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 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


Old Distressed Ladder

Old Distressed Ladder

Just wanted to share a few shots of this old ladder we distressed and antiqued for a friend recently.   Our friend cut off half of the ladder and got us to put this really nice distressed finish on it.  We used white and beige with some dry brushed hints of dark gray for contrast, then antiqued the finish.

He gave it to his wife for their anniversary this year to use to hang towels or quilts.  A beautiful distressed ladder.   The possibilities of using this to accent your home are nearly endless.


Distressed Ladder

You might also like this website on DIY and more!

Another Repurposed Chest – This Time Into A Bookcase!

Another Repurposed Chest – This Time Into A Bookcase!

Angie and I got our hands on this old chest of drawers that was actually just a chest in that there were NO DRAWERS when we got it.

It was pretty clear that this piece of furniture’s days as a chest of drawers were over and it had few options for life beyond it’s initial purpose.

Well, of course you all know that we love a good challenge so we talked about whether or not this piece had any repurposing potential and, being major lovers of reading and books, the idea that this would make a wonderful bookcase came to our minds.

The chest is really beautiful and made of all solid woods so we didn’t want to see it go to waste.

***THE I BLEW IT MOMENT:  I guess in ever project there is always some sort of moment where you blow it in some way or another.  On this one I (Chris that is!) forgot to take pictures of the chest before we started working on it.   I really hate that I did that because you won’t be able to appreciate what this thing looked like when we got it.  It had no back, no bottom and still had the drawer slides.  The before picture below is from during the restoration when I realized I had forgotten to take the pictures.

Better luck for me next time.  Let’s move on.

Anyway, we set to work on it.   We added a bottom, a back, removed the drawers slides, and added shelves and got a really wonderful bookcase when all was said and done.

Well, here is the final result and if you are interested this bookcase is for sale at our sales website

The bookcase is finished in a dark black/gray/purple tint called Last Black Rose from Color Place.  The interior and shelves are finished in a regal red from Glidden.  The case is moderately distressed and accented with white, gray and black highlights.

Make sure you share the photos on your social sites and join our newsletter for tons of cool information!

Angie and Chris

distressed chest turned into bookcase

distressed chest turned into bookcase


distressed chest turned into bookcase

distressed chest turned into bookcase

distressed chest turned into bookcase

Some Other Things You May Like



Distressed Coffee Table

Distressed Coffee Table

In this tutorial we are going to show you what we did with a small coffee table using the candle wax and chalk paint method.

coffee table

The table is a very lightweight piece but has some nice design work and we thought it would make a good distressed furniture piece.  It was originally finished in a dark mahogany stain.




  • Chalk Paint – You can buy the Annie Sloan brand or you can make your own with our VERY simple recipe here:  How To Make Chalk Paint
  • Regular Latex paint for the undercoat that will show after distressing the piece
  • Paint Brushes
  • Steel Wool Pads and/or medium grade sandpaper (use a sanding block if you prefer)
  • Finishing Wax – On this piece we used MinWax Paste Finishing Wax but you can also use Annie Sloan’s waxes made especially for chalk paint or you can finish it with a fast drying polyurethane or some other similar finish
  • Clean, dry cloths or rags
  • Candle Wax



We’ used chalk paint so we didn’t need to do any type of sanding or other prep work.

We decided to do an undercoat in a dark color to show under the topcoat after we distressed the table.  We chose an interior latex paint from Color Place.  The color is called “Coalmine”

You can paint the entire piece in the under coat color if you wish, which is what we did on this table, or you can cover only the areas you are going to distress.  To see how this is done see our Red Dresser tutorial





After the paint dried we took some basic candles and began to apply wax anywhere around the piece where we wanted it to be distressed later on.  The wax makes the top coat of paint peel off with ease, making your job of distressing much more enjoyable!

*TIP: Remember to focus the wax on areas that will naturally distress in an original piece.  This is usually corners, edges, engraved areas, high ridges and similar areas.

applying the wax

applying the wax



For the top coat we decided on a light butter-cream yellow.  We used Valspar Signature interior latex but any good latex paint will do the job

You can do one or two coats.  Whatever you prefer but on this one we only needed one.




After the paint had dried thoroughly we went ahead and began applying the finish.  We used the MinWax Furniture Paste again on this one because we didn’t want anything too glossy.  If you want a higher shine finish you can use polyurethane.

Apply the past per the instructions.  You generally want to apply it on the entire piece with a clean, dry cloth.

waxing the table

waxing the table

NOTE: You may want to additionally use a waxing brush when you have design work such as seen on this table.  It makes it much easier to get the wax in those small grooves.  We didn’t use one on this piece but it does help a lot.

Wait 10-15 minutes for the paste to dry and then begin buffing with a clean cloth.  The more you buff the more shine you will get so adjust your buffing according to the look you wish to achieve on your piece.



