You can use these ideas to make knobs out of just about anything, all you need is a little imagination – I hope you’ll share what ideas you come up with!

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, the cost of changing out the knobs can add up very quickly. The same goes when sprucing up a dresser with new drawer pulls. So I experimented with a couple of different inexpensive ways to make my own, and turns out it’s pretty easy to do! 

First option: Stones

Stone-knob-on-drawer-close-up

For these knobs, I ended up buying river stones from the dollar store – I live in LA and though there are beaches nearby, finding stones that are smooth and the right size proved to be too challenging!

rocks

To turn the stones into knobs, all you need are these nifty things called connector caps (or barrel nuts) and bolts. 

hardware-for-knobs

You can get connector caps in different finishes, like the bronze ones in the picture and you can get bronze bolts to match but since you don’t see them, I went with regular ones to save some money. If you do this, you just want to make sure that the bolt and connector have the same thread size and to stick with either metric or imperial (mixing the two won’t work). The length of bolts you will need depends on the thickness of the drawer face. In most cases, 25mm (1”)  long bolts should work well. 

I found these silver colored Barrel Nuts and bolt sets on amazon.com (20 for about $5) – they work great as well but the only thing is that the bolts are a bit too short (20mm instead of 25 mm), so I bought longer bolts (I had to get metric because the barrel nuts are metric) to make them work.

Knobs-silver-cap-nuts

Wether you use the connector caps or barrel nuts, the steps are the same. The first thing I did was find rocks that have a flat side and I sanded it down to remove any residue and have a better surface for the glue to grip. I cleaned off any dust and also cleaned the connector caps.

sanding-rock

I mixed epoxy glue, and dipped the top of cap to cover it with glue and then placed it at the center of the stone. 

stone-knobs-mixing-epoxy Stone-knobs-Putting-epoxy-on-the-caps

I placed the knobs on a bed of gravel (I had that from another project – it’s actually for aquariums!) so they could be flat during the drying process. You could also use sand for this.

Stone-knobs-letting-the-glue-dry

Then it was just a matter of using the bolts to secure them to the drawers.

Putting-in-knobs

And that’s it – my bathroom vanity got a whole new look thanks to these stone knobs. 

Rock-knobs

Second option: shells

For these drawer pulls, I used shells from the Dollar Store (same issue as with the stones), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and made a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Next I inserted the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

I poured epoxy glue into the shell cavity (I used the type that mixes together as it’s poured), making sure to mix the glue with a tooth pick and that there’s enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

I placed the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then I moved the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

When the bolt is placed properly, I used a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double checked that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then I placed the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. You could also place the shells in sand like I did for the stone knobs. This allowed the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt.

Another way to make these knobs is to use oven bake clay (I used Sculpey) and barrel nut and bolts like I used for the stone knobs. I filled the cavity of the shell with the clay, pressed the barrel nut head into the clay to make an imprint, making sure the bolt sits straight, and then baked the shell in the oven as per the manufacturer specs (I baked mine for about an hour @ 275 degrees F). Then I used epoxy to glue the barrel nut to the shell. 

Shel-knobs---oven-backed-clay-method

For either option, I let the epoxy harden and voila, beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to a dresser or a cabinet!

You can use these ideas to make knobs out of just about anything, all you need is a little imagination – I hope you’ll share what ideas you come up with!

How to make an upholstered headboard

There are many DIY headboard ideas out there and I had always wanted to make my own, especially an upholstered one. I already had an existing base for the bed so I needed to make a headboard that was separate from the base. After toying around with lots of ideas, I ended up with this headboard design that’s really easy to make and customize.

Finished bedroom full view better color 400px

Here’s what you’ll need to make the base structure of the headboard:

1/4″ plywood (width of your bed frame and height you want your headboard to be – I had mine cut at the hardware store to make things easier – 48″ x 62″)

1″x3″ boards (I used 4 x 8ft long)

1″x2″ furring strips (I used 3x 8ft long)

Step 1: Place 1″x3″ boards along the edge of the plywood and along the center (I had my plywood cut in half to make it easy to transport and I used a miter box and saw to cut the remaining boards to the desired length).

step-1-DIY-headboardThe boards on top of the plywood only to show the placement. For screwing the boards to the plywood, you’ll want to have the plywood on top of the boards.

