Make Your Living Room Comfy and Beautiful

Make Your Living Room Comfy and Beautiful

 The Heart of Your Home

It is said that home is where your heart is.  I believe that is true, and by the same token the living room in the heart of your house.  Not the true heart of the home of course.  The living room is simply made up of wood, plaster, fabric and brick.  The real heart of your home is the people who share in the making of the home each and every day.  But within the house there is no room more alive, comfortable, and where we connect more with friends and family than the living room or family room.

This is the room where guests are typically invited to sit and relax.  It is the usually the first room anyone will see.  It is where the children play in the floor and where the family comes together to communicate and relax together for a movie, a book or just some good old fashioned conversation.

If you want to invigorate your home, and make it really speak to what is important to you, and the things you love then turn your attention to thinking over the current situation, and the limitless possibilities of the living room.

Does your current furniture, or even the way it is situated tell everyone who comes into your home about what you think and feel about your home and your family?  It should, because every person who walks into your home can infer many things about you based on what your living room decor and furnishings tell them.

There are a couple of things you can do that will help you remake your living room into the heart of the house as it should be.  First, take a look at your current set up.  Does it tell a story of what is important to you and your family?  Is it comfortable?  Is it visually pleasing?

Ask yourself these questions as you step back and look at your current living room.  If the answers are no, then it’s time to get to work.  Here are a few tips that you can utilize to help you revitalize your living room.

1) Move The Furniture Around – Has it been a while since your moved the furniture around?  If so, just reposition some things.  This will inject new life into the room immediately.

2) Set up the Room for Comfort – Do you feel comfortable relaxing in the living room?  If not, take steps to ensure that your guests and family are comfortable relaxing with you in the living room.  Add more pillows, an ottoman.  Just make it a comfortable place.  A living room can and should be both comfortable and beautiful

3) Buy New Furniture – If you have the budget you can always redecorate your living room with new furniture.  This is a guaranteed (but more expensive) way to inject new life into the living room.  If you need a good place to shop  try sellers of shabby chic furniture such as Layla Grace and The Bella Cottage.

4) Create Your Own – You are likely at this site because you are crafty and want to learn all about chalk paint anyways.  So browse our site  How To Distress for tutorials on how to turn your current furniture into new masterpieces all on your own.

Remember that your living room is the heart of your house and it needs to tell everyone who sees it something about you and your family.  Get creative and start rearranging your living room today to add some new life.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain

Add a Beautiful Antique Patina Using Wood Stain or Antique Glaze

Using wood stain or antiquing glaze is one of the most effective furniture aging effects that you can utilize to antique a piece of furniture. There are so many options with these two. You can take a piece of furniture with shiny, brand new paint, and add decades or centuries of natural-looking aging in just a matter of minutes, and the results are incredible.

Antiqued Cabinets with Antique Glaze or Stain


Depending on the piece you are working on, using stain or glaze can be a tedious job, but the results are well worth it.  Antiquing furniture with stain or glaze will add a darkened patina to the top of your piece, and creates the appearance of dark buildup in any crevices, lines, and design work your piece may have.

So what is the difference in the two? Truth be told, not much, but there are some minor differences. Both essentially perform the same function and perform it well. Wood stain is very thin and can be a little messier to work with. Glaze is generally thicker, will finish a bit darker, and sometimes is more of a paste. Both come in multiple colors and shades. Stain tends to work better if you are working on a flat surface, but glaze is our preferred choice when working on anything with design carvings, lines and crevices. The glaze attaches itself down in those surfaces and ridges very well with very little running, and gives your piece a fantastic, authentically aged finish from another era.

To show you how to do it we will take a look at some kitchen cabinets that we were recently working on for a client of ours. We glazed all of their cabinets using M.L. Campbell Vintage Alkyd Glaze in a ‘Raw Umber’ color. The cabinets were a brand new, pure white, and they wanted them to look antiqued to add some character and aging.

What You Will Need

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-2

Antique Glaze or Wood Stain – In the picture you can see the Campbell Glaze and also the Valspar Antiquing Glaze. You do not need both of these. We are just showing you some of the available options. Both are great choices.

