Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turning "Trash" into "Treasure"

Recently, I was visiting with a friend for the weekend.  Before we left, she invited me to see if there was anything in the "yard sale pile" that I might like.  I immediately spied a footstool amongst the items she had out to sell.  I asked her if I could have the lime green, vinyl covered. throw back to the 1970's piece.  She was a bit surprised that I'd want it and let me bring the piece back to San Antonio.
I love taking a piece of furniture or other item and bringing it back to life.  I knew immediately that this piece would be a fantastic addition to my living room once it was reupholstered.  I let it sit in my living room (Yes, it stuck out like a sore thumb!) for a couple of weeks before tackling the redo.  It took me about 2 hours to give it a new look that would fit nicely in my decor.
It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to take a really ugly piece and breathe new life into it.  Over the years I've re-upholstered and refinished quite a few pieces.  It used to be that when I walked through the door with some ugly monstrosity Brian (my husband) would ask incredulously, "What on earth are you going to do with that ugly thing?"  He doesn't even bother to ask any more and so, when I asked him to put the ugly little footstool in the car he never even flinched.
There are lots of really great treasures out there that just need someone to love them a little bit and give them a new home.  Thrift shops, yard sales, auctions and flea markets are full of these "treasures".    The key is to find solid, well built pieces that are good candidates for refurbishing.  Sometimes a wooden piece might not be suitable for stripping and re-staining but a good coat of paint will do the trick nicely.  Can't sew?  Often covering a piece doesn't require a stitch! Upholstering isn't that hard and with the great assortment of slip covers available you can breathe new life into a great chair for a fraction of the cost of a new piece.  If you think you'd like to try to reupholstering, pick a simple and inexpensive piece to try first.  Dining room chairs are the easiest!  They require very little fabric and typically a staple gun is the only tool you'll need. Unscrew the seat from the chair, remove the old upholstery carefully and use it as your template for the new fabric, or, just cover the existing fabric!  For many items you'll typically need a good staple gun, hot glue gun and upholstery thread and needles.  There are lots of great books out there with step by step instructions on how to reupholster.  (Check your library as a free resource.)
 I'm always on the lookout for a new "treasure" to work on and am currently looking for an overstuffed easy chair for my bedroom reading nook to reupholster.  Buzzy's Flea Market and the local thrift shops are on my list of Saturday "things to do". 
You have to be willing to look beyond the surface of a piece to see it's potential, use your imagination and be willing to try and maybe fail on occasion.  In any case, the feeling of accomplishment when you find a piece of "junk" and turn it into a "gem" can be addicting.  Give it a try! 

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