Step-1-DIY-headboard-pic-2Step 2: Add 1″x2″ furring strips to the edge of the headboard. Drill pilot holes before screwing it in place to avoid splitting the wood.

Step-2-DIY-headboard

This makes the headboard appear thicker and the vertical pieces run past the headboard to to act as legs. How long the legs are depends on the height of the bed frame.

Step-3-headboard-diagram-with-furring-strips-and-legs-showing

 

 

 

Step-3-headboard-diagram-with-mattress-showing

This design allows the headboard to rest on the floor and to be wedged between the wall and the bed frame.  That’s if for the structure. The next steps are to upholster it.

Step-3-DIY-Headboard-legs-behind-bedframe

Upholstering the headboard

Step 3: Spray some adhesive on the face of the headboard and secure enough batting to cover the front and sides of the headboard.

Step-3-DIY-headboard

Step 4: To cover the headboard, I chose to use 3″ burlap ribbon and 14″ wide jute fabric but you could choose to use any fabric you have on hand. First, I stapled one length of the burlap ribbon at the top, covering the top and sides. Then I stapled the ivory jute panels, leaving approximately a 2 1/2″ gap in between panels.

 

Step-5-DIY-headboard

To fill in the gaps, I stapled one end of the 3″ ribbon to the back of the frame and used peel and stick fabric tape to seal the edges, making sure to pull tightly on the ribbon to keep is smooth and then stapled the other end in place. 

Step-6-DIY-headboard-peel-and-stick

Step 5: As a finishing touch, I added some decorative nail trim to the sides.

Step-6-DIY-headboard-thumnails-

Step 6: Installing the headboard is as easy as simply wedging it between the bed frame and the wall and I used some removable 3m velcro command strips to secure it to the wall at the top to keep the headboard from moving. No holes in the wall needed!

Step-7-DIY-Headboard-3m-adhesive-strip

This headboard was really easy to make and it’s also very simple to change up the look – for example, you could use pegboard instead of plywood and make and tufted upholstered headboard using the same technique that I used for my banquette panel. You can watch how I made the headboard and all the other projects I did in my bedroom in this video.

  Ep 8 Bedroom decorating ideas main image 400px

There are many DIY headboard ideas out there and I had always wanted to make my own, especially an upholstered one. I already had an existing base for the bed so I needed to make a headboard that was separate from the base. After toying around with lots of ideas, I ended up with this headboard design that’s really easy to make and customize.

Finished bedroom full view better color 400px

Here’s what you’ll need to make the base structure of the headboard:

1/4″ plywood (width of your bed frame and height you want your headboard to be – I had mine cut at the hardware store to make things easier – 48″ x 62″)

1″x3″ boards (I used 4 x 8ft long)

1″x2″ furring strips (I used 3x 8ft long)

Step 1: Place 1″x3″ boards along the edge of the plywood and along the center (I had my plywood cut in half to make it easy to transport and I used a miter box and saw to cut the remaining boards to the desired length).

step-1-DIY-headboardThe boards on top of the plywood only to show the placement. For screwing the boards to the plywood, you’ll want to have the plywood on top of the boards.

Step-1-DIY-headboard-pic-2Step 2: Add 1″x2″ furring strips to the edge of the headboard. Drill pilot holes before screwing it in place to avoid splitting the wood.

Step-2-DIY-headboard

This makes the headboard appear thicker and the vertical pieces run past the headboard to to act as legs. How long the legs are depends on the height of the bed frame.

Step-3-headboard-diagram-with-furring-strips-and-legs-showing

 

 

 

Step-3-headboard-diagram-with-mattress-showing

This design allows the headboard to rest on the floor and to be wedged between the wall and the bed frame.  That’s if for the structure. The next steps are to upholster it.

Step-3-DIY-Headboard-legs-behind-bedframe

Upholstering the headboard

Step 3: Spray some adhesive on the face of the headboard and secure enough batting to cover the front and sides of the headboard.

