Breathing new life into an old Wardrobe

Two rented properties ago, R and I bought a really cheap flimsy pine wardrobe and chest of drawers that we thought would “put us on” until we could afford something better quality.  When we moved from our old flat to our last house we thought it probably wouldn’t survive another move as it was pretty rickety. However, when it came to moving again this year R persuaded me to give it a chance and promised he would sure it up a bit to make it strong enough to stay in use, at least in our spare room. I agreed – on one condition… the pine finish had to go!

I forgot to take a photo of the wardrobe before we started but here is a picture of the matching chest of drawers so you can see the original style.


Not very attractive, I’m sure you’ll agree.  So we set about a transformation! At first I thought the best thing would be to paint the wardrobe white and I bought some spray paint and some lovely new handles in a light green with polka dots that matched the curtains in our spare room. I say “spare room” but it is the room we’ve been in since we moved as what will eventually become our bedroom is still a general dumping ground. I digress. The spray painting was easy to do but we were really unsatisfied with the finish. It appeared quite “stripy.” I’m sure it was probably our technique rather than the product’s fault (we used Rust-oleum Universal spray paint in satin white) but we also didn’t achieve the coverage stated on the pack and had to buy more than we’d initially estimated and we still didn’t like the final effect, even after two coats. We’d thought the advantage of spray paint would have been not having to prime the wood first but in the end it would have been a better option! Anyway, I won’t keep you guessing any longer – this is what it looked like after each panel had two coats of the spray paint and the wardrobe was re-built (with lots of extra screws to keep it together!).

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That’s R on the right, busy applying the next finish! The handles did look nice on it when I tried them out – but it needed a better finish and I didn’t like the white in this room. So I decided I’d like a greeny-grey colour to complement my curtains and the dark wood furniture in the room and thought I’d look for an eggshell paint.  I settled on this   2013-08-05 20.07.34 Acrylic Eggshell in Moonstone Grey by Graig & Rose from B & Q. It was a bit of a punt really as I felt inspired to get on with it and didn’t want to spend ages poring over the different options and never getting around to actually painting the wardrobe! So I decided to trust my instincts and just go for it!

2013-08-02 19.14.31    This was after the first coat. Pretty rough – lots of brush marks!

We applied two coats of the eggshell paint by brush (we tried both gloss and emulsion rollers and both gave an awful finish!). Once it was dry I reapplied the handles (which now blend in more than stand out as I’d originally intended) and decided to lightly distress the wardrobe in places to give it a bit more character.  To do this I just used some fine grade sandpaper and went back to the wood in some places and in others just back to the white coat underneath, which looks quite effective although I wasn’t very brave with it and it doesn’t show up in the pictures too well I’m afraid.


It was all a bit of an experiment but was good experience and I think we’ve turned something ugly into something much more attractive – I hope you’ll agree! We’re planning a bigger project further down the line that I will report back on here eventually, and the experience with the wardrobe will be invaluable I’m sure. Doing this project has reminded me how much I love painting – I can’t wait till we own a home one day and I can paint walls not just furniture!

Finally before I go I just wanted to share a couple of photos from the weekend. On Saturday when we weren’t busy painting we went to the Emley show and had a great day out. These shots are of the mast and the beautiful sky… (I’m now totally inspired to enter my craft projects and photos in local agricultural shows in the future too!)

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Upcycling, retro style!

Hi, welcome to my new blog!  I love crafting and have recently moved into a new house which has given me lots of new crafting and upcycling opportunities.

The house we moved into is a rental so we would prefer not to spend too much money decorating it with things we wouldn’t be able to take with us next time we move.  Conversely we also plan on staying here quite a while so we’d really like to make it as homely as possible.  Plus I love interior design so I can’t help it! By the way, “we” is my boyfriend R and I .

So our new kitchen looks like this…


(Thanks to Whitegates Mirfield for the picture from the house particulars)
We didn’t get the washer or microwave so it was even more bare when we moved in! So as they seem to be pretty old units I thought I’d try not to fight the styling and go with a retro feel.  There’s no understairs cupboard in the house so I needed somewhere to store my cleaning things and hoover out of sight.  So I trawled eBay and found this…


(Thanks to Keith’s secondhand saleroom for the picture)
However let’s face it, this is not the most attractive of items!  I do love the mid-century feel of it that seems to fit with the kitchen style though. I also have lots of lime green kitchen cookware and accessories and I’d seen a brochure for glossy spray paint. Putting those two things together and I thought if I spray painted the doors and removed the shelves from the inside, it would make the perfect hiding place for my hoover and things!

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So off came the doors! (These were put on with old-fashioned hinges that were the full length of each door – many many screws!) We lightly sanded the surface and covered the handles in masking tape. Then we sprayed the doors with Rust-Oleum Mode Primer grey filler spray paint.  This gave a good surface for the next stage – the lime green gloss!

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We ended up using two cans of the Rust-Oleum Mode Lime Green Gloss as we struggled to get the finish properly glossy.  As first-time spray painters we weren’t sure whether that was because we didn’t have the right technique or we were trying to spray too thinly.  However we managed to get a good finish in the end.  Next we removed the shelves (also easier said than done due to a great many screws in the shelf fixings) and nailed three cheap wooden slats across the back to stabilise it.  Finally I screwed some hooks into some of the holes left by the shelf brackets to hang things like my bag-of-bags (everyone has one of those right?!) and dustpan and brush.

Et voila…

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It does look a bit brighter green in the flesh and I absolutely love it!  Our first piece of furniture up-cycling!

Hope this has inspired you to have a go. The whole thing including cabinet, delivery from Lancashire to Yorkshire and spray paint cost approximately £70 and was the only thing I could find that perfectly fitted my needs – with a bit of inspiration and TLC that is!

As usual I have several craft projects on the go at the moment so I best get back to them.  I will post on my progress next week!

Until next time…