Monthly Archives: July 2016

Remodeling your chalk to be gorgeous things

Have you fallen in love with the look of chalk painted furniture and are ready to try your hand at doing this yourself? Finding a cheap piece of furniture and transforming it into something beautiful (and possibly sellable) is every DIYer’s dream. If you are thinking about painting some DIY chalk paint projects, you’ll want to read this first.

Should I purchase chalk paint or make it myself?

Chalk paint is a type of paint that you could make yourself using off-the-shelf ingredients. As you might expect, making chalk paint yourself costs a lot less than a name brand however, it’s messy, requires equipment and tools, and there may be a learning curve while you learn how to make the right type for you. Some DIYers find that it may be a matter of trial and error when making their own chalk paint, and getting the correct color and consistency is very important. But quart for quart, making your own chalk paint tends to be a lot less expensive in the long run.

What is chalk paint?

Chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint, is a type of mineral-based paint that gives a chalky or matte appearance to furniture. It’s slightly dusty to the touch due to the ingredients. The main components in chalk paint are pigment (in the form of paint) and either Plaster of Paris, non-sanded grout or calcium carbonate for the mineral component.

Isn’t chalk paint easier to use than other paints?

Yes and no, and depends on the final look you are going for. Any vintage piece of furniture will most likely need some sort of prep work before painting. You might have a piece of furniture with a chipped veneer, gauges, holes to fill or other repair work like sanding that will need to be done first. Acrylic paint usually needs a coat of primer (chalk paint doesn’t), but acrylic may only require one or two coats. Chalk paint may require more than two coats but this depends largely on the color you are painting over and the color you are trying to achieve. Chalk painted furniture usually does better with a coat or two of wax (some paint lines suggest a layer of soft wax followed by a harder wax). This wax layer helps create a smooth surface and helps protect the paint layers. Since many chalk painted pieces are going for a shabby chic appearance, you may also want to follow the waxing with some distressing; sandpaper, chains or other materials may be used to get this distressed look. So chalk paint isn’t necessarily easier or less time consuming, but it will help you achieve the look you are going for.

How can I make chalk paint?

There are different DIY recipes out on the web for making your own chalk paint. Although the ingredients differ slightly, the key to remember is that you should not use a paint with a primer in it. The primer ingredients will not mix well with the mineral or solid materials, and you’ll end up with a semi-solid, goopy mess. Make sure you mix your supplies in a well ventilated area and since the pouring and mixing often lead to a mess, be sure you wear gloves and protect your table or area first. Here is a recipe you can try to make your own chalk paint.

Cheap Decorating Tips For Your Home

When you hear the word “marble” you don’t immediately think “affordable.” It’s imported, it’s a real material, it’s heavy, it’s one-of-a-kind. But if you still love the look of marble and want to try decorating with it without spending a lot, you’re in luck. Here are some top marble-inspired projects to buy or DIY.

Faux marble contact paper

You can find marbleized contact paper in your local home improvement store, sometimes in a variety of colors. Try covering an MDF table top or shelf with this sticky paper. It won’t feel like marble, and may appear a bit shiny compared to marble, so use this on something that is small or a bit out of direct eye level.

Marble printed laminate

Laminate has come a long way since the 70’s and now you can find some fairly realistic digital images of marble printed on affordable laminate. This is a great project when you need to resurface your kitchen island or countertops, or even in the bathroom. Laminate is easy to find and purchase by the square foot.

Ask your salesperson to show you images of what you can expect the counter to look like afterward – real marble has uneven veining, laminate may not.

Marble printed tile

Inexpensive tile, for flooring, the bathroom, or countertops, can be found with printed designs that mimic the look of wood grain or real stone, like marble. The advantage is in the cost as well as the installation. Additionally this faux marble tile may be found in thin versions, which can be important for some home projects.