Step-3-DIY-headboard

Step 4: To cover the headboard, I chose to use 3″ burlap ribbon and 14″ wide jute fabric but you could choose to use any fabric you have on hand. First, I stapled one length of the burlap ribbon at the top, covering the top and sides. Then I stapled the ivory jute panels, leaving approximately a 2 1/2″ gap in between panels.

 

Step-5-DIY-headboard

To fill in the gaps, I stapled one end of the 3″ ribbon to the back of the frame and used peel and stick fabric tape to seal the edges, making sure to pull tightly on the ribbon to keep is smooth and then stapled the other end in place. 

Step-6-DIY-headboard-peel-and-stick

Step 5: As a finishing touch, I added some decorative nail trim to the sides.

Step-6-DIY-headboard-thumnails-

Step 6: Installing the headboard is as easy as simply wedging it between the bed frame and the wall and I used some removable 3m velcro command strips to secure it to the wall at the top to keep the headboard from moving. No holes in the wall needed!

Step-7-DIY-Headboard-3m-adhesive-strip

This headboard was really easy to make and it’s also very simple to change up the look – for example, you could use pegboard instead of plywood and make and tufted upholstered headboard using the same technique that I used for my banquette panel. You can watch how I made the headboard and all the other projects I did in my bedroom in this video.

  Ep 8 Bedroom decorating ideas main image 400px

How to make an upholstered panel for a DIY headboard or banquette bench

When I built my banquette seating for my dining room, I made an upholstered tufted wall panel for the back. I really love this project because it could also be easily modified to make a tufted headboard by making the panel larger and adding legs and it’s really easy and inexpensive to do! The video below shows how I made it but I’ll also outline the main steps in this post.

Materials: for this project I used pegboard (2 ft x 4 ft), a furring strip (1 ft x 10 ft), foam (1” thick x 2ft x 3 ft), batting, and fabric (canvas drop cloth). You can use your own buttons or you can make your own. 

step-30-buttons-cushion-done-web

Step 1: On the pegboard, mark the location of where you want the buttons to go. It’s fine if they don’t all match up to existing holes, you can drill extra holes if needed.

step-1-draw-circle-web

Step 2: Spray a light coat of spray adhesive to the front of the pegboard. Make sure you put down something to protect your work surface because the spray will go through the holes. Then attach 1 inch foam to the pegboard.

step-3-spray-adhesive-web

Step 3: To make the panel thicker and sturdier I screwed furring strips on the back along the edges.

step-5-screw-furring-strips-web

Step 4:  I used canvas drop cloth to cover the panel to keep costs down and you’ll want to cut your fabric 3 1/2 inches wider than the panel and the batting cut 2 inches wider. Staple the fabric to the furring strips, starting from the middle and making sure to pull tightly as you go.

step-7-staple-canvas-web

Step 5: For the corners, cut away the excess fabric and batting and then tuck it in, stapling the fabric for a nice crease.

step-8-cut-corner-webstep-8-perfect-corner-web

I decided to use vintage buttons that I spray painted a nice champagne gold color. However it is really simple to make your own buttons with the fabric you have using a button cover kit. You can find one at your local craft store and they come with everything you need. Here’s how:

Step 6 (optional) Making buttons:

Use the template to draw out the size of the fabric circle that you need and then cut it out.

step-9-draw-button-circle-webstep-10-cut-fabric-circle-web

Place the circle of fabric inside the form with the button front on top of the fabric.

step-11-button-in-form-web

Tuck the fabric into the button and place the back of the button on top of that.

step-12-tuck-button-fabric-webstep-13-place-button-backing-web

Place the cap centered on the button and press down using something hard until the back pops into place.

step-14-place-button-cap-webstep-16-backs-in-place-web

Remove the button from the form and there you go!
step-18-buttons-done-web

Step 7: Whichever route you go, to thread the buttons, double up on a strong nylon or wax thread so that it’s about 8 inches long. Pull the end through the button loop and then pass it back through the loop thread. Pull tight.

step-20-thread-thru-loop-web step-22-pull-thread-tight-web

Step 8: To mark the location of the button on the front of the fabric I use a long upholstery needle to pierce through the fabric from the back. Where the needle goes through the fabric I place a pin in the front to mark the spot.

