The year was 2002. Adam and I had been married for a year and had just built our first home together. We lost all of our furniture in an apartment fire the year before, so I quickly purchased a bedroom set for our new house that my 21 year old self thought was AMAZING… Black four poster with light maple wood panels. Yes, it was two-toned.
Not long after, I realized my mistake and how much I actually HATED the bed. And matching dresser. And nightstands. Yep, I bought the whole kit and caboodle! I recently stumbled across the same bedroom set when I was scouring Craigslist, and here it is, in all its glory…
What was I thinking, right?! Well, after dropping a fair amount of money on said bedroom set, we weren’t going to replace it quickly, so I lived with it. For 8.5 years. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I desperately wanted a master bedroom that felt relaxing and reflected my style.
I asked my sister-in-law Annie, who has a fabulous eye for design, how to update my bedroom on a shoestring budget, because I didn’t want to buy a new bedroom set until we were in the new house we planned to build a few years later.
Annie, in all her brilliance, suggested I update my bedding and GASP!!!… Paint my bedroom set! For someone who had hardly painted a wall in her life, this seemed impossible. I remember thinking, “There’s NO WAY I could do that! What if I ruined it?!” So I put the project aside in my mind for a few months… But then I had an epiphany. I already hated the bedroom set, so even if I “ruined” it, it really couldn’t be much worse.
I had nothing to lose.
After some research, I settled on Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformations kit in black because I figured it would be durable, and I got to work. The application wasn’t perfect, and I still have brushstrokes on all of the pieces, but the improvement was SOOOO drastic. And I was hooked!
As a DIY newbie, I didn’t plan what to do with the black pulls once the furniture was painted, and I discovered after painting that the pulls were an odd length. I had no choice but to make them work instead of replacing them as originally planned.
I had seen some lacquered glass knobs on etsy, and I wondered if I could achieve a similar look with my pulls. I decoupaged scrapbook paper around them (I discovered that I have a lot of patience for meticulous cuts and detailed projects like this), and once they were dry, I painted seven coats of lacquer on them, one day at a time. Five years later, I still love the pulls. Each one is a little bit different, like tiny, subtle works of art. That’s what I call a happy accident!
After experiencing the transformative power of paint, I fell in love with the idea of DIY. When we found out we were pregnant with Arabella a few months after finishing my bedroom, I was so excited to pull her nursery together with my newfound DIY skills. Since then, I’ve used some form of DIY in almost every room of our house.
Here’s why I love DIY:
1) Cheaper – The bargain hunter in me loves recreating looks I love for significantly less than if I paid retail for them. For example, my son has some very rustic/industrial Pottery Barn-esque bunk beds (a free gift) that I made over with about $60 worth of spray paint. Compared to the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars I would have spent purchasing similar bunk beds from a big name store, my wallet is very happy.
2) Creative Process – There is something so satisfying about seeing an ugly piece of furniture and finding the potential in it. Creating something beautiful out of something less than ideal feeds my inner hippie artist.
3) Custom – Sometimes my head knows what I want, but I can’t find it in stores or websites I shop from. Or maybe I’ve seen something I love, like a piece of art, but the dimensions are off, or the colors aren’t quite right. DIY allows me to create the perfect piece for MY space.
4) Uniqueness – While I am a HUGE fan of big furniture retailers that carry budget friendly decor pieces, sometimes things can start to feel a little cookie-cutter. When half of the stuff in my house has been DIYed (is that a verb? I’m pretty sure it is!), it means my home will never look exactly like every other one on my street.
5) Bragging Rights – I say this partially in jest, but for the sake of keeping it real here, I admit to a small sense of pride when someone compliments me on something I had a hand in creating. And it’s always fun to see their look of shock when they realize I know how to operate some power tools. 😉
How about you? What was your first DIY project, and why are you hooked now? Or if you haven’t fallen in love with DIY, what is holding you back?