DIY Projects on the Cheap

Since moving is a giant expense, and there’s so much to be done in our new-to-us home, I’ve taken on a few small DIY projects to spruce up the house without breaking the bank. And hey, this stuff beats buying new, right Mother Earth?

Here are a couple of my projects from this week.

Recovering Kitchen Chairs

Whatcha need:
• staple gun
• enough fabric to cover all your chair cushions (I measured each one and added 5″ all around to account for the fold-over)
• scissors

photo (14)I found five of these chairs at Value Village for $10/each. I had a 30% off coupon, so that brought them down to just $7/chair, how great is that? They’re solid wood, painted grey (which is perfect because our entire main floor is now Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter and not that yellow you see in the background of these pictures). I gave them a good scrub and sprayed the cushions with Lysol because, well, I had to make myself feel like there wasn’t anything lurking in there.

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To remove the chair pad, you just flip over the chair and remove the four screws underneath. The ones used for these were far too narrow and long, so when we replaced them, we used a thicker screw to be sure it really holds in the pad and it doesn’t come loose.

Since my kitchen and living room are open-concept, I chose two accent colours I thought would warm up the grey of the paint. I found this fabric at Fabricland, in the outdoor section, but I’m sure any fabric store would carry something similar. I figured with two little kids, there’s a good chance the chairs will see their fair share of spills, and the outdoor stuff is treated to repel water and stains — easy to wipe clean. Here’s the fun pattern I chose:

photo (16)I bought far too much, since I had no idea that it was such a wide bolt. So while I paid $60 for my purchase, I only used about $25 worth of fabric, which means my chairs ended up costing me a whopping $12 each — bargain!

First step was to measure the fabric. I left about 5″ around the edges to account for fold-over.

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Next step: get staplin’! With the curve in these cushions and my lack of expertise, I had a little difficulty getting the fabric smooth all the way around, but patience and care won out, and they turned out fine. Make sure the fabric is taught by stapling the the front, then back of the cushion, then working around the edges like so:

photo (18)photo (19)I found that slightly “pleating” the fabric around the curve of the cushion helped, and as you go along, feel free to trim excess fabric. You don’t have to have such a wide fold-over.

photo (20)photo (21)And that’s it! Your last step is to screw them back onto the chair frame, then step back and admire the easiest project ever.

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Here’s they are in my kitchen. (Next projects: milk painting the current table, and finding a new light fixture.)

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Painting an Old Light Fixture

Whatcha Need: 
• can of spray paint in whatever colour you’ve chosen (mine was Krylon, matte black)
• safe area in which to spray paint
• lots of newspaper to protect your work area

Speaking of light fixtures, my second quickie DIY was this hideous excuse for a light that was hanging in our dining room. We hung a pretty pewter chandelier in there, but needed something in the family room so I thought I’d fix this one up a little.

Since it doesn’t seem like spring’s ever going to arrive, I did this project on the concrete floor of my basement storage room. I lined the floor with plenty of newspaper and held my breath while I sprayed the paint to make sure I wasn’t inhaling too many fumes.

Once you’ve removed the fixture from the ceiling, you have to remove the glass by unscrewing the small screws around the edges. Then, spray away! Remember that a few thinner coats are better than one thick coat — you don’t want drips or runs.

photo (24)I’m not sure what was uglier: the frilly-edged frosted globes or the brassy-gold metal. I do think those frilly glass things will look cute painted a shiny white, though, so I think I’ll come up with some other way to use them. Candle holders for the back yard, maybe?

With a cheapo can of black matte spray paint (I like Krylon) and some more modern glass ($6.99 each at Home Depot), here’s the new look!

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By spending very little, I feel like the entire area has been refreshed and I’m excited to finish my other projects. So, stay tuned!

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4 thoughts on “DIY Projects on the Cheap

  1. The chairs really pop, love them and look forward to seeing them with the milk-painted table. The re-do of the chandelier is brilliant! I would not have thought you could replace the glass like that. Very cool. I have a pendant lamp with modern lines above my kitchen table, but don’t like the brass accent on it. I have been thinking about taking the whole thing down and re-doing it in black and nickel with spray paint. I love DIY stuff, and love finding good thrifts.

    1. I always feel like I’ve won when I find a sweet thrift item! These chairs make me so happy. Thanks for reading, K. 🙂

  2. Hi Alex, which Lysol spray did you use? Maybe add a link to Lysol Canadian webpage as well, just like you did to Fabricland?

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