step-23-mark-on-back-web step-24-mark-front-panel-web 

Step 9: To put the buttons in I use the long upholstery needle to pierce the spot where the pin is in the front, making sure to remove the pin before pulling the thread all the way through.

step-25-needle-to-thread-button-webstep-26-button-thru-front-web

Step 10: Pull very tightly on the thread from the back to push the button all the way in. Make sure to keep tension on the thread and then staple it in a zig zag pattern. I tied a knot in the end as well to make sure it stays taut. If the staples don’t go in all the way in, you can use a hammer to make them tighter. Repeat this process for all the buttons.

step-28-pull-button-tightly-web step-29-staple-thread-web step-29-tie-knot-web

Step 11: To hang my panel to the wall I used a french cleat. You’ll want to secure it to a stud or use anchors appropriate for your wall.

And there you have it! A gorgeous upholstered panel which makes my banquette bench the the most comfortable place to sit in my dining room  and that could also be easily turned into a  DIY headboard!

finished-banquette-web

When I built my banquette seating for my dining room, I made an upholstered tufted wall panel for the back. I really love this project because it could also be easily modified to make a tufted headboard by making the panel larger and adding legs and it’s really easy and inexpensive to do! The video below shows how I made it but I’ll also outline the main steps in this post.

Materials: for this project I used pegboard (2 ft x 4 ft), a furring strip (1 ft x 10 ft), foam (1” thick x 2ft x 3 ft), batting, and fabric (canvas drop cloth). You can use your own buttons or you can make your own. 

step-30-buttons-cushion-done-web

Step 1: On the pegboard, mark the location of where you want the buttons to go. It’s fine if they don’t all match up to existing holes, you can drill extra holes if needed.

step-1-draw-circle-web

Step 2: Spray a light coat of spray adhesive to the front of the pegboard. Make sure you put down something to protect your work surface because the spray will go through the holes. Then attach 1 inch foam to the pegboard.

step-3-spray-adhesive-web

Step 3: To make the panel thicker and sturdier I screwed furring strips on the back along the edges.

step-5-screw-furring-strips-web

Step 4:  I used canvas drop cloth to cover the panel to keep costs down and you’ll want to cut your fabric 3 1/2 inches wider than the panel and the batting cut 2 inches wider. Staple the fabric to the furring strips, starting from the middle and making sure to pull tightly as you go.

step-7-staple-canvas-web

Step 5: For the corners, cut away the excess fabric and batting and then tuck it in, stapling the fabric for a nice crease.

step-8-cut-corner-webstep-8-perfect-corner-web

I decided to use vintage buttons that I spray painted a nice champagne gold color. However it is really simple to make your own buttons with the fabric you have using a button cover kit. You can find one at your local craft store and they come with everything you need. Here’s how:

Step 6 (optional) Making buttons:

Use the template to draw out the size of the fabric circle that you need and then cut it out.

step-9-draw-button-circle-webstep-10-cut-fabric-circle-web

Place the circle of fabric inside the form with the button front on top of the fabric.

step-11-button-in-form-web

Tuck the fabric into the button and place the back of the button on top of that.

step-12-tuck-button-fabric-webstep-13-place-button-backing-web

Place the cap centered on the button and press down using something hard until the back pops into place.

step-14-place-button-cap-webstep-16-backs-in-place-web

Remove the button from the form and there you go!
step-18-buttons-done-web

Step 7: Whichever route you go, to thread the buttons, double up on a strong nylon or wax thread so that it’s about 8 inches long. Pull the end through the button loop and then pass it back through the loop thread. Pull tight.

step-20-thread-thru-loop-web step-22-pull-thread-tight-web

Step 8: To mark the location of the button on the front of the fabric I use a long upholstery needle to pierce through the fabric from the back. Where the needle goes through the fabric I place a pin in the front to mark the spot.

step-23-mark-on-back-web step-24-mark-front-panel-web 

Step 9: To put the buttons in I use the long upholstery needle to pierce the spot where the pin is in the front, making sure to remove the pin before pulling the thread all the way through.

step-25-needle-to-thread-button-webstep-26-button-thru-front-web

Step 10: Pull very tightly on the thread from the back to push the button all the way in. Make sure to keep tension on the thread and then staple it in a zig zag pattern. I tied a knot in the end as well to make sure it stays taut. If the staples don’t go in all the way in, you can use a hammer to make them tighter. Repeat this process for all the buttons.

step-28-pull-button-tightly-web step-29-staple-thread-web step-29-tie-knot-web

Step 11: To hang my panel to the wall I used a french cleat. You’ll want to secure it to a stud or use anchors appropriate for your wall.