Other stones that looks like marble

Although an expert can spot real marble a mile away, some other less expensive types of stone can mimic the white, veined look of marble. Limestone or quartz can sometimes have a marble-esque look, and you can find it on coffee tables, tile or dining tables. When shopping for furniture with a stone top, ask the manufacturer to let you know what exactly it’s made of. This will help you know how to maintain it over time.

Marble fabric

Digital printing has allowed manufacturers to print fabric in a huge array of realistic designs, like marble. You can look online for wholesale or fabric sold by the yard, or try shopping for already made objects. You can find marbled pillows at Madura Home for $70.

Marble wallpaper

Like contact paper, you can find some great wallpaper designs printed in a marble pattern. This material would be great for hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms or entryways. Right now you can find some great wallpaper patterns at West Elm as well as wall decals from Walmart.

Classic decor tip for your home

When you love to decorate and design your home, it’s tempting to be pulled into the direction of the latest design trend. Like fashion, home decor trends, colors and patterns are constantly changing to reflect the style of the time. But just like fashion, there are plenty of “little black dresses” that seem to never go out of style. Here are some great pieces to invest in that have stood the test of time, and may be worthwhile investments for your home.

1. Designer furniture/furnishings: This would include pieces by well-known designers like Ray and Charles Eames, Le Corbusier, or Isamu Noguchi and also furniture by well-known design manufacturers like Knoll, Herman Miller, Heath Ceramics, or Vitra. The furniture and decor created by examples such as these were not only incredibly well-designed, there is a design integrity that withstands criticism. Year after year manufactuers continue to produce these original designs to fulfill the needs of design afficianados as they know that although expensive, these are classics that can be handed down to the next generation.

Buyer beware: these are also the designs most often knocked off. Knock offs are generally less expensive due to the fact that they are poorly made, mass produced and created using inferior materials. To the trained eye, knock-offs look nothing like the original creations. If you want to buy an original be sure to do your homework. A quick search will indicate which manufacturer owns the license to produce the original design and most often these will be signed, marked or numbered.

2. Good lighting: Lighting is one of the easiest interior design tricks to employ to make your home look and feel professionally designed. Sadly, many homes aren’t built with great lighting and homeowners are forced to bring in lamps, sconces or add-ons. When choosing lighting, always look for well-made pieces that aren’t flimsy. For example, you don’t want the swinging arm lamp to break after a year or two. Look for lighting that helps illuminate the room evenly with a good shade. Choose styles that have withstood the test of time yet fit within your design aesthetic. And don’t be afraid to mix your eras: the Bubble lamps (designed by George Nelson) were originally designed in the late 1940’s but still look incredibly modern.

3. Artwork: Art is one of those interior design strategies that does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact, it can often been a great DIY project to work on. They key to making your artwork become a classic is to make sure you are choosing pieces that really reflect your personality, or the personality of your family. Jumping on a trend or simply buying posters that suit your temporary passions may not last past the next year. Pieces that tell a story, artwork from your childhood, or blown up photographs from your collection will always be cherished. The best part about artwork is that in general it’s easy to move around so make sure you experiment with rooms or walls, or even take a few pieces down for awhile and let them “rest.” And updating an older piece of art may simply require a new frame.

4. “Real” materials: Real wood, ceramic tile or terrazzo was made to last for decades (or longer). If properly maintained they could last well over 100 years. Good quality flooring will be a worth-while investment as you’ll be using materials meant to last. The same can be said for linen, marble, copper, leather, or slate. When it comes time to choose materials for your home, and you’re looking for something that will last, start with the materials that historically have lasted a long time. Think too about how the material ages over time. Leather, for example, tends to look worn in – think how great an aged leather jacket looks and feels. But cheap upholstery tends to look worn out and tired over time. In another example, marble can actually look better over time with a few marks on the surface. It’s this very patina that manufacturers try to mimic (think of pre-faded and torn denim jeans). Some materials just look better over time so keep this in mind when making big home improvement decisions.