Furnishing your home when you came from a condo is quite the difficult task. Although we splurged a little and bought a few things when we moved, I think it is pretty much impossible for us to get everything we need in the first year. SO, basically, there are still a lot of empty rooms in our home. It doesn’t bother me that much since most of them are rooms I never go in, but when it comes to rooms we DO use, I have worked hard to find decorations and furniture on a budget to make our home feel a little more homey.
One of my summer projects has been decorating our sunroom. Not a room we have been frequently using, but something I wanted to make sure was finished before our open house in October so we had somewhere else for people to sit. Also, I spent so many long hours reupholstering the couches in there that I felt the need to complete the project and finish the look. Sometimes creative projects are a lot like a writing project or something. If you don’t finish the project it is like an open ended thought that just slowly drives you mad over time. Since a lot of other rooms in our house are “works in progress” and this one was a little easier to “finish”, I decided it was a good way to make myself feel a little better.
Anyhow, long story short….one of the ways I save money on furniture is by frequenting the large thrift store by my work for cool/cheap finds that can be painted or refinished. I was looking for some kind of square end table for the corner between the couches one day and I came across the perfect square table. Nothing fancy (it was made from particle board), but…it was only 4 dollars. Can’t really go wrong there. I wanted to paint it a bright orange anyhow, so I didn’t care that it wasn’t perfect.
Since Matt and I painted our kitchen cabinets and they turned out well, I wasn’t really that concerned with re-finishing this small cabinet…however I was a bit more lazy than I should have been probably and learned a lot of good lessons that I will take with me for the next furniture painting project.
1. Make Sure To Sand – Every time I read a blog about painting furniture they claim that certain primers make it so you don’t have to sand. This is a lie. A big, fat, lie. There are primers that claim to “stick to anything!” I used one on this project….and guess what…the second my son got near it all 4 layers of paint chipped right off. Clean sweep. I also tried to fix a drip in the paint and upon sanding with a 100 grit paper removed all 4 layers in one clean swipe. This should NOT happen. Even with particle board, sanding the surface gives your paint and primer something to bond to. Without it, the paint just doesn’t stick properly.
2. When Painting A Dark Piece With Light Paint, Make Sure To Prime Well The good news was that I primed. The bad news was that I didn’t prime well enough to cover everything evenly. I was so concerned with the primer making the paint stick to the cabinet that I didn’t think about the fact that the orange paint would be transparent. What that meant for me was that coats 1 thru 3 looked streaky because the parts that were covering areas that were primed well were one color and the parts where the orange paint covered areas that were not primed well showed up darker. Annoying. Basically just a waste of paint when this could have been avoided by priming well.
3. Make Sure To Sand Down Tops And Bottoms Of Doors If They Are A Snug Fit So I primed and painted so many layers on these doors….which was a pain….and then had a thought. ANNnnndd I was right. There were so many layers of paint on the doors that they didn’t fit back into the frame. So then I had to sand the tops and bottoms of the doors down to get them back in! You could definitely avoid this issue by sanding them before you apply the paint and also by making sure you prime well so you don’t have to use so many layers of paint.
4. Paint and Poly In A Space With Windows…That Have Screens I figured when I started this project that I would just paint and poly it in the sunroom since it would be smelly and I wouldn’t want to leave it in the house where Augie could get to it. This plan backfired because I had to paint and poly late at night after Augie was already asleep and our sunroom windows do not have screens currently. Basically, I tried to air out the room, but then bugs were flying in and sticking to my paint so I had to close them and then sit in the fumes. A little word to the wise – Polyurethane goes on much easier when it’s mixed with a little turpentine, but it smells awful and you have to use double the amount of coats to get a thick enough layer.
5. Make Sure To Let The Poly Cure For A Few Weeks Before Decorating Most often the claims are that you should wait 48 hours or so after putting it on before placing heavy objects on it. Both this time and the last time I did this, I found out this is also a lie. The best way to avoid making marks in your newly sealed table top is to just avoid putting heavy things on it for a few weeks. It will save you a lot of headaches!
I have to say, I love my orange table! It definitely brightens it up in there!