And there you have it! A gorgeous upholstered panel which makes my banquette bench the the most comfortable place to sit in my dining room  and that could also be easily turned into a  DIY headboard!

finished-banquette-web

DIY Nightstand: IKEA LACK table hack

On one of my very frequent trips to IKEA, I found inexpensive LACK tables that were the perfect color to work as nightstands in my bedroom .  The only problem was that they were too low for my bed. At $13 each, it was worth trying to find a way to make them work. My solution? Cut the legs of one table and stalk another table on top it!

This is a very simple project that took about an hour – all you need is a miter box and hack saw, a speed square, some masking tape and “Liquid Nails” glue:

Step 1: Put masking tape around the legs of the bottom table, where you want to make your cut (make sure you measure from the top of the leg down). It helps protect the finish when you cut the leg. I made my bottom legs 4″ tall.

Step 2: Using a speed square, mark the exact measurement on each side of the leg.

Step 3: The legs are hallow so they are easy to cut with a miter box and hack saw (you’ll want to use a fine tooth saw to minimize tearing of the finish). I found that cutting one side at a time helps to get a straighter cut.

 

Step 4: Check that all the legs are exactly the same height. You can use sandpaper stapled to a piece of wood to make any minor adjustments

Step 5: I screwed the legs into the bottom table and then used liquid nails to secure the legs from the top table to the top of the bottom table.

And just like that, I was able to have my nightstands that are the prefect height and colorful for my bedroom, all for just $26 each! 

 You can see all the steps to make the nightstands and how I made the headboard, in this video:

 

 

 

On one of my very frequent trips to IKEA, I found inexpensive LACK tables that were the perfect color to work as nightstands in my bedroom .  The only problem was that they were too low for my bed. At $13 each, it was worth trying to find a way to make them work. My solution? Cut the legs of one table and stalk another table on top it!

This is a very simple project that took about an hour – all you need is a miter box and hack saw, a speed square, some masking tape and “Liquid Nails” glue:

Step 1: Put masking tape around the legs of the bottom table, where you want to make your cut (make sure you measure from the top of the leg down). It helps protect the finish when you cut the leg. I made my bottom legs 4″ tall.

Step 2: Using a speed square, mark the exact measurement on each side of the leg.

Step 3: The legs are hallow so they are easy to cut with a miter box and hack saw (you’ll want to use a fine tooth saw to minimize tearing of the finish). I found that cutting one side at a time helps to get a straighter cut.

 

Step 4: Check that all the legs are exactly the same height. You can use sandpaper stapled to a piece of wood to make any minor adjustments

Step 5: I screwed the legs into the bottom table and then used liquid nails to secure the legs from the top table to the top of the bottom table.

And just like that, I was able to have my nightstands that are the prefect height and colorful for my bedroom, all for just $26 each! 

 You can see all the steps to make the nightstands and how I made the headboard, in this video:

 

 

 

DIY outdoor storage bench

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

DIY MDF Bench

I needed a simple bench for banquette seating in my dining room and I couldn’t find one that would work with my dining room table so I thought it would be fun to make one out of 3/4″ MDF. It surprisingly simple to build and it’s easy to customize to whatever size you need!

Materials you will need: I used 1 x 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF because I needed the rest of the MDF for another project but you can fit the pieces for the bench in 2 x 2’x4′ sheets ($25) and the lattice was about $5 so that’s $30 for the materials. I had all the pieces cut at the hardware store and I already had the primer, paint, and screws on hand.

I’ll outline the main steps to make the bench below, and you can also see how I made the entire bench in this video.

