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Budget Furniture Fix-Ups
by Kathleen Wilson - k_wilson@thebudgetdecorator.com

Description: Hints for fixing up old furniture.

Faced with my own furniture dilemma recently, I thought what a great opportunity for me to share ideas with you on how to turn around that tired piece of furniture, without having to spend big bucks! So here it is, secrets from The Budget Decorator on transforming your furniture from trash to TFTE! (Treat For The Eyes!)

One of the most expensive items in our rooms is our furniture, and we can't always afford to just replace it when it gets worn, outdated, or just no longer works in your room.

The number one concern for those trying to update existing furniture is slipcovers. Now, unless you are an experienced seamstress, sewing fitted slipcovers is no easy task. However, fortunately today's trends lean towards casual, and that includes furniture. Here are instructions for some simple, casual covers that almost anyone can do.

First of all, use sheets instead of pieced fabric, it is MUCH easier and cheaper! Measure your furniture, and buy a sheet size that will cover your furniture piece without it's cushions, tucked in and around the arms.(Don't forget to check out garage sales for good deals!) Use decorative cording if you like to tie around the "skirt" area to give it a more structured look. Simply tuck ends under the couch or chair.( You could even tape or staple the ends to the bottom of the piece, if you wanted.) Now take each of your cushions and look at it as if you are wrapping a gift. Cut a piece large enough for your cushion, wrap it like a present, and safety pin it to the underside of the cushion. (Who's gonna see it?) Add a few pillows and a throw, and you have changed the entire look of your furniture for little money, the covers are washable, and you can make one for each season if you want.

Sheets, blankets, and quilts can all be used for this project, and can be found at garage sales, thrift stores, and maybe even your own linen closet. Try wrapping the cushions with another, different fabric from the room. Remember, this is all about casual style, and slipcovers are definitely stylish!

Even dining room chairs can be slipcovered. Simply make an open envelope of fabric to fit over the back of the chair, similar to a pillowcase. If you like, this can be dressed up by tying it with cord or ribbon, sewing on decorative buttons, or adding a little lace. This project can easily be made from leftover curtain fabric and scraps lying around your sewing room.

Next on the list is what is known as "hardgoods". Tables, chests, entertainment centers. A fast and inexpensive way to transform these items is, you guessed it, paint. Almost anything can be painted these days, including laminate. Simply prime it with a product specifically made for non-porous surfaces.I like BIN or KILZ. Then just use ordinary housepaint. Wood finishes can be just sanded and painted. Consider trying your hand at decorative painting or faux finishing for designed effects. I suggest visiting a few web sites for ideas like http://www.paintedhouse.com, http://www.paintideas.com, or http://www.fauxlikeapro.com.

Another tight budget option for covering worn or outdated furniture includes using fabric on door and drawer fronts. You can use leftover fabric, fabric from thrift stores or garage sales, or search your own closet. Simply cut the fabric slightly larger than the drawer or door front, then use a staple gun to adhere it to the back, stretching it snug as you go. Try painting the rest of the piece a color picked out of the fabric for a great coordinated look.

The last option I am going to throw out there is mosaic tiling. This can be very frugal if you have leftover tiles from another project, or ask your local tiling center if they have broken tiles they would let you have. Another good place to look for free mosaic materials is at residential construction sites, especially ones that are more upscale. Always ask first, but there are always broken tiles when an installation has taken place, and it's only going to get hauled to the dump!

Mosaic can be as simple as laying broken tile in a random pattern and gluing in place, to laying out intricate patterns, and grouting and sealing your project. You can use it on table or dresser tops, drawer fronts, or even a door itself! You can even produce the illusion of mosaic by using decorative paper in the same manner, cut it into irregular shapes, and glue it on!

Whatever you choose to do to update your furniture, impose your own style, take your time, and be proud of your creation!

Copyright 2002. Kathleen Wilson is the author of Quick Decorating Ideas Under $20: The Budget Decorator's Bible" and Editor of the popular ezine, The Budget Decorator. For more free ideas, visit her at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com.


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