Furniture Refinishing and Repurposing

It’s no secret: new furniture is pricey.  I’ve discovered that there are quite a few homeowners out there who wait to decorate their homes “until they can afford it.”  Well, the newsflash is, if you are willing to furnish your home with objects that aren’t new, just new to you, then you can afford to start decorating today.  

Baby Crib turned into a desk kids

Today’s guest blogger, Cristin, has that all figured out.  She’s here to show off two pieces of furniture that, when she first saw them, seemed to be at the end of their days.  Luckily, Cristin had enough imagination to see the possibilities.  By refinishing and repurposing the pieces, them became useful, beautiful pieces of her home decor.  Before you see how her hard work paid off, take a look at other furnishings that were re-imagined for new life thanks to some pretty creative bloggers.

Refinishing and Repurposing!

1. One Table to Two | 2. Crib to Plate Rack | 3. Dresser to Kitchen Island | 4. Weathered Wood to Headboard | 5. Ladder to Laundry Rack | 6. Card Catalog to Buffet | 7. Five Panel Door to Headboard | 8. Antique to Pendant Light

The dresser and desk that our guest blogger refabbed are completely transformed from the way they looked when she found them.  I love the warm wood tones.

Submitted by: The Eve of Reduction

Hi, I’m Cristin Frank from The Eve of Reduction.  I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in design from the Rochester Institute of Technology before spending 13 years in branding and marketing for consumer products such as Budweiser, Nestlé, Kraft and SC Johnson. Since 2002, I have been upcycling curbside trash into interior design treasures. I’m a crafty mom with a creative reuse for anything from old t-shirts to a dismantled dresser. In 2009, I founded The Eve of Reduction, a lifestyle movement encompassing upcycling, consumption control and simple living.  My message is clear. “Use your talents and creativity, not consumption, to find personal satisfaction.”  My reduction lifestyle platform continues to attract media attention, with my story and projects featured in FamilyFun Magazine, Money MagazineNPR Marketplace Money, and

Project 1:

Dressers typically find their way to the first available bedroom and stay there through eternity. Or not. Sometimes they make their way through every part of the house, picking up a new coat of paint along the way. Then what happens when it’s finally an old, deplorable mess? With any luck, its next life will be in the hands of someone with a knack for restoration, who can appreciate its strong build and useful storage space. This was the case when I found this 1920s child’s dresser at the side of the road.

The dresser project took 8 days and about 35 hours. The real investment was elbow grease. there were 7 layers of paint. We started with the sander and immediately realized we had to get the large bottle of paint stripper. We used all of it.

Each time we applied stripper we kept revealing more colors. When we finally got to the bare wood, we saw cursive writing in black crayon, “Dk. Green,” which was the first paint color applied.

I was really attracted to paint and wood stain used together. I thought the paint really highlighted the wood finish and the lines of the furniture.

Project 2:

How often do you wish there was a Plan B for something you’ve outgrown? For instance, brand new baby furniture is bought, assembled and used all within a short timeframe of two to six years on average. What next? Sell it, give it away, dump it? I say, “Upcycle it!” Just because the diaper days are over doesn’t mean the changing table is obsolete. Make it into something your child can use in his next stage in life: a desk.

A few weeks ago we picked up this incomplete baby changing table from a trash pile. It came wrapped in yellow packing tape so at the moment I grabbed it, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. My guess was a cradle. Wrong. When I laid it out, I concluded it was most of a baby changing table.

I tossed around a few ideas of what to do with it: a tree swing, a bench and a desk.  I went with the desk because I don’t have a good tree swing worthy branch and I don’t need another bench.

How to upcycle a baby changing table into a desk:
1. I used wood glue to assemble it since it didn’t come with the original screws. The wood glue worked great since it has a tongue and groove construction.

2. Since I needed an open front on one side for a desk chair, I used a jigsaw to convert the second shelf into an open storage unit.

3. I used small L-brackets to create the corner in the shelf and to attach the right, vertical piece to the underside of the desktop. These L-brackets were repurposed from a crib I also garbage picked (pretty handy!)

Reassembled and reinforced, I ended up with this charming desk.
The cost breakdown of each of these projects was very minimal.  Dresser: $20 paint stripper, $6 sandpaper, $6 wood stain, the paint we used was already on hand.  Desk: $4 two small L-brackets.
Thanks for sharing your projects with us, Cristin.  If you need any more ideas on how to refinishing or repurposing free furniture finds, here are some past projects from Remodelaholic:
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