Alright, now down to the fun part!  We used the steel wool and sandpaper to begin scuffing the table in the areas in which we had applied the candle wax earlier to begin showing that Coalmine black color underneath the yellow top coat.

We also scuffed and scraped on other areas as well until we got the optimum amount of distressing that we were looking for on this piece.

Ultimately we decided to go with a moderately distressed look.

distressed coffee table

distressed coffee table

distressed coffee table



Well, here it is!    Not bad for a little bit of supplies and elbow grease.

distressed coffee table

Thanks again for checking another of our easy tutorials on how to distress furniture.  We hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you think and if you have any questions.

Happy Painting!

Living Room End Table

Living Room End Table



In this tutorial we are going to show you how we distressed a very simple living room end table.


distressing supplies

  • Chalk Paint – You can buy this from Annie Sloan or you can make your own with our VERY simple recipe here:  How To Make Chalk Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Steel Wool Pads and/or medium grade sandpaper
  • Finishing Wax – On this piece we used MinWax Paste Finishing Wax but you can also use Annie Sloan’s waxes made especially for chalk paint or you can finish it with a fast drying polyurethane.
  • Rags
  • Vaseline or Candle Wax (on this one we used neither but it is up to you if you use them – it is MUCH easier if you use one of them but we were trying to get a very scuffed look so we chose not to)


To fit the color of our living room we decided to go with an olive shade of green.

Alright, here is what she looked like before we got going.  This was sitting beside our couch for general use as an end table when we decided to give it some life by making it look beat up.


end table beginning



Now, the key to a distressing furniture is scuffing down on the top coat of paint to reveal one or many older coats of paint underneath.  You can achieve this a few ways.  You can just keep the original finish on the piece and simply paint over it, you can paint a bottom coat with one color or wood stain (which will be revealed when distressed) and then apply a top coat in another color, or you can simply paint the areas of the item that you are going to distress and then apply a top coat (to see this check out our dresser/hutch tutorial)

On this item we liked the blonde stain and just decided to put the top coat of olive green right over it.

The great thing about distressing furniture with chalk paint is that it is so easy to use.  It requires no sanding and no prep work.  We literally took the items off of this table and began painting.

So get your brushes and your chalk paint and begin painting.


painting the end table painting the end table  painting the end table

 finishing painting

We decided on this item to only use one coat of paint.  Depending on the look you want and the paint you are using you may want to do another coat.  The green covered fairly well on the first coat and we wanted to see some brush strokes for a really authentic look so we stopped at one.


Now, let the paint dry.  How long really depends.  Could be 2 hours, could be 4 but we were good to go in less than 2.



Now that you have the item painted and dried you are ready to begin distressing.  If you remember, on this piece we did not use vaseline or candle wax which helps the top coat of paint peel off easily so we just decided to begin scuffing the paint with the steel wool and sandpaper and just working the item one area at a time.

Paint naturally wears off of furniture on raised edges, corners and high traffic areas such as around handles and knobs, so you’ll want to scuff the paint off in these areas.  You can, of course, distress the item in any place you wish but focusing on these areas will give it a very natural look.

scuffing the edges

The great part about the distressing process is that you can become the artist and make it your very own.  Just start slow, however, and get a feel for how the item is coming together.  You’ll know what looks right when you see it.   Don’t overdo it at first.

Try to think of how an old piece of furniture ages and peels naturally.   Get some pictures of actual distressed furniture items and see where the wearing has occurred.  Chances are those marks will look good on your piece as well.

We chose to distress the edges and raised ridges of the columns.  We also added some random scratching and scraping on the top as well.

Remember, how much distressing and what you distress is up to you.  Just have fun!

scuffed edges  scuffing the columns  scuffed columns

distressed edges


Now after you have finished with all of your distressing work you will need to clean it up.  You can use a tack cloth to do this but we just used a lightly damp cloth to clean the dust from all the sanding and rubbing.  Make sure you get it nice and clean.



Now you are ready to put on your finish.  We highly recommend using some kind of a wax or polyurethane finish as this will protect the paint from dirt and grime and chalk paint has a tendency to get dry and flaky.  The wax finish will help avoid this.

applying the wax


Get your wax out and begin to apply with a clean, soft cloth.  Apply in circular motions over the entire piece.  You can also use a wax brush to help you apply the wax if you wish.

After the wax has been applied let it dry 10-15 minutes.  Then you can begin buffing it with a different, clean, dry, soft cloth.

The more you buff it the more shine you will get go with whatever look you wish to achieve.  We did a light amount of buffing as we wanted a lighter, more hazy finish.

And Viola!  There it is.  Here is what the table looked like after the wax coat.





Well, here it is.   We were very happy with the outcome of this piece.  It worked well for our living room.   In other tutorials we will share some different methods for getting different kinds of wear marks, stains, etc but we hope you enjoyed this.  If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

finished product  in its place

Thanks for looking.  We hope this has been helpful.  Good luck on your items!

Angie and Chris