Step 1: Attach the legs to the top

I put glue on the top edge of the leg and used corner clamps to hold it to the top. I drilled pilot holes to prevent splitting and screwed the pieces together, sinking the screw heads below the surface.

Step 2: Attach the back piece

I screwed in place the back piece flush with the top and the legs, following the same steps as for the legs.

Step 3: Attach the front piece

To have more support at the front of the bench, I glued together 2 MDF pieces to make one thicker piece, using clamps to make sure they bonded very well together.

I wanted the front piece to be recessed by about 1 inch so I used a combination square to mark the location of the front piece on the inside of the legs, making it easy to slide the front piece in the right spot.

I added glue to the edge and clamped it, then I screwed it into place from the top and the side, making sure to avoid the screw that was already there from joining the top to the legs.

Step 4: Add decorative molding

To give a little bit more interest to the sides of the bench, I added decorative molding made with 1 1/4″ lattice. I used a combination square to mark the location of the top piece of lattice, and I also marked the middle of the lattice piece, making it easy to nail exactly in the right spot. I pre-nailed the nails into the lattice to save my fingers!

Step 5: Prep the bench for painting

I filled in the screw heads with wood filler and sanded that down. To give a nice finish to the edges, I brushed them with wood glue diluted with a bit of water, waited for that to dry and sanded it down. I repeated that a couple of times until the edges were nice and smooth. This prevents the paint from getting sucked into the edges and leaves a nice smooth surface for painting.

Step 6: Paint the bench

I primed the bench and then painted it with a couple of coats of paint and voila, a finished bench! You can see the entire building process for the bench in this video, including how I made the no-sew cushion to make my bench more comfortable.

I needed a simple bench for banquette seating in my dining room and I couldn’t find one that would work with my dining room table so I thought it would be fun to make one out of 3/4″ MDF. It surprisingly simple to build and it’s easy to customize to whatever size you need!

Materials you will need: I used 1 x 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF because I needed the rest of the MDF for another project but you can fit the pieces for the bench in 2 x 2’x4′ sheets ($25) and the lattice was about $5 so that’s $30 for the materials. I had all the pieces cut at the hardware store and I already had the primer, paint, and screws on hand.

I’ll outline the main steps to make the bench below, and you can also see how I made the entire bench in this video.

Step 1: Attach the legs to the top

I put glue on the top edge of the leg and used corner clamps to hold it to the top. I drilled pilot holes to prevent splitting and screwed the pieces together, sinking the screw heads below the surface.

Step 2: Attach the back piece

I screwed in place the back piece flush with the top and the legs, following the same steps as for the legs.

Step 3: Attach the front piece

To have more support at the front of the bench, I glued together 2 MDF pieces to make one thicker piece, using clamps to make sure they bonded very well together.

I wanted the front piece to be recessed by about 1 inch so I used a combination square to mark the location of the front piece on the inside of the legs, making it easy to slide the front piece in the right spot.

I added glue to the edge and clamped it, then I screwed it into place from the top and the side, making sure to avoid the screw that was already there from joining the top to the legs.

Step 4: Add decorative molding

To give a little bit more interest to the sides of the bench, I added decorative molding made with 1 1/4″ lattice. I used a combination square to mark the location of the top piece of lattice, and I also marked the middle of the lattice piece, making it easy to nail exactly in the right spot. I pre-nailed the nails into the lattice to save my fingers!

Step 5: Prep the bench for painting

I filled in the screw heads with wood filler and sanded that down. To give a nice finish to the edges, I brushed them with wood glue diluted with a bit of water, waited for that to dry and sanded it down. I repeated that a couple of times until the edges were nice and smooth. This prevents the paint from getting sucked into the edges and leaves a nice smooth surface for painting.

Step 6: Paint the bench

I primed the bench and then painted it with a couple of coats of paint and voila, a finished bench! You can see the entire building process for the bench in this video, including how I made the no-sew cushion to make my bench more comfortable.

Dining Room on a budget: IKEA’s INGO and IVAR get a facelift

Having left behind most of my furniture when I moved from NYC to LA, I was basically starting from scratch to furnish my dining room. Being on a budget, I decided to go with an inexpensive pine table (INGO – $69) and pine chairs (IVAR – $25 each) from IKEA and give them an upgrade.