Foam Brushes – You can use regular brushes, but these foam brushes are excellent for flat surfaces, and for getting the glaze to stick in crevices. Plus they are very cheap so if you don’t get one cleaned in time, it’s not a big loss.
Clean Dry Cloths/Rags – We recommend soft t-shirt or sheet material cut into smaller pieces. Lowes sells a bag of pre-cut t-shirt material cloths for about $2. They work very well with glaze and stain.

Wax/Polyurethane or Other Sealant – Minwax Furniture Paste works well or you can use something like Polyurethane for a higher gloss and stronger finish.  We used the Minwax on these cabinets.
Mineral Spirits – Mineral spirits will be needed to clean up any glaze or stain that goes awry, fix mistakes, and sometimes you just may need to start over – Don’t feel bad, it happens.

How It’s Done

Start by cleaning your piece VERY well. Warm water and a mild soap or detergent can be fine if it is dirty. You can also use a cheese cloth. Whatever is needed, just make sure it is clean.

When the piece is clean and dry, mix your glaze (or shake it well), and dip your foam brush in. Now begin applying the glaze to the surface. It will look awful at first, and will be very dark, but don’t worry.


How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-3
Wait a few seconds. How long you wait depends on how dark you want your finish to be. The longer you wait the darker it will get. But don’t wait too long. It will also begin to dry and will be hard to remove. 10-15 seconds should be plenty for most projects.

Use a Smooth Hand and a Clean Cloth For Best Results
Now take a clean cloth and begin wiping the antique glaze or wood stain off.  It will take a little practice to get the feel for this.  Just work with it.  You have at least 15 minutes, and maybe more depending on humidity, climate, and temperature so just work with it until you get the look you like.   Apply more glaze if you take too much off, and use the mineral spirits to clean up mistakes or remove the glaze all together.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-4


Get Your Groove On

Next you want to start working the glaze/stain into any grooves, lines, design work like in the first picture at the top of the page.  This is where the best effects are made with antique glaze and stain. On this cabinet door you can see we had some nice grooves to work with, and this is where the foam brushes come in handy.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-5

Dip the brush in the glaze and use the pointed tip to work the glaze into the grooves. Wipe any runs, and wipe back some of the glaze in the grooves if you get it darker than you like using a nice, clean, dry cloth.  Just work with it until it starts looking authentically aged.  Go with your instincts.  You will know when it looks right.  The keys with this technique are being patient, and working with it until you get it right.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-6


Let it Dry, then Seal it

We would generally recommend waiting at least 24 hours, but 48 would be better. Just make sure it is fully dry before sealing the piece.  If the piece is not completely dry you will wipe off your lovely new antiqued patina when you try to apply the wax or polyurethane.  This will cause a big problem and will ruin your work.  Just be patient and make extra sure that all of the glaze/stain is perfectly dry and will not wipe off when you apply the sealant.

Now that your piece is completely dry, go ahead and seal it with wax or polyurethane and you are all set.  If you are using furniture wax, just apply with clean, dry, lint-free cloths (t-shirt material works great).  Apply in a circular motion and cover the whole piece.  Wait at least 15 minutes, then buff the entire piece with a new, clean cloth.  The more you buff, the higher the finish shine will be.

Pro Tip:  Wax will easily build up in grooves, crevices and design work so keep your eyes out for that and use a Q-Tip or something similar to easily remove it.

Using wood stain is the exact same process as the glaze. Just follow the steps above if you want to use stain.


Antiqued Cabinets with Antique Glaze or Stain


We hope you have enjoyed this free tutorial on how to antique furniture with glaze or stain.  It is a very time consuming job, especially if working on a large project like cabinets, but learning this technique alone can save you literally hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars.


Beautiful Blue Dresser

Beautiful Blue Dresser

Just wanted to share some pictures of this gorgeous blue 9-drawer distressed dresser we recently worked on for the cover of our upcoming book.

