Too Thrifty Chicks



Tidbit Tuesday: Turning Tables

Not Right side up Table

So when is a random coffee table from Ikea and Kmart, more than just a table? When you turn it into art.

Exhibit A: Black rectangular tables.


Randomly enough, we had these nearly identical coffee tables when we moved in together. Reese was considering sending hers to the trash heap because, seriously, why would we need two tables? But in the spirit of our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, we decided to keep both tables and try to do something with them.

Now, often times when either one of us says this, stuff just gets dusty in a corner. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? We considered painting them, but we were pretty sick of painting from our previous thrifty DIY furniture projects. Plus, the weather had turned cold and drying time would be forever. But luckily the Ikea catalog had a ready solution: cover it with fabric. Duh.

Exhibit B: The fabric

This fabric should look familiar. It’s the same one  Ricks used on her headboard. Because it was 99 cents a freaking yard, she couldn’t resist (way before her pre-Operation Do Better days) buying the fabric in the off white color and the black. She bought four yards of each, so clearly we still have enough for lots of projects. Pillows anyone?

Photo Dec 05, 9 20 08 PM

All you need is some kind of all purpose adhesive and/or a staple gun, which cost about $10. We used a spray adhesive and a staple gun since we had both. Because of the table shapes it’s easy to get crisp corners and wrap the fabric around the table like a Christmas present.

The legs of the tables screw in to the bottom and we left them bare for contrast. Reese’s table had a wobbly leg so we ultimately ditched all of her legs — saving them for another upcoming project of course — and added the table top to our television stand.

About 30 to 45 minutes of work and less than $20 netted us two cool tables that bring color and pattern into our space without paint.  A quick DIY is a done DIY. Git ‘er done.

— R&R20121205_215504



Tidbit Tuesday: Quick Headboard Solutions

I cannot tell you the last time I had a headboard for my bed. Actually I can…it was before I went to college! It’s not because I didn’t want a headboard. They can be quite useful. I just never saw any that I liked when I shopped for them. Last year I had the idea of making one, but never got around to it. This year I decided I’d stop procrastinating.

I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Alexandria looking for old shutters. My original plan was to piece together different types of shutters to make a headboard, but when I got to the store and saw these, I knew my life would be so much easier because the set was already wide enough to fit my bed and tall enough to take up some wall space.

Shutters before they were cleaned and hung

Shutters before they were cleaned and hung

I bought two sets for $10. I cleaned them up (boy were they dusty!) and then hung them on the wall using these Interlocking Flush Mounts for $1.29 each (I needed two sets) from Amazon. After cleaning the shutters and about 30 minutes of measuring and marking, this is what I ended up with:




Like me, Ricks also had neglected hanging a proper headboard. Her room posed an additional challenge because her bed is anchored on a wall with a window right in the middle of it. Ricks’ vision was to use a screen that could double as a headboard and a filter for the light coming into her room. Guess what we found hidden in our basement? A screen! The previous tenants left it behind. You know what they say…another person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Ricks hit the jackpot!


She cut out some of the rectangles using an exacto knife and replaced them with sheets of fabric to give it the look she wanted.

old fabric replaced with new.

old fabric replaced with new.

Hanging her headboard was tricky because she had to work around the window frame. To solve the issue, she purchased a pre-cut strip of wood from Home Depot that was roughly the width of her window frame, sawed it in half, and mounted the headboard to the pieces of wood. She used the same flush mounts I did before adhering it to the wall.


The final result gives her exactly the look she wanted to achieve while allowing light to come in through the room’s only window.




Using low cost and free materials, both of us now have headboards that cost less than 15 bucks. If you’re interested in making a headboard and need inspiration, spend some time googling DIY headboards. You’ll find amazing options.

Until Next Time,



DIY Project: Nightstand Makeovers

We’re settling into to the Thrifty Palace and having a great time with DIY projects to spruce up our home. Our first projects were geared toward organizing and decorating our bedrooms. Nightstands (or pieces you can use as nightstands) are relatively easy to find in thrift stores. The pieces we used in these projects were less than $13.00 each. None of the pieces were perfect. My night stand had some discoloration and the one Ricks revamped had this god awful laquer from the 1960s, 70s, or 80s. Yet, we saw potential in each piece, which ultimately led to beautiful outcomes.

Ricks' jolly green nightstands before the make over.