I painted the chairs the same blue as in my kitchen (Behr, sailboat), and upholstered the seats with 1″ foam ($7 for 4 x 16″x16″ pads), batting ($5) and a fun striped fabric ($5). For the table, I stained the legs with a semi-transparent stain from Behr in a color called pinto white ($4 – 8 oz sample).

I love how the chairs add lots of personality to my dining room, and for additional seating, I made a banquette by building a simple bench out of 3/4″ MDF and making an upholstered panel for the back. Now it’s time to have a dinner party!

Having left behind most of my furniture when I moved from NYC to LA, I was basically starting from scratch to furnish my dining room. Being on a budget, I decided to go with an inexpensive pine table (INGO – $69) and pine chairs (IVAR – $25 each) from IKEA and give them an upgrade.

I painted the chairs the same blue as in my kitchen (Behr, sailboat), and upholstered the seats with 1″ foam ($7 for 4 x 16″x16″ pads), batting ($5) and a fun striped fabric ($5). For the table, I stained the legs with a semi-transparent stain from Behr in a color called pinto white ($4 – 8 oz sample).

I love how the chairs add lots of personality to my dining room, and for additional seating, I made a banquette by building a simple bench out of 3/4″ MDF and making an upholstered panel for the back. Now it’s time to have a dinner party!

DIY Decorative Shell Dresser Knobs

A quick way to revamp an old dresser is to change out the knobs for some new decorative ones. Here’s an easy and budget-friendly way to make your very own DIY dresser knobs using shells – perfect if you’re looking to add a little bit of the beach to your decor:

What you’ll need: shells (I got mine from the Dollar Store), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

Step 1: Cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and make a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Step 2: Insert the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

Step 3:  Pour epoxy glue into the shell cavity, making sure to have enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

Step 4: Place the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then move the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

Step 5: When the bolt is placed properly, use a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double check that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then place the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. This will allow the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt. Let the epoxy harden.

And voila, you have beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to your dresser!

 

 

 

 

A quick way to revamp an old dresser is to change out the knobs for some new decorative ones. Here’s an easy and budget-friendly way to make your very own DIY dresser knobs using shells – perfect if you’re looking to add a little bit of the beach to your decor:

What you’ll need: shells (I got mine from the Dollar Store), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

Step 1: Cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and make a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Step 2: Insert the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

Step 3:  Pour epoxy glue into the shell cavity, making sure to have enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

Step 4: Place the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then move the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

Step 5: When the bolt is placed properly, use a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double check that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then place the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. This will allow the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt. Let the epoxy harden.

And voila, you have beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to your dresser!

 

 

 

 

Easy stool to side table transformation

Sometimes you only have room for a tiny side table or corner table: a stool can be the perfect solution and also give you additional storage space for some small items with this easy modification.

I simply added some shelves that I made from cardboard (from boxes in the recycling bin) that I covered up with some leftover SOLVEIG curtain panel material from IKEA. You could also use contact paper, fabric, wallpaper, whatever you have on hand, to cover up the cardboard. As for the shelf, foam board or 1/8″ thick hardwood panel would also work if you have that on hand. I just wedged the shelves in place but if your shelves are too loose, you can glue them in place with something like “Liquid Nails” or use 3M command strips  for something less permanent. I now have the perfectly sized side table and a place for my sewing supplies stored in old cigar boxes. I love DIY transformations like this that I can do with stuff I have around the house!

Sometimes you only have room for a tiny side table or corner table: a stool can be the perfect solution and also give you additional storage space for some small items with this easy modification.

I simply added some shelves that I made from cardboard (from boxes in the recycling bin) that I covered up with some leftover SOLVEIG curtain panel material from IKEA. You could also use contact paper, fabric, wallpaper, whatever you have on hand, to cover up the cardboard. As for the shelf, foam board or 1/8″ thick hardwood panel would also work if you have that on hand. I just wedged the shelves in place but if your shelves are too loose, you can glue them in place with something like “Liquid Nails” or use 3M command strips  for something less permanent. I now have the perfectly sized side table and a place for my sewing supplies stored in old cigar boxes. I love DIY transformations like this that I can do with stuff I have around the house!

