This past month, like many college students, I was moving into my first apartment.
And like many college students, I was (and am) on a tight budget.
Luckily my apartment came with some furniture (a few hideous chairs — slipcovers! — and a pretty hideous loveseat — slipover! — to name a few) but I had to fill the gaps on my own. I struggled between needing to save money and wanting to have a seriously stylish apartment.
The first place I started on my quest for a chic cheap place was my parents’ house; I went on a hunt for hidden decorating treasure. I found two tables that had much potential, a side table and a coffee table. All they needed to perfectly work in my new place was a touch of paint.
If you’re decorating on a budget, a great place to start is furniture shopping at thrifts stores, flea markets, and your parents’ or grandparents’ houses. New furniture will eat up your decorating funds in a flash, much more so than art and accents. Find furniture on the cheap that you can easily revamp with a coat of paint.
I’m no expert, and I had no idea what I was doing. But I’m assuming 99% of college kids are the same way. Here’s how I quickly and easily revamped some long-forgotten tables. They’re now my favorite items in my new place:
The basic supplies you’ll need: paint, sand paper, a drop cloth and brushes. I used 2 brushes (1 small and 1 medium) in the foam variety and had one bristle style on hand, but I didn’t end up needing it.
BEFORE – coffee table
BEFORE – bedside table
Step 1: If your item needs any repairs, do those first. My coffee table had a piece break off a while ago, so I needed to fix it. If you need to put a piece back on, an easy fix is using gorilla glue. You just have to apply the glue and clamp it tightly for a few hours.
Step 2: With the sand paper, sand the item using circular motions. When you’re done, remove all the dust.
Step 3: Start painting! It’s pretty self-explanatory, just figure out what works for you. Allow time to dry in between coats, and do as many coats as you’d like until you achieve the color you want.
Step 4: Allow to dry overnight. Then, enjoy!
AFTER – coffee table
AFTER – bedside table