Ricks’ jolly green nightstands before the make over.

Selecting Furniture: Natasha offered great tips for selecting furniture in her guest post a few weeks ago. The only thing we’d add is make sure the piece you choose has the necessary amount of storage you’re looking for. The matching night stands Ricks chose have enough surface space to hold lamps and books. They also have very deep drawers that provide functional storage. It was also important to her to have matching nighstands so that they would be equal height. My nightstand only has one drawer, but it works well for the small items that I need to get to regularly. Additionally, it has a cut out on each side, so I added  baskets to hold more things. I don’t need two night stands, so the uniqueness of this piece worked for my needs.

A Note on Spray Paint: Ricks originally tried Krylon Spray Paint, and it was teeerrrrrriiiibbbbllle!  It sprayed on clumpy, and Ricks got more spray paint on her hands than on the nightstand! We initially thought it was a bad batch, but when she tried the spray paint in another color, we discovered that the spray paint just isn’t great quality. We then found Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Spray Paint, and we both had great experiences with it. Since then, we’ve used the same brand in three additional colors for other projects. We highly recommend it, as we’ve seen it bond well to several different surfaces.


Nightstand after one coat of Krylon spray paint…yuck!

This wack spray paint gets the side eye

This wack spray paint gets the side eye


The top drawer after being painted with Rust-Oleum….the bottom drawer painted with Krylon…see the difference?

A Note on Time: Prepping the pieces + the spray paint debacle + the cold weather slowing down the drying time + spraying multiple coats caused this project to span a couple days. We’re fortunate to have some grass space in our backyard, so we were able to leave the pieces out for a long time. If you don’t have that luxury, you may want to make sure you take on spray paint projects on sunny, warm weekends when you’ve got plenty of time.

Works in Progress:


Furniture beware: she’s armed and dangerous!


Taking off the knobs before spray painting

after the first coat of spray paint

after the first coat of spray paint

Ta da! We’re done!

Ricks chose Satin Lemon Grass as the color for her nightstand
Ricks chose Satin Lemon Grass as the color for her nightstand

Reese chose Satin Eden for her nightstand.

We’re both quite fond of how our nightstands turned out. Looking forward to the next DIY projects for each of our rooms. Stay tuned. 🙂

Have you taken on any DIY projects lately? Have any spray paint tips? Share them with us and our thrifty readers. 

Until next time,



Natasha’s Revamped Night Stand

Natasha McClendon, Guest Contributor

As a struggling grad student, spending money on furniture is not the business. But creating a unique, vintage feel to the decor in my new apartment without breaking the bank is a must for me.

Now, I could have rolled down to Ikea, but I decided that heading to my favorite local thrift store, Value Village, would be a more cost efficient option.

Value Villages are among my favorite thrift store haunts, but the Hyattsville Value Village is my go-to for furniture.  On a visit a couple of weeks ago,  I lucked up and found this great hardwood nightstand with campaign drawer pulls and gold corners.  And the price was more than right at $6.99!

It was just the type of vintage piece I was looking for and I knew that a fresh coat of paint would give it new life and make it a perfect addition to my bedroom.

I popped into my local Home Depot for paint and bought a quart of the  Behr Premium paint + primer combo in teal  for about $15. I already had a paint brush, so I was ready to go to work.

I spent the Frankenstorm (a.k.a. Superstorm Sandy) giving the nightstand an easy and fresh makeover. I only applied one coat of paint plus a few touch ups. The process took about two hours from start to finish.

I am very happy with the outcome and even happier that the cost of the nightstand and supplies was less than $25!

Thrifting is a great way to look for timeless furniture pieces that can be  personalized with just a few easily obtainable supplies like paint. The key is focusing on quality and seeing the potential in a piece. Here are a few more tips to get you started on your own DIY furniture projects:

  • Don’t buy anything that you don’t have a plan for. Before you buy it, envision how you will use it and where it would go.
  • Don’t buy something if you don’t know how to repair it yourself (or don’t know someone who can repair it for you on the free or cheap). It will do you no good to spend your money, no matter how little money it is, if the item needs repairs that you don’t have the skills to make.
  • Have an idea of what type of piece you are looking for before you shop. If you’ve already got a vision in your head, it will stop you from buying things you are less likely to use.
  • When you’re shopping for furniture, be on the look out for solid wood pieces. Real wood lasts longer and is  usually the best quality.