Unique and creative DIY furniture

If you’re looking for some inspiration for DIY furniture, take a look at Recession Design. It’s a collective of designers who come together to create unique DIY furniture designs using commonly available materials that can be easily assembled with simple tools.  They have all kinds of  quirky and simple designs like this chair made from pipes and a rubber doormat.

They also share how-to instructions (in Italian but there are lots of pictures and Google Translate for the rest!). For more DIY furniture ideas, you can also take a look at my Pinterest board. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration for DIY furniture, take a look at Recession Design. It’s a collective of designers who come together to create unique DIY furniture designs using commonly available materials that can be easily assembled with simple tools.  They have all kinds of  quirky and simple designs like this chair made from pipes and a rubber doormat.

They also share how-to instructions (in Italian but there are lots of pictures and Google Translate for the rest!). For more DIY furniture ideas, you can also take a look at my Pinterest board. 

Multifunctional furniture for small spaces

When you live in a very small space, multifunctional furniture is a must. But why not take it a step further and have your artwork pull double duty too? Here’s an ingenious example I found on lifehacker.com, a large DIY picture frame that transforms into a table. I love the concept, do you?

When you live in a very small space, multifunctional furniture is a must. But why not take it a step further and have your artwork pull double duty too? Here’s an ingenious example I found on lifehacker.com, a large DIY picture frame that transforms into a table. I love the concept, do you?

Easy outdoor DIY bench

Want to add some comfy lounge-type seating to your balcony or outdoor space like this?

Make a bench using plastic storage bins as the base. Add ½ inch water-sealed plywood on top of the bins and hide the sides with panels made from reed fencing or lattice, attached to the plywood. Finish the edges with corner molding, throw on a few cushions and you’ll be lounging in style in no time. This how-to video shows how easy it is to make – no power tools needed!

Want to add some comfy lounge-type seating to your balcony or outdoor space like this?

Make a bench using plastic storage bins as the base. Add ½ inch water-sealed plywood on top of the bins and hide the sides with panels made from reed fencing or lattice, attached to the plywood. Finish the edges with corner molding, throw on a few cushions and you’ll be lounging in style in no time. This how-to video shows how easy it is to make – no power tools needed!

“No money” makeover

Looking to freshen up your space this spring? Try moving your furniture around – you’ll be surprised at how different your space looks with your furniture, lamps and accessories in different spots. It’s a great way to give a whole new look to a room, without spending a dime! Using furniture sliders makes the whole process really easy, especially if you’re doing this solo (you can find them online, at hardware stores, or even dollar stores). Warning, once you start, you may become addicted to moving furniture around!

Looking to freshen up your space this spring? Try moving your furniture around – you’ll be surprised at how different your space looks with your furniture, lamps and accessories in different spots. It’s a great way to give a whole new look to a room, without spending a dime! Using furniture sliders makes the whole process really easy, especially if you’re doing this solo (you can find them online, at hardware stores, or even dollar stores). Warning, once you start, you may become addicted to moving furniture around!

DIY furniture on wheels

A great DIY inexpensive way to make any piece of furniture a breeze to move is to add wheels or casters. It makes it so much easier to vacuum and to change your furniture layout or make some room for a party. Casters with brakes will make sure your items to stay put until you’re ready to move them. If you’re dealing with something that is old and not too structurally sound like an old crate, screw the casters onto a piece of plywood first and secure the plywood onto the item – you’ll minimize the amount of screws you have to put into the original wood. And if you’re looking to add height to your piece of furniture, this will do the trick too!

 

A great DIY inexpensive way to make any piece of furniture a breeze to move is to add wheels or casters. It makes it so much easier to vacuum and to change your furniture layout or make some room for a party. Casters with brakes will make sure your items to stay put until you’re ready to move them. If you’re dealing with something that is old and not too structurally sound like an old crate, screw the casters onto a piece of plywood first and secure the plywood onto the item – you’ll minimize the amount of screws you have to put into the original wood. And if you’re looking to add height to your piece of furniture, this will do the trick too!