The way I shop for furniture is a little different than most people. I love to find the piece that no one sees the beauty in any more. Things that are so old and beat up that at first glance there seems to be no potential.
I live for before and afters – the more dramatic the better. Starting out with something truly ugly only adds to the effect.
So I find myself at lots of thrift stores and yard sales, and of course Richmond’s great provider – the alleys! This recent Salvation Army find is the perfect illustration of what I am talking about.
The first thing I look for is ugly fabric. I am no upholstery genius, although I would like to be, but this kind of chair is super easy to change the fabric on. Seriously, you need a screw driver and a staple gun – that’s it!
Not only is this fabric super ugly but the chair also has a ripped up plastic seat cover dangling from the edges – nice!
The second thing I look for is a bad stain or paint job. A lot of these old pieces have seen a re-do or two and it doesn’t always turn out pretty. I am just going to sand and paint it anyway so it doesn’t scare me.
Dripping stain and chipped varnish are my friends. They mean that everyone else walked past this chair without looking twice leaving it for me to scoop up!
The third thing I look at is the price. I want it cheap! If I am going to put a lot of time and effort (not to mention paint, fabric and supplies) into making these pieces pretty I want to start out with a small investment.
The most important thing to look for is that the piece of furniture you are interested in is built well. If it needs to be fixed do you think you can handle it? If not, just keep on walking because no matter how cute it is it will just end up sitting in your garage or basement. It also help if the piece has good lines and some interesting details.
The funny things is that the pieces I am drawn to were once really nice. You can tell, if you look past all the abuse, that this chair once sat proudly in someones dining room a long, long time ago. Hopefully I will be able to turn these old furniture pieces into the kind of treasures that people will love again!