This dresser needed some work when we got it so we completed the repairs, and used the lines and design work to play two colors off of each other.  We used a light blue chalk paint as the main color and completed the accent trim in a whitish/blue chalk paint, then distressed the finish, antiqued it using MinWax Golden Oak stain and finished it with MinWax furniture paste.

We share all of our techniques in the upcoming book so stay tuned for more details and to get first access to the book at a special price sign up for our email list here:
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We are selling this dresser so if you are in our area  in Whitsett, NC (or want to come here)  please contact us.  This is a very special and elegant piece.  You have to see it in person to appreciate it.

Hope you enjoy the photos

7 Cool Yard Sale Tips

7 Cool Yard Sale Tips

Spring Is On The Way

Hi Friends,

I know it’s been a while since we’ve been in touch with you, and we didn’t want you to think we have forgotten about you.  Angie and I have been very busy on several distressed furniture projects for clients, and a couple family members.
7 Yard Sale TIps

Today it was in the 70’s here in North Carolina and the beautiful smells and heavenly sights of Spring are all around us.  So we’ve naturally been thinking about all the things we want to do with all of this wonderful weather that is headed our way.

It’s Almost Yard Sale Season

One of the most exciting things that we love to do together this time of year is go to yard sales, garage sales and estate auctions.  The season for all of these great opportunities to score some great new items for the house will be in full swing, and we plan on taking full advantage of these.

It’s not just about housewares, furniture and great deals though.  To get out early on a Saturday morning in the Spring with a hot cup of coffee, a pocket full of small paper bills, and start hunting for bargains is such a great experience.  Yes, it may not be for everybody, but we love it and there are very few ways to find such amazing deals.

So here are a few tips to getting out there and having a great time.

  • Go Early – Not just early in the morning (although that is an absolute must), but go early in the season.  Some folks have multiple yard sales throughout the year and you can be the first to get to the good stuff!
  • Bargain – Yard sales are about bargaining.  Never pay the ticket price.  It’s half the fun anyway and the people expect it.
  • Ask About Other Items – If you like the style of furniture that you see, but don’t see the right piece, don’t be afraid to ask the people if they have anything else they want to sell.  You may get hold of something no one else will!
  • Go On Friday – This tactic can either blow up on you or work out great.  Go around neighborhoods on Friday afternoons and look for yard sale people that are setting up tables and putting out merchandise.  Ask politely if you can look around.  Some people will tell you know but a lot will say yes.  Remember they want to get rid of this stuff so they are more than happy to take your money in most cases.
  • Go To Upscale Neighborhoods – Look for sales in upscale neighborhoods.  A lot of times you can find really nice pieces for a great deal.  A lot of times it’s not about the money for them, but moving out the junk so ask for a good deal and you’ll probably get it.
  • Church Yardsales – These can be excellent sources of great items.  They typically get a bunch of families in the church to set up booths or tables in the parking lot.  You can go to 50 different yard sales at once when you find these.
  • Take Cash – I know this is kind of obvious but just don’t forget to go to the bank on Friday and don’t take all $20’s.  A good mix of $1’s, $5’s and $10’s does the trick.  You don’t want the seller to be rethinking the bargain he just gave you while he searches for change!

Those are some good tips to get you started.  The main thing is to get out there.  Spring is a simply wonderful time to be out looking for bargains and these types of sales will be everywhere soon.

Thanks so much!  We love having each and every one of you around.

How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

how to build brick book shelf

We shared recently some pictures of our two new brick book shelves that we built in one afternoon for less than $40.00.  We told you we would be sharing a tutorial on how to build a brick book shelf for your own home so here it is.

Yes, most people could probably look at the shelf and see how to make your own, but we do tutorials here as you know, so we wanted to put together this quick tutorial to show you how we built these beautiful brick book shelves.

Now, there are of course a million ways you can do this project.  You can use many different types of bricks, material for shelves, stain colors or paint, different sizes to fit your needs, etc.

We chose this particular style and size to fit the needs of the room we put them in so be sure to do the same.  Take this information and be creative.





