Upcycling furniture and home accents is a passion of Full Circle Design Studio. If you are like us, you have already tried a few things and some have turned out great while others could have been better. Along the way you learned a few things and took a few Tylenol over the headaches created. We can’t tell you the number of times we have said, “That worked much better in my head than reality”. We thought we would share some of the most important things we have learned about when to say NO to a piece.
When there are multiple layers of old paint…this can be a black hole. Even with Fusion or CeCe Caldwell paints, furniture preparation is critical to the success of your project. When you have many layers of old paint or chipping material, while it could look cool, it could also result in an element of stripping and sanding. Even if it is free…even if the paint is chipping in some places…trust us. Skip it. Not even if they offer to pay
you to take it away…
When the drawers are missing or broken and you want the drawers.
you will have a very hard time finding a drawer or building a drawer. We can’t tell you the number of times we have thought this was a great idea; in our head!!… But trust us run from a project where you go into it with the thought of “making it fit”. If you can make it into something different then go for it. The odds of finding/making a drawer to fit are slim to none, though, so surrender the fantasy. Also…making the empty space where the drawer should be into a cubbie is a viable option but it is not as easy as the DIY bloggers make it seem and ultimately ends up on the bottom of a “honey do list” with way more important items taking over. Could be goo
d for a bon fire though!!!!
Laminate. Yuck!!! There are lots of ways to paint laminate but it is not great furniture, it is heavy and it just isn’t worth it. If the words “some assembly required” describe the piece it could be a budget and time buster. Ever heard the term ‘putting lipstick on a pig’? Yep.
When there are huge chunks of veneer missing, this can be another black hole. We have fixed it and added veneer to pieces, but this is as much art as it is function. If there is a spot bigger than 6 inches in diameter of missing veneer, consider passing on the piece. If the veneer is missing on a top, consider pulling it entirely off, filling the potholes of wood and painting it. Most often veneer is put over some pretty nasty wood with knots, worm holes and cracks, but could be perfect for paint. Again, it just turned into a project, so the piece better have some pretty good bones to cause this kind of work. If you have spots or chunks missing you can add some wood fill, spackle, or bondo and sand it down and paint it. No one will ever know.
When the style/shape isn’t right. There is no amount of paint or product that will make up for the piece not fitting the style you are looking for. Move past the fantasy and walk away from the project.
When you can’t imagine putting your things inside it–even after some paint and cleaning. There is a lot to be said for cleaning up an old yucky piece but if it really smells like urine, or damp/wet, or smoke, it might not be worth the effort. You can get the stains and smells out with a heavy duty primer that blocks stains, but when you have to cover the entire unit, you could find that things like drawers no longer fit. …so just skip it.
Of course these are our opinions and you can take some or all of the advice…we are not an ‘expert’ in furniture restoration but we have been up cycling and painting furniture for years. We have successfully painted laminate furniture, tried for a few months to figure out drawer solutions, and spent countless hours stripping and sanding a really cool piece of furniture covered in 5 or 6 layers of old exterior latex paint, but this was a true labor of love. We learned a lot from these ‘NO’ projects and thought it would be helpful to you as well. Happy Painting!