How to affordably upgrade your cheap furniture

As I approach 30 I have slowly begun the process of swapping out our cheap, college era, furniture with better quality pieces that we can keep more long term.  We are still on a tight budget though, so to keep things affordable thrift stores were the best option.

Keyboard Stand and Chair Upgrade

The first area I wanted to tackle was Kevin’s keyboard which was becoming an eyesore in our bedroom.

 I knew I had to replace this folding chair

I knew I had to replace this folding chair

 I found a thrift store chair with great potential for only $10!

I found a thrift store chair with great potential for only $10!

I wanted to do something fun with the chair and I so decided to go bold with color and pattern.

  1. The first step was lightly sanding the wood parts of the chair.  This allows the paint to stick better to the surface. 
  2. I painted the chair a teal color that I had also bought from the used paint section of the thrift store for $5. 
  3. I wanted the paint to have a slightly distressed quality so I then lightly sanded on top of the paint in areas that would be more likely to age (corners, cracks, etc). 
  4. Next I added a coat of polyurethane for protection. 
  5. To reupholster the seat I first removed the black utility fabric from the bottom, do this carefully for reuse. 
  6. I then bought some wholesale upholstery fabric in a fun pattern and simply upholstered over the existing fabric. If you can get away with this it is a really easy way to save time and not drive yourself crazy.  Because the fabric beneath was low texture and couldn’t be seen through the new pattern, it was a great solution here. 
  7. I started in the back of the chair and made sure my fabric was level. 
  8. Using a staple gun I attached the first edge and then carefully cut out a square from each corner where the legs protrude.  You want to undercut here as you can fold the corners under leaving a cleaner look. 
  9. I then pulled the fabric taught in the other three directions and stapled it underneath. 
  10. Finally I re-stapled the utility fabric to the bottom to cover my seems and give it a clean look.

The newly reupholstered and painted chair 

Next I wanted to replace the base of the keyboard and discovered that this white ikea table that we were using to  hold our coffeemaker happened to be the same size as the keyboard.  It gave the keyboard an upgraded look and provided two drawers for Kevin to hold his music.

Upgraded keyboard stand

Replacing the coffee maker stand

The only problem was I now needed a piece of furniture to hold our coffee maker. 

 Luckily I came across this mid century piece at the thrift store for $40!

Luckily I came across this mid century piece at the thrift store for $40!

I loved the architecture of the piece but there were quite a few scratches.  Originally I was going to try to maintain the wood look but upon sanding the doors I realized they were actually not even made from wood!  Instead I decided to do a mixed wood and paint look using the same paint from the chair.

Our new coffee maker stand

Some Finishing Touches

 Finally I came across this mid century lamp ($10) and fun wooden pineapple ($3)

Finally I came across this mid century lamp ($10) and fun wooden pineapple ($3)

 With just a bit of spray paint I was able to bring new life to them and love the character they add to our bedroom.

With just a bit of spray paint I was able to bring new life to them and love the character they add to our bedroom.

 Kevin enjoying the upgrades!

Kevin enjoying the upgrades!

So often we think that changing our environment is something that has to be expensive but as you can see with a little elbow grease you can accomplish a lot with a little.  At Renova Design we really embrace this challenge and love bringing style and functionality to families of all budgets.