Whether you’re buying your first home, your second home or renting a new apartment, there’s almost always a need to buy new furniture to fit your new place. You’ve already spent a ton on a down payment or paid for your security deposit, first and last month’s rent and although you need a bed frame, you can’t afford to buy a new one right now.
Been there, done that. It’s brutal. It’s why boxes never get put away and rooms never get organized. You’re unhappy with how your new place looks because your old stuff doesn’t fit and you can’t comprehend spending $1,000 on a few end tables and an ottoman. Since I’ve been in this position multiple times now, I’ve come to learn the art of buying used and repurposing what I have to make our new space exactly how I want without maxing out our credit cards.
When Chet and I first got married we moved into a two bedroom apartment on one of Seattle’s most beautiful hills, Queen Anne. Chet brought almost no belongings into our marriage, which I thank him for now, and I had a smattering of mismatched furniture that I’d accumulated after living with a handful of different people in 3 different apartments over a 3 year span. Needless to say, we had crap and we needed a lot. After a depressing online search for overpriced furniture ended in frustration and hatred for every major furniture brand, I vowed to start thrifting in hopes of finding all that we needed for an affordable price. This is how I came to meet and fall madly in love with our local reused building material store and all of its hidden treasures.
Do this please! Before you buy new, take a Saturday and hit up all of your local used furniture stores, thrift stores, antique malls and yard sales. Got nothin? Search Craigslist, ask your friends and family and give it an honest effort! You’ll end up saving money and keeping perfectly good furniture from getting tossed out because no one tried hard enough to find it.
Okay, I think you’ve got it. Now onto the DIYs!
1. Bookshelves out of Old Drawers
Find 10-12 different sized wooden drawers and sand or paint them as desired. Stack the drawers on top of each other to fit your desired space. Need a smaller bookshelf? Just stack two on top of each other. Need a larger one? Play around with 6-8 different drawers until it works! If you get the proper hardware you could even mount these on the wall, but be sure to use the appropriate wall anchors since drawers are very heavy. Fill with your favorite books, magazines, pictures or baskets. Clearly we’re Harry Potter fans in this house.
2. Side Tables & Nightstands out of Shutters and Cabinet Doors
Nail two old wooden window shutters together to form the table base. With four L brackets, attach the cabinet door to the base (forming the tabletop) making sure to use short enough screws so the they don’t poke through to the surface. Paint it your desired color and spray a scratch resistant sealant onto the table top to keep it from getting worn out and beat up. Place next to your bed, couch or favorite chair!
3. Coat Rack made out of Old Knobs and Wood Scraps
Take a piece of scrap wood (old 2X4, drift wood, door frame, etc.), paint it your desired color or finish, screw 4-6 old knobs evenly spaced along the wood and mount to your wall with durable wall hangers or nails. Look for mismatched knobs for more character or try other repurposed items like corks or bent metal utensils! Adorn with dog leash. Don’t have a dog? Get one. Trust me.
4. Repurpose Old Kitchen Chairs
Most used furniture or thrift stores have at least a few used kitchen tables with chairs up for grabs. Do me a favor and don’t walk away from the ugly ones just because they’re, well, ugly. Find the right size and shape of table you need then refinish or paint it to fit your home.
If chairs have old, nasty cushions you can easily reupholster them! Go find a durable fabric you like and a roll of batting (to make the seat cushy). Unscrew the seat from the frame, cut your fabric to fit the seat, stretch the fabric over the seat with the batting underneath and secure the fabric with a good number of staples (staple gun required). Reattach the seat to the frame with the original screws and you’re done! Paint the chair frame as well if you want a little more style, and accessorize with colorful pillows.
Next time you find yourself with a free weekend, take the time to put some sweat and creativity into your new home and make it exactly how you want without needing to overextend yourself financially. You’ll find yourself happier, cozier, richer and all the better for it!