So You Say You Can DIY...

A few years ago I bought a couple of design books and enjoyed looking through them.

Both of these books are full of encouragement (that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful), fabulous pictures, and ideas that are not hard to tackle as a first-time DIYer. Still, I dragged my feet for a couple of years.

Eventually, I decided to paint my coffee table top a brick red. With spray paint. My husband was okay with that because the tables were already banged up. It was not a good move, as you can plainly see...but that is part of the DIY fun—experimenting.


Every time I looked at it, I would cringe. I wanted to do something different, I just wasn't sure what. And that's when I discovered the wonder of chalk paint, specifically Miss Lillian's Chock Paint, which is stocked by Willow Ridge Vintage, at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace, here in Fairmont, WV.


The beauty of chalk paint is that it is so forgiving. By its very nature, it makes things look beautiful when they are imperfect, changing the flaws into features. Lovely stuff. These tables are painted with Miss Lillian's Irish Cream. I put a top coat of Satin Luster on all the tables I painted to help the paint to survive the abuse our furniture tends to get.

I found this cute table at Goodwill ...


I painted it with Irish Cream and intended to leave it that way, but it needed something more. So I painted a Harlequin pattern on the top, using Fox Hollow Cottage's tutorial and Miss Lillian's Sterling (gray) as the accent color.


This adorable round table was another find, this time at a local thrift store called Penny Pincher. I painted this one Irish Cream with Sage Advice as the accent color for the Harlequin pattern.


AFTER (#1)

AFTER (#2)

These chairs came from a local junk shop and are shapely but fairly ugly before I painted the frames with Irish Cream and recovered them with some toile-like fabric from the discount bin at Walmart.



A $10 thrift purchase when we moved in seven years ago, I bought this table just to hold a place for an island when we eventually replaced the cabinets, so we wouldn't get used to the open space. Now that I painted the legs (and redid my chairs), I'm not sure I still want an island.



(And speaking of cabinets, those are the next things to be painted with Irish Cream! I'll hopefully start those this weekend....we shall see...)

I bought this bookcase about 15 years ago with birthday money from my mom, and I love how the chalk paint brought out the details.



Once again, done in Irish Cream. I took the dust jackets off of most of the books, so I could arrange them by spine color. 

This lovely Louis XV chair was at our local Salvation Army. I didn't realize how scary it looked in that leopard print until we redid the finish.

AFTER (#1)

The plan is to recover this chair (with the linen-look fabric in the bag above) to look like the chair to the right in the magazine picture below. I can't wait for it to be finished!

(Hopefully) AFTER (#2)

Family Room BEFORE

Family Room AFTER (Ahh...)

I am very effected by the natural light in a room. It amazes me how fresh and light my rooms are with the simple change of painting furniture.

(Isn't she adorable?)

All the cabinets in our home are original (from 1983) and are a very (very) heavy pressed wood composite material with lovely laminate on them. The half bath felt much smaller because the cabinets were so dark.



Swamp Mud is a great product by Miss Lillian's that is made for use as a base coat on laminate objects (such as my cabinets), so the chalk paint will adhere well. It goes pretty far, too, since it can be diluted with water to the consistency of runny paint. I put one coat of Swamp Mud, and one coat of Sage Advice on the bottom cabinet. The top (medicine) cabinet had the same, but then I painted the Antique White stain blocker latex over it, so it would match the walls. The beautiful mirror came from Willow Ridge Vintage, at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace.


 (Below is pic of area to the right, above the "water closet." :)

After my wonderful husband bought me a gray front-loading washer and dryer, the laundry room felt cramped with cabinets. We didn't store much in them, and basically used the counter as a dumping ground (in case that's not obvious from the picture, ha.)

Laundry Room BEFORE

My husband agreed to take out the bottom cabinet, which revealed a big hole in the wall. We decided to go ahead and take out the top cabinet, too.

We were going to put up beadboard paneling to look like wainscoting, but then used this paneling instead, because it looks more Colonial. I love it now—it's so roomy! (The farm animal pics are another thrift store find. :)

Laundry Room AFTER (ta-da!)

I'll paint the rest of the room blue after my shoulder recovers (I feel like I'm 50 when I do stuff like this).

Now, on to the kitchen cabinets!

What projects have you tackled this summer? Feel free to link your blog in the comments. :)


  1. Awesome,beautiful DIY projects, Selena! I'm inspired...

  2. Wow! You are a chalk painting ninja. Really loved the coffee & side table in white. And the harlequin is darling!!

    1. Thanks so much for your kinds words, Shannon! So glad you stopped by. :)


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