What You Will Need

  • Bricks – Choose Your Own Color, Size and Style – For ours we used simple red bricks from Lowes $0.49 each.  We used about 40 of them but this will vary depending on the size book shelf that you are building
  • Shelving Board – We chose 3/4 x 6 shelving board from Lowes
  • Skil Saw or Hand Saw – Unless you buy your shelving board already pre-cut in the size you need
  • Wood Stain – Choose your color – We mixed Minwax Dark Walnut and Golden Oak together to get the shade we were looking for
  • Sandpaper – 150 grit
  • Foam Paint Brush or Clean Cloth
  • Furniture Wax or Polyurethane
  • Clean Cloths

Step 1

how to build brick book shelf

Cut the shelving board into 2 foot sections (remember this is what we did on this book shelf.  If you need a bigger book shelf adjust according to your needs)

Step 2

how to build brick book shelf

Use sandpaper to smooth and round the corners and edges of the board.  This step may be optional, but we do this whenever we cut shelving board.  The smooth, rounded edges give it a very nice, professional looking finish.

On this step we used an electric sander, and if you have one it is highly recommended.  It will save you a ton of time and effort.  However, if you don’t have one it is not mandatory.  You can sand it by hand.

Step 3

how to build brick book shelf

Use foam brush or a clean cloth to apply the wood stain to the newly cut and sanded shelving board.  Apply liberally and wipe off the excess to quicken the drying time

When the stain has completely dried, seal the shelves with furniture wax or polyurethane.  We used Minwax Furniture Paste.  Wipe on with a clean, cloth.  Let dry 10-15 minutes then buff with a new, clean cloth

minwax furniture paste












Step 4

how to build a brick book shel

Assemble your bricks and begin stacking them to put the shelves onto.   For ours 2 bricks on each side of the base was sufficient as we were making small book shelves.  On a longer book shelf you may need to add more to the sides or middle for stability.

***Stability is everything on these and it pays to go slowly.  We’re not using mortar or any kind of sealant so the bricks are merely stacked. You do not want this bookcase coming down on a curious toddler

As you can see on ours we used 6 bricks on each side of each shelf.  Doing it this way you could not go any higher than 2 shelves and maintain stability.

If you want to go higher than 2 shelves then put the appropriate amount of bricks needed to allow room for your books on the bottom shelf then subtract at least 1 and maybe 2 bricks per side for each shelf as you go up.

So for example on our bookcase we have 6 on each side for each shelf.  If we were going higher we might do 12 total bricks on the bottom shelf, 10 on the next shelf up, then 8 on the next.

This will all depend on what size bricks you are using, how long and how tall the shelf will be.  Just play with it and do what works for you.  If it’s unstable then it’s unstable.  Keep trying until you get it pretty stable.  You don’t want to take a chance of it toppling over.

Final Product

That’s it really.  It’s very easy and very cheap to make.  I personally don’t know where you could get a bookcase with more character and rich, rustic style for so little money and effort.

how to build a brick book shel


Turn A Picture Frame Into A Distressed Vanity Tray

Turn A Picture Frame Into A Distressed Vanity Tray

We found this little picture frame at Goodwill for .99 cents.  It’s very simple and unassuming, but we thought it would be a really example of what you can do with a little imagination.

We took this picture frame and within less than an hour had a cute little distressed vanity tray.  Our daughter Hannah has already requisitioned it for her room.

Most of us probably have some simple picture frame or small mirror laying around the house that would make a great vanity tray.

So, here’s what we did.  Hope you enjoy!

distressed vanity tray

Tools Needed

  • small picture frame (with glass) or small mirror
  • chalk paint (2 colors)
  • paintbrush
  • sandpaper or steel wool
  • wax (optional)

1)  Paint the frame with your main color.  We did a basic white on this one

distressed vanity tray

distressed vanity tray



2) Paint the glass with your second color.  We used a dark charcoal gray

distressed vanity tray

3)  Let the paint dry, then distress

When thoroughly dry distress as desired using the sandpaper around corners, edges and raised areas

distressed vanity tray


distressed vanity tray


4)  Add wax if desired, otherwise you can now use it as a cute little vanity tray


distressed vanity tray

distressed vanity tray